Delaying the trial again would be pointless, the judge said.
Delaying the trial again would be pointless, the judge said. John Weekes

'Ransom' claim after accused says he can't pay for trial

A BID to postpone a tax fraud trial has been slammed as a "ransom" attempt.

Anthony Robert Lee, 65, was supposed to keep money in trust to pay for his looming trial.

But Brisbane District Court heard the former Evans Head man now had no money available.

Mr Lee is facing charges related to an alleged 2014 tax invoice fraud.

Legal aid had been rejected, a pre-trial hearing was told on Thursday.

Mr Lee's lawyer, Scott Casey, said he was having to work the case for free after being told his client had no money.

The court heard police granted Mr Lee access to a computer two days ago.

Mr Casey said there were "up to 1000 emails on some of the charges" which could substantiate loan contracts for the defence case.

"He will not be ready to start on Monday."

But prosecutor Bruce Mumford claimed Mr Lee was doing "his utmost to put off the trial".

"This is nothing more than a furphy... one would question why it's taken so long."

Judge Paul Smith said the trial should be straightforward.

"There'll be documentary evidence of the payments, like bank statements, invoices... if he doesn't have that material, that's a problem."

The judge rejected a claim Mr Lee was unable to access a relevant email account.

"That assertion appears to be incorrect [but] Mr Casey was not to know that."

Judge Smith said the court had been assured money was available for the trial.

"Some of that was refunded to the defendant, and that's his problem. It's not the court's problem."

The trial had been scheduled to go ahead last year.

Judge Smith said putting it off again would serve no use.

"The court can't be held to ransom."

Five charges relate to tax refunds allegedly received worth more than $840,000.

Another related to an allegation Mr Lee claimed credits of more than $2million.

Prosecutors assert none of that money was spent, but Judge Smith said the defence would argue the money was spent.

The trial will go ahead on Monday. - NewsRegional