Recipients of huge amounts include the July 21 bombers, a group of Islamist fanatics behind the 2006 airline liquid bomb plot and a string of fraud cases.
The former fugitive Asil Nadir - who rented a £23,000-a-month London residence during his trial - received £1,056,588 in legal aid.
Suffolk Strangler Steven Wright, who murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich, was given £444,220 to pay for his defence.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the revelations: ‘Of course everyone deserves a defence.
‘But when you look at costs involved in some cases, you have to ask whether we can afford to provide this level of support in criminal trials.
‘Criminal legal aid costs one billion a year, and at a time like this, you have to challenge whether we are getting appropriate value for taxpayers’ money.’
Now why was Nadir set up in a £23,000-a-month home, when he should have been staying at the local hostel, or better yet, in jail? And why aren't these criminals handed a legal aid defense attorney rather than the more costly QCs?
The trial in 2007-2008 for the July 21 terror gang (Muktar Ibrahim, Ramzi Mohammed, Yassin Omar and Hussain Osman) cost £7.13 million.
We have the 2006 liquid bomb plot gang to thank for the current 3-1-1 liquid carry-on restriction. Their defense cost the Brits £12,208 million, and because of re-trials, it cost an additional £14.758 million.
But it's not just terrorists who have availed themselves of free legal aid:
The figures also reveal the enormous cost of legal aid in complex fraud and money laundering cases - many of which involve very wealthy individuals.
In 2009/10, two money laundering cases swallowed £15.7m and £14.382m respectively.
Reducing payments to barristers is a key part of the Government’s strategy to lower the cost of legal aid by £350 million a year.And why aren't these rich folk paying for their own defense with their own funds?
What a waste.