“Both Mr Sinclair and Mr de Belin shouldn’t be required to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary to get this trial on – the same for the prosecution witnesses I would have thought,” he said in setting the original March date.
However, in court on Wednesday, Judge Conlon revealed he had recently been advised that Sinclair had appointed a new barrister who was able to begin the trial on February 3 – the first day of the new legal year in Wollongong.
Judge Conlon confirmed the new start date, reiterating his desire to see the case go to trial as soon as possible.
The new date also means the estimated two-week trial will now avoid coinciding with the start of the 2020 NRL season, which usually kicks off mid-March.
Meanwhile, de Belin and Sinclair were not required to attend court on Wednesday for the brief mention, which was a last-minute addition to the case list.
Police documents aired during previous court proceedings say the alleged victim met de Belin and Sinclair at Mr Crown nightclub on the evening of December 8 before accompanying them back to an apartment in Gipps Street where the two men allegedly raped her.
Both de Belin and Sinclair have been charged with five sexual assault offences including a charge of aggravated sexual assault in company causing actual bodily harm, which carries a potential life sentence if convicted.
The duo deny the allegations and have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Both remain on conditional bail.