THE Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania has made a rare application for court costs in a case involving a sex offender wrongly accused of loitering near children.
The commission's departing director, Norman Reaburn, said the application had nothing to do with the free legal service provider's own financial troubles.
Instead Mr Reaburn said it was based on the prosecution's case, which he said was without merit.
The accused in the matter, who had previously been convicted of sex offences, was cleared in August of loitering near children at Launceston College earlier this year.
Magistrate Reg Marron accepted the defence's argument that the man had no case to answer.
Following the decision his lawyer Adrian Hall made an application for costs against police prosecution services.
Mr Hall said it was the first time he made an such an application on behalf of the commission in 16 years as a lawyer.
He told the court last week that Tasmania Police counsel Mark Miller had objected to the application ``in principle'' and had said there was an ``unwritten agreement'' between the organisations not to pursue costs against each other.
Presumably this is because police and the commission are both funded by taxpayers.
Mr Reaburn said the commission sought to recover court costs a few times a year in cases ``we are convinced have no merit''.
``If we think there's no way this is ever going to get up and its just a waste of everybody's time and money for the prosecution to proceed . . . we do ask people to go for costs,'' he said.
The commission has tightened spending in recent months following a budget blowout in July and August.
This has led to fewer staff being hired and a cut in services in family court and for criminal defendants accused of breaching court orders such as bail.