MORE than $25 million has been spent by the joint police taskforce and the legal system to investigate and try the Benbrika 12, and the meter is still ticking.
The Australian Federal Police had spent $12.2 million investigating the men and providing officers to support the legal proceedings, a spokeswoman told The Age. This figure was the total at July 31 this year, she said.
ASIO refused a request by The Age to release its costings.
The next largest known expense came from the budget of Legal Aid Victoria, which will spend more than $8.1 million on lawyers and court costs to defend the accused.
Responding to a request under freedom-of-information laws, Legal Aid revealed lawyers involved in the men’s committal in 2005 had been paid $1.3 million. The running costs for lawyers for most of the Supreme Court trial – up until the figures were released on July 28 – were $6.8 million.
The final cost in this area, therefore, will exceed the $8.1 million total to date.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions had spent $2.5 million by June 16 on running the case against the men.
Releasing the costs under FOI, the DPP said they comprised $2.2 million for counsel; $189,000 for expert advisers; $60,000 for expenses such as interpreters and court filing fees; and $8000 for administrative expenses, including office stationery and supplies.
It cost Victoria Police $2.3 million to provide staff to the joint taskforce, and the cost of surveillance was another $961,000, according to documents released under FOI. This makes a total of $3.24 million.
In addition, more than $2.4 million has been spent on jailing the men, based on State Government figures.
Most were arrested in November 2005 and three were arrested in March 2006.
Keeping 12 men in high security costs $941,000 a year (the daily rate per man, according to Corrections Victoria, is $215.50).
Costs pass $25m mark