Craig McLachlan case to be heard by magistrate not jury

Actor Craig McLachlan will have his trial encompassing assault and sex offence charges heard in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and not in the County Court with a jury.

If found guilty it will mean lesser penalties for the former Doctor Blake Mysteries star.

McLachlan attended court today with partner Vanessa Scammell as he faces common law assault, attempted indecent assault and eight counts of indecent assault. Defence lawyer Stuart Littlemore QC said McLachlan would plead not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors today withdrew one of the indecent assault charges.

Court documents claim his alleged offending took place between late-April and mid-July in 2014 in Melbourne.

Prosecutors did not fight the application for summary jurisdiction, and said there would be 30 witnesses at the contested hearing.

The actor has also been excused from attending court when his case returns in June.

McLachlan has strenuously denied allegations raised through media reports, while producers December Media previously cleared him of any actions on the set of the ABC drama.

A defamation case against ABC, Nine-owned newspapers and actress Christie Whelan Browne is currently on hold.

Source: ABC, Yahoo

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