Fraud trial delayed as ex-barrister scrambles to find team
THE trial for a former high-profile Cairns barrister accused of fraud has been delayed a week as he scrambles to find new lawyers.
Anthony Mirotsos, 45, is facing 46 fraud offences linked to a Smithfield-based development company he co-chaired.
The trial in the Cairns District Court was due to begin on Monday, but yesterday Judge Brian Devereaux granted leave for Mr Mirotsos's solicitor Bernie Carmen to withdraw from the case after the court heard he still hadn't been paid.
Mr Mirotsos, the former Cairns Chamber of Commerce president, currently resides in Melbourne and had previously engaged a barrister there, but he withdrew from the case earlier this week after the court was told he also had not been paid.
The trial was originally due to be held in June last year but was delisted.
Mr Mirotsos, speaking via a telephone link, said "at no point" had he wanted to represent himself in the "complicated" matter and his previous lawyers had put too onerous a deadline on their payment.
"There is a large volume of material and a large number of witnesses," he said.
"They're serious allegations and I ought to be afforded the opportunity to have representation.
"I want to have the matter resolved as much as anyone."
Crown prosecutor Eddie Coker argued if the trial was not heard in this period, it may be delayed until next year and it was "in the interest of justice" it be held as soon as possible.
Judge Devereaux told Mr Mirotsos that as a qualified lawyer, he was "in a better position than most" unrepresented defendants.
"You've been afforded that opportunity (to have lawyers). I don't know what you expect the court to do," he said.
"At the moment, all you're saying is 'I'm not ready'.
Mr Mirotsos also suggested the trial be moved to Brisbane, but this was rejected by Judge Devereaux.
The court heard that along with multiple fraud charges, Mr Mirotsos is charged with cutting a chain-link fence to try to access the Smithfield business in August 2016, after he had finished working there, and also "counselling" another man to break in on another occasion.
The case is due to be mentioned next Wednesday ahead of the trial which is now due to start on March 2.