It took 1179 days, three judges and countless adjournments to get Clive Palmer into court for a trial over the collapse of Queensland Nickel and already it has been delayed.
The billionaire businessman is fighting a massive federal government lawsuit against him and his nephew Clive Mensink over the liquidation of his Townsville nickel refinery, which left hundreds without a job.
Government-appointed liquidators of QN brought the former federal MP to Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday in a bid to claw back about $200 million owed to creditors over the collapse in early 2016.
On day one of the trial, Justice Debra Mullins adjourned it to accommodate further discussions between the warring parties.
The trial will recommence on Tuesday but before that, the court will consider Mr Palmer’s last-minute legal bid to postpone it because an expert defence witness was reportedly “incapacitated”.
Court documents lodged last Thursday say the former liquidator Peter Dinoris is unavailable to testify that Mr Palmer had not acted as a shadow director or traded while insolvent, The Australian has reported.
If the trial is not delayed, Mr Palmer argues he will be denied natural justice and suffer “very significant prejudice”.
The liquidators’ 280-page claim, first lodged in the court in June 2017, names 21 defendants, including Mr Mensink and a string of Mr Palmer’s companies.
The special purpose liquidators’ task includes trying to recover almost $70 million in taxpayer funds used to cover unpaid entitlements to about 800 workers sacked from the refinery.
Mr Palmer has fought hard to have the claim dismissed over the past two years, having described it as baseless and a desperate politically motivated attack by the government.
The trial is expected to run for 45 days before Justice Mullins, who took over proceedings after Justices John Bond and David Jackson recused themselves.
Mr Palmer is representing himself during the trial.