Lawyers for an Illawarra solicitor and his surgeon wife charged with fraud have failed in their bid to have the case moved to Sydney for hearing.
Ashutosh 'Ash' Agarwal, a former managing director of Acorn Lawyers, and Dr Smita Argawal, an ophthalmologist working in the Illawarra, are both denying the allegations.
Ashutosh stands accused of stealing $189,950 in Australian currency from a safety deposit box inside the Commonwealth Bank in Wollongong on January 3 this year.
He was arrested on July 3, interviewed by Wollongong detectives and charged with a single count of larceny.
As a result, police obtained a warrant to search the Agarwal family home in Brookers Road, Balgownie.
It will be alleged when Ashutosh was advised of this, he contacted Smita from custody and had a brief conversation with her.
A short time later, Smita left her work at Wollongong Eye Specialists and returned home where she was allegedly stopped by police leaving the residence with $69,500 of Australian currency and $7000 in US currency.
Police arrested Smita and took her back to Wollongong Police Station where she was interviewed but released pending further investigation. Police allegedly discovered more Australian currency at the house during the search warrant.
Smita was subsequently charged with recklessly dealing in the proceeds of crime.
In court last week, solicitor Andrew Tiedt sought to have the estimated three-day court hearing transferred from Wollongong to the Downing Centre in Sydney because one of the alleged victims works at the courthouse.
"[There's concern] that the magistrate will be surrounded by staff who work with that person," Mr Tiedt said.
"It's an essential witness.
"[We want to] avoid the apprehension that can arise from the circumstances."
He also said Ash was a "frequent user" of Wollongong courthouse and was the "solicitor on record for a number of matters".
Police opposed the application, noting there were 18 witnesses due to give evidence in the hearing and it would be "highly inconvenient" for them to have to travel to Sydney. They also said outside staff could be arranged to work in the courtroom those days if necessary.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart refused to move the case but agreed that a Sydney-based magistrate should be brought in to preside over the hearing.
He set the matter down for hearing on March 25, 26 and 27 at Port Kembla.
Ash remains on conditional bail, while Smita is not subject to bail.
Both were excused from attending court.