The trial of Sayle Newson, accused of murder over the death of Carly McBride in 2014, has been delayed after Mr Newson's barrister, Philip Massey, suffered "a serious medical issue" over the Easter long-weekend.
The 15-person jury was expecting to hear the first day of evidence in the estimated eight-week trial on Tuesday after a two-day site view last week.
But Justice Mark Ierace, SC, called them in on Tuesday morning and said Mr Massey was in hospital awaiting an operation and was expected to make a full recovery.
Justice Ierace said Mr Massey would be unable to continue to represent Mr Newson in the trial and alternative arrangements were being made.
The trial was adjourned until Friday.
Mr Newson, now 43, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms McBride at Muswellbrook on September 30, 2014, and dumping her body in bush about 25 metres from Bunnan Road at Owens Gap.