THE case involving Friesian heifers allegedly stolen from near Camperdown has been adjourned until next year so the defence can conduct its own DNA tests on the cattle.
Mark Bannam, 42, of Phillips Street, Heywood, and William Hawker, 58, of Batemans Road, Naroghid, are pleading not guilty to stealing 12 Friesian heifers.
Their case was to start in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt was reluctant to start the case, which is expected to take up to five days, much more than the two days which had been set down.
Defence counsel Simon Gillespie-Jones said after negotiations took place for much of the morning that talks were fruitful.
He said the defence team wanted its own veterinarian to examine the cows in question, to take DNA samples under police supervision, photographs and conduct tests on the DNA samples.
He said the case involved an ownership dispute regarding the cattle between two people.
Mr Gillespie-Jones also said there had been original DNA samples taken from the cows which had been destroyed and he sought documentation about those samples and the names of vets who were involved in that process.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Nathan Brown said the defence had made no application for such information at a contest mention hearing, but he explained that the initial samples were insufficient for DNA testing and were destroyed.
He said Detective Senior Constable Colin Ryan, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, had then taken his own samples from the cows which had been tested.
A DNA expert from Queensland flew to Melbourne yesterday but returned home as it was obvious the case would be adjourned.
Senior Constable Brown also applied for the case to be uplifted to the county court because of the complexity and likely length of any contested hearing.
The case has been adjourned for a contested hearing on February 4 next year.
A defence suggestion that 11 of the cows be tested last night was also rejected by the magistrate.
Senior Constable Brown submitted it was grossly unfair that the defence request to immediately examine the cows, which could not have been done until 7pm last night, more than six months after the accused men were originally charged.
Mr Klestadt ordered all 12 cows be examined and tested at the Camperdown saleyards at noon next Monday.