Peter Gerard Scully. Peter Scully, who was arrested and jailed in the Philippines. Photo: Joey P. Nacalaban
The lawyer hired to defend Peter Scully, the Melbourne man Filipino authorities have accused of some of the worst child-sex crimes in memory, has quit in exasperation over the alleged paedophile’s incessant demands for special treatment in prison, Fairfax Media can exclusively reveal.
Alejandro Jose Pallugna said he bowed out after becoming “mightily sick” of the alleged child-porn kingpin’s demands for special food, a mobile phone and twice-weekly visits from his lawyer.
“I withdrew as his defence counsel last February as I can’t withstand his crazy and eccentric attitude and personality,” said Mr Pallugna, who is based in southern coastal Philippines city Cagayan de Oro.
Mr Pallugna said Mr Scully, who investigators have accused of running an online pay-per-view service showing the sexual torture of children, had acted like he was on holiday.
“He wants me to visit him at least twice a week,” Mr Pallugna said.
“He wants five kilos of fresh beef, pork, chicken, anything – like he lives in a resort.”
Mr Pallugna acknowledged it was unusual to withdraw from a case, but he described Mr Scully as a “crazy guy” and the most taxing client he had known.
“Demanding is an understatement,” he said.
Mr Scully is awaiting trial over the rape and trafficking of two teenage girls, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
The 53-year-old, who fled Melbourne in 2011 while under investigation for fraud, has also been accused of a raft of other shocking offences against minors, including the rape of an 18-month-old infant and the murder of a 12-year-old girl whose skeletal remains were found under a house he rented.
Mr Pallugna, who was hired by Mr Scully’s family according to local media, also revealed that the twice-bankrupt businessman was convinced he would walk free.
Such an outcome has been seriously discussed in Filipino media since it was revealed last September that most of the physical evidence against him, including a computer, video camera and memory card, had been destroyed in a fire earlier in the year.
“If the new lawyer knows how to take advantage of this fact, then Scully could go free or get convicted of a lesser offence,” Mr Pallugna said.
Mr Pallugna first appeared in court with Mr Scully at a pre-trial hearing in June last year, telling a judge that his client was a “passive participant” in the abuse and that he planned to testify for the state against his teenage romantic partner and co-accused, Ann Alvarez.
The formal start date of the trial is unclear, although Mr Pallugna said it could begin next month.
Efforts by Fairfax Media to reach Mr Scully’s new lawyer or the Regional Prosecution Office in Cagayan de Oro were unsuccessful.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Manila did not respond to inquires about the status of the case.
The activities of Australian child-sex offenders abroad were thrown into the spotlight last week, when Fairfax Media revealed that 2767 convicted paedophiles, including 753 Victorians, attempted or succeeded in travelling overseas in the past five years.
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