Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell has been committed to stand trial on charges of misappropriating more than $2 million of taxpayers’ funds.
The independent MP pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of theft and six counts of dishonestly dealing with documents at a hearing in the Mount Gambier District Court this morning.
The charges relate to the time the former teacher spent running an independent learning centre in Mount Gambier between 2009 and 2013.
Mr Bell has strenuously denied all wrongdoing since being charged.
He resigned from the Liberal Party in August last year, but continued as an independent MP and was re-elected in March.
Judge Peter Brebner acknowledged an application to move the case from Mount Gambier to Adelaide was proceeding, but did not indicate where the case would be heard.
Last week, prosecutor Mark Norman SC told the District Court in Adelaide that Mr Bell’s trial would be “extraordinarily complicated” and would likely run for up to three months.
Mr Norman said the prosecution would allege Mr Bell transferred public money he received for the learning centre between different bank accounts, keeping smaller amounts in his private accounts over a period of several years.
More to come.