Phillip Smith wig case cost $35k

A court case in which paedophile and murderer Phillip Smith successfully argued his rights had been breached in taking away his wig while in prison has cost the taxpayer more than $35,000.

Smith, who escaped from prison to Brazil while on temporary release in 2014, last week won his legal challenge after representing himself.

He took the case against the Department of Corrections for preventing him from wearing it behind bars after he used it as part of his disguise in Rio de Janiero.

Phillip Smith with and without his hairpiece (Supplied)
Phillip Smith with and without his hairpiece (Supplied)

On Thursday, High Court Justice Edwin Wylie sided with Smith, saying his "fundamental right to freedom of expression was ignored".

The ruling said the department failed to take his rights under the Bill of Rights Act into account.

Now the time and money the Crown spent defending the case so far can be revealed.

An Official Information Act request shows senior Crown counsel, Crown counsel, assistant Crown counsel and law clerks spent a total of 215.88 hours as of March 22.

It total, it incurred $35,243.40 in fees, including work still in progress, and disbursements of $1250.10. The amount doesn't include GST.

But the monetary and manpower costs could rise, with the window still open for Corrections to re-think the matter.

Following the ruling, Corrections said it would be "reviewing our decision accordingly".

During the hearing, Smith said removing his hairpiece left him feeling humiliated, degraded and belittled.

Corrections said following Smith's escape, he posed a high risk of escape and there was also the possibility items could be concealed beneath it.