A COURT hearing against a man accused of murdering Huddersfield backpacker Peter Falconio in the Australian Outback was adjourned today.
The hearing, at Darwin Magistrates Court, was postponed until next week as defence lawyers argued to have crucial evidence withheld from the public.
Mr Falconio, 28, from Hepworth, was allegedly shot on a remote highway in central Australia on July 14, 2001, by a lone gunman, who then bound and tried to abduct his girlfriend, Joanne Lees, before she escaped into the desert night.
Bradley John Murdoch, 45, is accused of tricking the couple into stopping their camper van and ambushing them.
He has not been required to enter a plea to the charges of murdering Mr Falconio - whose body has never been recovered - and of abducting and assaulting Miss Lees, of Almondbury.
The pre-trial hearing, which will test whether there is enough evidence for him to be tried by a jury, has heard only 90 minutes of evidence since it began on Monday.
Instead, the week has been dominated by legal argument about evidence that Murdoch's lawyers want to keep suppressed from publication, for fear it could influence potential jurors even though it could be ruled inadmissible at trial.
Miss Lees, 30, who now lives in Brighton, gave an emotional 90 minutes of evidence on Tuesday.
She told the court she had fought desperately to escape a gunman who forced her into his pickup truck after he apparently shot her boyfriend with a pistol.
Northern Territory Director of Public Prosecutions Rex Wild successfully applied for her further evidence to be postponed until uncertainty over the suppression order is resolved.
Miss Lees is now not expected to take the stand again until Monday.
Murdoch faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of murder at trial.