Qarase is accused of facilitating and allowing the purchase of Class A FHL shares for certain companies when he was director of FHL, financial advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs.
He was originally represented by Qoriniasi Bale who has now said he will not represent Qarase, who will therefore need more time to find a Queens Counsel.
A preliminary hearing is being held today but the four-week trial officially starts tomorrow with Qarase to appear with a local lawyer.
Two Hong Kong based senior counsels are representing the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption, which has said it is reducing its number of witnesses and documents to allow 'a closer focus on the main issues'.
Jagath Karunaratne was taken in last October along with four others and his lawyer, Rajendra Chaudhry, has filed papers seeking to have his arrest, interrogation and charges declared null and void.
He has also requested Karunaratne's bail be reviewed so his passport can be released to allow him to attend to important family commitments in Sri Lanka.
A decision was supposed to have been handed down at a hearing last Tuesday but Christopher Pryde's prosecuting team stalled matters with an affidavit declaring it plans to lay fresh charge of conspiracy against the government.
Coupfourpointfive understands Pryde's team have no evidence on the current graffiti charge or the intended new conspiracy charge but are still refusing to rule Karunaratne's arrest null and void, or to allow him to travel to Sri Lanka saying he is a flight risk.
Karunaratne was detained when the controversial Public Emergency Regulations was still in force and like many others, was held without a warrant and far longer than allowed under the so-called emergency legislation.
It's believed he was kept for days in a dark cell in a condemned building in inhumane conditions, including being given just a bucket to use as a toilet and very little food, after orders from the top to keep him separate.
Editor's Note: Qarase's new counsel is the Suva lawyer, Tupou Draunidalo and she will be assisted by Samanunu Vaniqi. Fiji Village says Draunidalo sought a two-week adjournment today but was granted two days by the presiding Judge, Justice Priyantha Fernando. The trial will start Thursday.