Murderer and sex offender Phillip John Smith will go on trial early next year for fleeing the country, if he does not win a legal battle first to halt court action.
Smith flew to Brazil last year while on temporary release from prison.
In Auckland District Court this morning, his lawyer Tony Ellis confirmed he had filed an application for a stay of proceedings, saying Smith's rights had been breached.
The court ordered him to file evidence backing that up by late August.
If the application is unsuccessful, the trial will begin in mid-January.