The third attempt to hear criminal charges against former Satellite boss Greg Fisher will begin on Monday 10 November, after District Court judge Stephen Norrish agreed to Fisher’s request for an adjournment.
The delay followed evidence by Fisher’s psychiatrist and an application by defence counsel Charles Waterstreet for a six-week adjournment. Waterstreet had earlier applied for two other adjournments -“ one until the New Year, to avoid inconveniencing the jury and another for two weeks relating to matters that were ruled subject to a non-publication order.
Fisher is facing charges relating to three separate incidents alleged to have taken place during his time at the head of the Satellite company.
The charges stem from an ASIC investigation into the collapse of Satellite, a property and publications company which was floated on the Stock Exchange on 23 September 1999 and went into administration in November 2000. Satellite was hailed as the world’s first pink listed company; it controlled a national suite of gay publications including former Sydney Star Observer competitor Capital Q.
The first incident, referred to in court as the Perry charges, relates to the drawing of six cheques totalling $220,000 from Satellite’s accounts over a three-month period. It is alleged the money was paid to Double Bay fashion designer Alex Perry without the knowledge or approval of the Satellite Board.
The second set of charges relate to money allegedly obtained by the sale of an unfinished Satellite-owned apartment in Ultimo and later used to purchase a luxury yacht. And the final charges relate to Satellite money allegedly invested in the Sydney Skytour company without the knowledge or approval of the Satellite board.
The Skytour allegations have been heard in court twice before. The first trial was aborted in October 2001 after Fisher contracted Hepatitis A and was deemed unfit to continue. In the second trial, in May 2002 the presiding judge ordered a retrial because a pivotal Satellite group file in the possession of ASIC had not been tendered as evidence in the case.
Earlier this week Justice Norrish supported an application by the defence to hear charges relating to the three incidents separately. The prosecution argued the charges should have been heard together, because of the striking similarities between Fisher’s alleged behaviour in each of them.
Justice Norrish told the court on Wednesday afternoon he planned to grant the 11-day adjournment but would give his formal ruling when court resumed this morning.