A prosecutor has said the total number of charges against Craig Thomson could rise to 224. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
About 50 new charges are expected to be laid against former federal MP Craig Thomson, who has had the start of his summary trial on fraud and theft offences delayed for another week at least.
Mr Thomson's trial before a magistrate was scheduled to start on Tuesday, but his defence team and the prosecution requested more time to continue talks.
Mr Thomson, 49, faces 173 fraud and theft charges. He is accused of using Health Services Union credit cards to pay for sexual services at brothels and escort agencies, for pornographic movies at hotels, for flights, food and drink, car hire and other expenses while he was the union's national secretary from 2002 to his election to Federal Parliament as a Labor MP in 2007.
The court heard on Tuesday that prosecutors had gone through the brief of evidence against Mr Thomson and found that new charges could be laid.
Prosecutor Lesley Taylor, SC, said the total number of charges could rise to 224.
Defence counsel Greg James, QC, said the new charges were ‘‘doomed to fail’’ because the businesses that provided the services were not deceived.
But Ms Taylor said it was the HSU that was the victim in the case, because ‘‘by using the credit card, Mr Thomson didn't have to dip into his own funds’’.
Ms Taylor said prosecutors and the defence team were taking with ‘‘purpose and intent’’, but were still yet to lodge the new charge sheets.
Both parties requested more time to discuss the outstanding legal issues.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg ruled that the matter return to court on Monday. He extended Mr Thomson’s bail.
Mr Thomson did not make any comment outside court.
A previous court hearing was told the prosecution planned to call 113 witnesses against the accused, with 67 of them to give evidence on the issue of who had been using the credit cards and 46 on whether Mr Thomson had the authority to use them.
Mr Thomson was elected the Labor member for the NSW seat of Dobell in 2007. He became an independent MP last year after his suspension from the ALP over the credit card allegations.
He stood as an independent in September's federal election but gained just 4 per cent of the primary vote and the seat changed hands to Liberal Karen McNamara.