A former Noreen Hay staffer due to face complex electoral fraud allegations on Monday has been given just three days to find a new lawyer to represent her in court or risk having to conduct the hearing on her own.
Susan Greenhalgh, who worked for the now-retired Wollongong MP for nine years, is facing five counts of using a forged document relating to claims that addresses of supporters of the MP were falsely updated on the electoral roll days before a pre-selection vote took place in the seat of Wollongong ahead of the 2015 state election.
It is alleged some supporters were said to be living at addresses within the Wollongong electorate when they were not.
The AFP investigated the claims before laying charges against Greenhalgh in May last year.
Greenhalgh initially hired prominent Wollongong criminal lawyer Graeme Morrison to represent her and entered pleas of not guilty to all charges after receiving the substantial brief of evidence.
The court case had been set down for March, however on the day of the hearing, Greenhalgh revealed she and Mr Morrison had parted ways.
She was granted an adjournment to get a new lawyer and the case was rescheduled to July 17.
It is understood Greenhalgh approached the Aboriginal Legal Service to take on the case, however ALS solicitor Jack Hibbard told Wollongong Local Court on Thursday they had not spoken to Greenhalgh in detail about the case and no lawyers were available to attend the hearing on Monday.
“We haven’t taken any instructions or had meetings with her,” he said.
He sought to vacate Monday’s hearing date on behalf of Greenhalgh, who wasn’t in court on Thursday, to give her the opportunity to properly instruct a solicitor.
However, Magistrate Michael Stoddart refused the application, noting Commonwealth prosecutors opposed any delay and had eight witnesses lined up to give evidence on Monday.