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Headley Pleads For Legal Aid For Appeal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 9 NZPA - A man convicted for his part in the abduction of his grandson wants legal aid to fund an appeal, despite having $1 million in assets held in a family trust.

The family fortunes of Dick Headley, 70, were revealed in the High Court in Hamilton this week. He was appealing a Legal Services Agency refusal to grant him legal aid.

In December Headley and his daughter, Kay Skelton, 38, were sentenced in the same court.

Skelton was ordered to complete nine months' home detention and 300 hours' community work, while Headley was ordered to serve 12 months' home detention.

The pair had earlier admitted a charge of abducting the son of Skelton and Hamilton man Chris Jones.

In late 2006 and early 2007 Headley and Skelton flouted Family Court rulings and took the boy into hiding in Northland bush for five months.

The Waikato Times reported that while this week's High Court proceedings revealed the worth of the family trust, members of Headley's family were destitute.

Skelton was declared bankrupt last year.

Last month, bankruptcy proceedings were filed against Headley's wife, Wendy, by the abducted boy's father who is trying to recover up to $30,000 in costs.

This case was adjourned until later this month.

Headley claims the Legal Services Agency treated him unfairly when it refused to grant him legal aid during those legal proceedings. A legal review panel later found in favour of the agency, a decision Headley's lawyer claims was an "error of law".

Headley was appealing that decision in an effort to get legal aid to appeal his sentence.

His lawyer, Charl Hirshfeld, told Justice Pamela Andrews that Headley was asset rich, but cash poor.

While he had about $1 million held in trust, it couldn't be liquidated to help him with his legal costs.

Justice Andrews reserved her decision.

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