The real estate fraud trial of Victorian Nationals MP Tim McCurdy will not be held until 2020 because his lawyer is unavailable this year, a court has been told.
The Ovens Valley MP and former real estate agent, who maintains his innocence, is accused of wrongly collecting $269000 in real estate commissions when he sold two dairy farms in 2009.
McCurdy’s case came before the County Court in Melbourne for a directions hearing on Wednesday, when his defence lawyer Ian Hill QC asked to postpone the trial to May 2020.
‘‘It won’t be possible this year,’’ Mr Hill said.
The prominent barrister estimated the trial would run for between seven and 10 days.
He said the defence team had recently received a USB drive from the prosecution, containing files ‘‘with no index’’.
‘‘We’re in the process of collating that material,’’ he said.
The court was told the documents related to the sale of two properties.
In March, the court case was moved from Shepparton to Melbourne, which is a long way from McCurdy’s seat in Victoria’s north-east.
McCurdy, who attended court in a navy suit on Wednesday, was committed to stand trial weeks before the November state election.
The 56-year-old is a former dairy farmer and was also a rural real estate agent from 2006 to 2010 before entering state parliament.
He retained his Ovens Valley seat for a third term in the election, despite the legal cloud.
Judge Gerard Mullaly scheduled the trial for May 11, 2020 and set another directions hearing for February 11.