Ex-Noreen Hay staffer Susan Greenhalgh has been given one last chance to get legal representation ahead of her now-rescheduled electoral fraud trial.
Greenhalgh, who is accused of forging electoral role documents ahead of Ms Hay’s successful re-election to state parliament in 2015, was due to argue her case on Monday in a hearing that had already been adjourned once before.
However, Greenhalgh’s lawyers, the Aboriginal Legal Service, told Wollongong Local Court last Thursday that had not been in contact with Greenhalgh about the case and were unable to run the hearing because they didn’t have a solicitor available.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart refused an application at the time to vacate the hearing, ordering that it go ahead with or without legal representation.
However, on Monday, Magistrate Claire Girotto overturned Magistrate Stoddart’s decision and re-scheduled the case for November after reading a four-page statement from Greenhalgh outlining her repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact ALS prior to the hearing.
She told the court she had delivered the brief of evidence to ALS’s Wollongong branch on April 18, however the lawyer who was to review it contacted her two days later declaring a conflict of interest due to his own membership of the Labor Party.
The case was then referred to two other lawyers, however Greenhalgh says she was only told on July 11 that ALS wouldn’t be acting for her.
She immediately went to Legal Aid for help, but was told that that application would also be refused because it had been lodged too close to the hearing date.
Greenhalgh confirmed an appeal against that decision was underway.
“I am not in anyway attempting to avoid a trial,” she wrote, adding she regretted the circumstances that led to her seeking a further adjournment.
“I want my day in court but I do not want to run my case myself. I am not legally qualified, have not had a reasonable opportunity to study the content of the brief and have a medical condition that would directly impact on my ability to represent myself.
“I need to put this matter behind me as quickly as possible but i do not want, and do not think it would be fair to force me, to run this matter without appropriate legal representation.”
The hearing will now take place from November 15-17.