New Northe date set

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THE committal mention relating to misconduct charges against former Member for Morwell, Russell Northe, has been adjourned


A new date of Friday, March 10, 2023 was set out in Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court on Friday.


Mr Northe did not appear in person or via video link.


He was represented by his lawyer Mark Woods.


The court heard that Mr Northe had been engaging with a private forensic psychiatrist, who in their opinion, believed the accused is not fit to stand trial.


It is understood Mr Northe is battling severe mental health problems.


Mr Northe has kept a very low profile after retiring from politics and electing not to recontest the state election last year.


A formal report from the psychiatrist will be obtained by the defence, with a possible time frame of seven weeks given.


An application for adjournment was then taken for March 10.


The mention opened at 10.10am and closed 18 minutes later.


Russell John Northe is facing 45 charges relating to falsifying documents between 2018 and 2020 in his term as Member for the Legislative Assembly.


The charges include wilful misconduct for expenditure returns to the Victorian Electoral Commission based on false information.


The charges include several false documents over an office rental property at 42 Kay Street in Traralgon.


There are also a string of charges relating to false documents for rates for the provision of an administrative assistant and analyst of amounts from $19,500 and $43,000.


There is also a charge over a false document relating to a $5800 office printer.


This is not the first time the former MP has become embroiled in controversy.


After first winning the seat of Morwell in 2006 as a Nationals candidate, Mr Northe quit the party in 2017 amid revelations he had racked up significant gambling debts.


Mr Northe took a leave of absence that same year as he battled mental health.


He then ran as an independent in the 2018 state election, holding the seat in somewhat miraculous fashion after receiving 19.56 per cent of first preference votes against Labor candidate Mark Richards, who received significantly more (34.19) .


Mr Northe however took the seat due to preferences narrowly falling his way: 20,808 votes to 19,334.


Meanwhile, his successor, Nationals MP Martin Cameron, has moved into the vacated office on George Street, Morwell.