A Federal Court trial for unionist Kathy Jackson on accusations she misspent union funds will be put off until next year because she is mentally unwell.
The court sitting in Melbourne heard Ms Jackson’s medical condition fluctuated in severity and certain stressors such as her court case increased her problem.
Ms Jackson’s barrister, David Pritchard SC, said the interests of justice dictated that the case against his client be put off until her health improved.
Health Services Union lawyer Mark Irving did not oppose the delay bid, saying it was apparent Ms Jackson was not currently able to manage her affairs.
He foreshadowed the appointment of a litigation representative to the court if there was no change to the situation.
“The reality is Ms Jackson’s going to face a number of stressors in coming months,” he said on Wednesday.
“Things unfortunately for her are not going to get better.”
He urged the court to reassess her situation in the new year.
Ms Jackson’s trial was due to take place in December.
The Health Services Union is suing her for $1.36 million, alleging she acted outside her authority as national secretary and spent $660,000 of members’ funds on personal expenses.
Justice Richard Tracey ordered the trial date be vacated and adjourned to a date to be fixed.
“Ms Jackson faces serious allegations. In the interests of justice, she should have the opportunity to give careful attention to each of the allegations,” he said in his ruling.
A mention hearing will be held on February 6.