It's emerged a millionaire travelling family who were convicted for forcing vulnerable men to work for hardly any money in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Gloucestershire, received legal aid totalling nearly £500,000.
The Connors family were found guilty last December after a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
The Legal Services Commission paid out the money. It could claim it back if the Connors are proved to have assets of more than £30,000.
A Legal Services Commission spokesman said:
"We manage costs carefully and legal aid rates are considerably less than those paid to lawyers in privately funded cases.
"Trials can cost a lot of money if they last many weeks, are very complex and have thousands of pages of evidence.
"The law says that anyone facing a Crown Court trial for a serious criminal offence can apply for legal aid to ensure they have a lawyer, but funding is subject to a means test which could require them to pay towards their defence."
More top news
A van driver has been seriously injured in a crash with a cherry picker in Shropshire.
Most firms will allow staff to finish early or work flexible hours to watch the Rugby World Cup, but not in the Midlands.
Harvey Hadden Sports Village has opened today following a £16m transformation.