At last, it's time to hear defence

The public will finally get to hear the defence of the three South Canterbury Finance (SCF) accused today, with their opening set down for 2.15pm, after 10 weeks of the Crown case.

The defence was to begin yesterday but there was an issue relating to a witness, which cannot be reported on, which kept the court in chambers yesterday morning.

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

The trial, which started on March 12, was originally set down for three months but will now likely go into late July-early August.

Admissibility issues have cost the case six delays. This will be costly for the accused, with a source saying defence counsel for all three is costing around $25,000 a day.

The charges followed the $1.58 billion collapse of the company in August 2010.

Pip Hall, QC, will open for Sullivan at 2.15pm, calling three witnesses, which will take until Friday lunchtime, followed by Jonathan Eaton, QC, opening for McLeod.

Last week was devoted to an admissibility issue raised by the Crown.

The case will adjourn at the end of the month for two weeks for a trial already scheduled in the courtroom. Closing arguments will be in the last two weeks of July and possibly go into August.

The Timaru Herald