Ballarat construction firm Pipecon will face trial at the County Court next year, a directions hearing on Wednesday determined.
The trial was initially set to begin in October 2020, but was delayed several times.
Lawyers for the Crown and defence met online for a brief directions hearing - it is still expected the trial will take 10 to 15 days, and 29 witnesses will be heard, though this number may reduce.
Judge Gerard Mullaly said it was hoped jury trials could resume in Ballarat in April, with renovation works expected to be completed in the new year.
"This is a high priority case," he said.
"The trial will hopefully begin in the next four to five months, not near any anniversary times - to find 15 days on the circuit in the current environment is going to be extremely difficult."
The charges relate to the deaths of Charlie Howkins, 34, and Jack Brownlee, 21, who died while laying pipe at the Winterfield Estate housing development on March 21, 2018.
Pipecon is pleading not guilty to two charges relating to alleged breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act:
- Failing to maintain battering or benching of the excavation and to use trench shields and manhole cages to protect the workers from the risk of engulfment and;
- Failing to provide supervision to ensure its employees did not perform work in the trench without battering, benching, trench shields or manhole cages.
The case has been adjourned, with a date to be fixed for further mention.
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