Indian journalist Rakesh Kumar Sharma is expected to spend at least six more weeks in custody in Australia on smuggling charges, after his case was adjourned.
Sharma, a 46-year-old Indian national, was detained under Migration Act 1958, which includes people smuggling, after allegedly facilitating the travel of a fake media contingent to attend the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
He was one of nine individuals to arrive at Brisbane Airport holding Temporary Activity Visas, claiming to be accredited media representatives.
An Australian Border Force (ABF) Airline Liaison Officer (ALO) in Bangkok had flagged the group on transit through Thailand on suspicion they may be non-genuine travellers.
They were questioned by ABF officers on arrival in Brisbane and eight were found to have fraudulent foreign media credentials.
Sharma, who the prosecution state had valid credentials, was charged with one count of an aggravated offence of people smuggling, consisting of at least five people.
He was also charged with a count of providing false documents and false or misleading information relating to non-citizens.
He could face a maximum of 20 years in jail.
The other eight people implicated are all aged between 20 and 37.
Sharma is considered the ringleader and facilitator of the group.
According to the Press Trust of India, he will no longer be represented by private law firm Legal Guru after failing to satisfy the terms of his retainer.
He is now set to be represented by a legal aid solicitor.
Sharma’s case is expected to resume on June 22, following a request from prosecutors to adjourn.
The Games took place from April 4 to 15.