Further delay to SCF hearing

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014

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Another week has been lost in the South Canterbury Finance (SCF) trial because of admissibility issues, the case's seventh delay.

The defence is now expected to open its case on Monday.

The delays will be hitting the pockets of the accused hard, as their legal representation is estimated to cost up to a combined $20,000 a day. Legal Best Practice director Ashley Balls told the Timaru Herald in May the defence would be costing at least $10,000 a day and at worst $20,000 a day in lawyers' fees.

The Crown wrapped up its case last Wednesday in the trial of former SCF directors Ed Sullivan and Robert White, and former chief executive Lachie McLeod, before Justice Heath at the High Court in Timaru.

This week has been devoted to an admissibility issue raised by the Crown.

The trial began on Wednesday March 12 and was adjourned the next day when the accused asked the judge to recuse himself because of a perceived bias issue.

This was resolved and the trial resumed on Tuesday March 18.

On Thursday March 20, the trial halted again over admissibility issues, with arguments heard in chambers and the case resuming on Monday March 24.

On April 4 the Crown's bid to amend a charge was heard in chambers. The next stumbling block was another admissibility issue which arose on Thursday May 15, with the trial not resuming until Monday May 19.

The fifth delay occurred the following day, with the case not resuming until the following Monday, after the resolution of an admissibility issue.

The latest delay was caused by another admissibility application by the Crown, which started last Wednesday. The case will now not resume until Monday, with in-chambers discussions scheduled today and possibly tomorrow.

The defence was to open its case this week but this has been adjourned till Monday. All discussions this week have been in chambers, which cannot be reported on.

The defence is likely to take until the end of the month.

The case will then adjourn for two weeks because of a trial already scheduled in the same courtroom. Closing arguments will take place in the last two weeks of July.

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- The Timaru Herald

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