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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 11:25 GMT
9.7m lotto winner gets legal aid
Michael Carroll
Michael Carroll is to be tried at Norwich Crown Court
Millionaire lotto winner Michael Carroll has been granted legal aid to fight a court case next week.

The ex-binman, who won 9.7m in the lotto, is accused of affray and is due before Norwich Crown Court on Monday.

A government spokeswoman confirmed that Mr Carroll, 22, of Downham Market, Norfolk, had been granted legal aid.

But she said it was "a matter of course" for it to be awarded initially, however the cash can be reclaimed later on the orders of a judge.

A Legal Services Commission spokesman said: "A means test for receiving legal aid in criminal cases is due to be introduced this year, as part of the Criminal Defence Service Bill, which is currently before parliament.

When he was arrested how was the court to know he's a millionaire or not?
Dept for Constitutional Affairs

"This means testing will ensure that those who can afford to pay for their own legal defence do so. The criminal legal aid means test will first be rolled out in Magistrates' Court and then Crown Court."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Constitutional Affairs said if legal aid was applied for it was granted automatically so there was no delay in the legal process.

"It is more or less a matter of course in a criminal case like this. This case is no different," she said.

"When he was arrested how was the court to know he's a millionaire or not? They investigate after the charges have been made. They send a legal aid certificate so there is no delay in the legal process."

She added a court official would then investigate the defendant's means and a judge can order the costs to be recovered.

"The money goes to his solicitor and not to him and I do not think any money has been paid out yet," he added.

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