Ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum made his first appearance at the Montreal courthouse this morning since his arrest last June on fraud charges.
But it wasn't a long appearance since the hearing had to be postponed.
Applebaum and two co-accused, ex-city councillor Saulie Zajdel and ex-permits director for Côte-des-Neiges-NDG Jean-Yves Bisson, face charges of fraud, corruption and breach of trust, among others, in connection to land deals in the borough where Applebaum used to be the mayor.
Applebaum's lawyer was present but the lawyers for the other accused were absent due to illness and they were represented by colleagues.
"Those lawyers on file have to be present in those (conference hearings). If they're not present, obviously we will not proceed," crown prosecutor Marie-Hélène Giroux told reporters.
The judge also expressed concern that one of the substitute lawyers at the hearing this morning was an acquaintance.
The judge ordered that the case management conference be put off until next month and that everybody had to be present. That's when they'll discuss details such as dates for the preliminary inquiry and the trial. Giroux said such an important hearing also requires the presence of the accused.
Applebaum and his two co-accused walked quickly past the throng of reporters, cameramen and photographers clustered in the hallway and did not answer any questions.
In the small courtroom, Applebaum and Zajdel sat far apart from each other. At the last court hearing, Zajdel's lawyer had said they wanted a separate trial.