The trial of a man accused of killing four people during the Northern Territory's worst-ever mass shooting has been adjourned for six months less than a week before it was set to start.
Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann, 46, was charged with four counts of murder and several other serious offences following a series of shootings in Darwin on June 4, 2019.
Prosecutors allege Hoffmann fatally shot Hassan Baydoun, 33, Nigel Hellings, 75, Michael Sisois, 57, and Rob Courtney, 52, during a drug-fuelled rampage through the city's inner suburbs.
He's also accused of shooting and injuring a woman with a shotgun before tactical police officers arrested him at gunpoint in a night that shocked Australia.
His trial was scheduled to start in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Monday with about 150 witnesses due to be called.
But on Wednesday, Hoffmann's lawyer Jon Tippett QC applied to the court for the nine-week trial to be adjourned for three months.
He said his client hadn't had time to properly read the evidence against him and could be disadvantaged if the trial were to proceed.
"He says he's prejudiced in relation to the way the matter has unfolded," Mr Tippett said.
The court heard Hoffmann wasn't able to receive an electronic copy of the brief at the Darwin Correctional Centre and had only received a hard copy of two boxes of material less than a week ago.
It also heard the defence lawyers had not seen a revised psychiatrist's report about whether Hoffmann had the intention to kill or cause serious harm while drug-induced and couldn't start the trial until it was received.
Asked by Chief Justice Michael Grant if Hoffmann would be able to finish reading the material in the four days before the trial was due to start, Mr Tippett said it was unlikely.
"There are issues related to prison procedures and he doesn't want to read in circumstances where other people are capable of reading the material," he said.
Hoffmann appeared in court via video-link dressed in red prison clothes. His head was shaved and his arms were heavily tattooed.
Prosecutor Matthew Nathan suggested the trial could be adjourned for a shorter period and go ahead in two weeks with the proceedings compressed into seven weeks.
But Hoffmann shook his head at the suggestion and Mr Tippett pressed his client's request for a three-month adjournment, saying it would be unfair.
Chief Justice Grant agreed, saying Hoffmann needed to be given the opportunity to read and consider the evidence to ensure a robust verdict.
"There can be no doubt that the Crown has complied with that obligation in this case and has done so in a timely fashion," he said.
"For reason that can only be due to the conduct of the accused's legal representatives he was not provided with a full copy of the brief until six days ago."
Justice Grant adjourned the trial and provisionally relisted it until September 20, saying Hoffmann shouldn't be punished for his lawyers' failings.
The matter will return to the same court on April 22 for a mention.
Australian Associated Press