National

Jackson still awaiting Vic legal funding

By AAP Newswire

The theft and fraud case against former Health Services Union boss Kathy Jackson is crawling along slowly and she may not face any trial for another year or more.

It's been nine months since Jackson was committed to stand trial charged with misappropriating nearly $500,000 from the union to pay for personal flights, hotels and other items between 2003 and 2011.

But Jackson, who faced the County Court in Melbourne on Wednesday, is still waiting to secure state-issued Legal Aid funding for her upcoming court battle.

Meanwhile, prosecution and defence lawyers disagree on whether Jackson should face one trial or separate trials on 166 charges.

Prosecutors want two trials given the volume of charges but Jackson's defence team is pushing for a single contest.

"The issue to be resolved, once funding is in place, is the question of separate trials," Judge Duncan Allen told a pre-trial directions hearing on Wednesday.

Defence lawyer Philip Beazley is also set to issue subpoenas to the HSU in a bid to access boxes of documents, such as minutes from meetings.

With these legal issues still unresolved, it is unlikely Jackson, who was criminally charged in mid-2016, will get any trial date before 2019.

The former HSU national secretary is accused of passing off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of personal expenses as union costs.

She has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of theft, 147 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, and one of obtaining property by deception.

Another directions hearing was set for November 5 and Jackson's bail was continued.