More than 1600 kangaroos in ACT nature reserves have won a further stay of execution until at least next week.
Members of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Thursday adjourned a challenge brought by Animal Liberation against the cull of eastern grey kangaroos until June 3.
Lawyers for the ACT government sought an adjournment after key legal documents were not filed by a specified deadline.
The tribunal also extended a stay on the cull until the full case begins on Tuesday.
Culling had been scheduled to begin more than two weeks ago, with two shooters working at unspecified times until the end of July on reserves around the ACT.
Tribunal appeal president Bill Stefaniak also cancelled a planned site visit to reserves on Thursday evening, and said the substantive challenge would be heard by member Graeme Lunney due to diary conflicts.
Animal Liberation ACT is seeking to dispute the validity of a licence issued by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to conduct the cull.
Government lawyer Douglas Jarvis argued the legal team representing Animal Liberation had failed to provide documents for the challenge before a deadline set by the tribunal.
Dr Jarvis said his team did not have sufficient time to consider the documents and prepare a response.
He showed tribunal members printed records from an internet chat room, which he said showed Animal Liberation supporters discussing ways to slow down the culling activities through the tribunal challenge.
Richard Arthur, acting for Animal Liberation ACT, argued the records documented private conversations and had not been verified.
Animal Liberation is expected to argue the licence should be set aside because the decision had been based on false data and would not represent protection of the environment where the kangaroos live.
Dr Jarvis asked the tribunal for a four-week adjournment for legal preparation, but Mr Stefaniak said he would agree to the shorter adjournment to prevent the cull from becoming an “academic” exercise.
Last year, the controversial cull was stopped temporarily after protesters sounded air horns and charged across areas of the Pinnacle Nature Reserve.
Mr Stefaniak had previously rejected suggestions he was biased and should recuse himself from the challenge because of comments he made about kangaroo shooting while a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew said both legal teams had a lot of work to do after Thursday's adjournment.
“We’re pleased the stay has been kept because it would have made the tribunal hearing a null and void exercise if it hadn’t been,” she said.
“We go forward from here and in a week we will see what happens.”