Two north-east men who carried out an armed robbery in Fraserburgh cost taxpayers nearly £30,000 in legal fees.
Figures obtained by the Press and Journal have revealed it cost £14,891 for legal representation for Slessor Buchan and £15,029 for Scott Fowler.
The pair, who have 35 previous convictions between them, forced their way into the home of Colin Verral in January last year wearing wrestling masks.
They attacked and robbed their victim while carrying a sawn off shotgun.
Giving evidence at the trial Mr Verral said the gun was fired into the ceiling and he blanked out and did not know whether he was “alive or dead.”
He added that the “bottom of the barrel” was placed against his face during the incident.
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After being found guilty of armed robbery at the High Court in Aberdeen, Lord Uist jailed Fowler, 38, for 10 years and Buchan, 39, for seven years.
He added that “only real criminals” used sawn-off shotguns.
The court heard during the course of the trial that the weapon involved had never been recovered by the police.
A spokesman for the Legal Aid Board said: “Legal aid is paid to solicitors to ensure that an accused person, even those eventually convicted of serious crimes, is professionally represented in court so the justice system can operate properly and fairly for all concerned.”
Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservatives’ justice spokesman, said the sums involved in cases like these should not be “excessive.”
He said: “It is one of the cornerstones of our justice system that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a defence.
“That is absolutely right and proper. However, the sums involved should not be excessive.
“Some people may question if this was a good use of tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”