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Facing 20 counts of theft and six of dishonestly dealing with documents, Mr Bell, 47, entered the dock in court – for the first time since his re-election – just before 3pm to begin proceedings.
Local Magistrate Teresa Anderson asked defence counsel Heidi Hancock if it was conceded there was a case to answer.
“It would appear there is a case to answer and I have written instructions that there will be ‘not guilty’ pleas entered to each charge,” Ms Hancock said.
For the following few minutes, the court heard Mr Bell calmly announce “not guilty” to each of the 26 charges as they were read to the court.
The arraignment date was set for October 9.
It is unclear how long it will take for Mr Bell’s case to reach trial due to backlogs and the fact the district court only sits in Mount Gambier three times a year for four weeks.