Aboriginal justice advocate Wayne Muir is facing a contested committal hearing for alleged historical sexual offences.
Muir, a former head of the University of Ballarat Aboriginal education unit, is appearing at the online Ballarat Magistrates' Court via video link on Monday for the start of the five-day hearing.
Muir was charged with the alleged sexual misconduct offences in July 2019 and granted bail.
The 55-year-old is facing multiple sexual assault charges against four women from 1979 to 2001.
The women were aged from seven to 35 when they were allegedly sexually assaulted in Ballarat, the Black Hill lookout and Wendouree.
Muir denies the allegations.
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Evidence against Muir will be tested throughout the hearing and the magistrate will determine whether it should go to trial in the County Court.
Two complainants will give evidence on Monday to a closed court.
Muir's defence barrister Glenn Casement applied on Monday morning to cross-examine the complainants about whether they had experienced any other incidents of sexual assault in the past.
He said this was relevant to the reliability and credibility of the complainants which would become important at trial.
Crown prosecutor David Glynn opposed the application.
"How can this possibly be relevant to the credibility and reliability of the complainants?" he said.
"Because a person has been unfortunately assaulted by more than one person cannot possibly have a bearing on their credibility.
"The idea the complainants could have conflated what Mr Muir did with what anyone else did is preposterous."
The complainants are people who know him well. He had a certain level of prominence in the community.Crown prosecutor David Glynn
Magistrate Noreen Toohey rejected the defence application.
She said each complainant was known to Muir at the time and had made specific allegations against him.
"I am not satisfied the probative value of the evidence would outweigh any shame or distress experienced by the complainants," she said.
Muir was stood down from his position as chief executive of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service in February 2019 amid the sexual assault allegations and later resigned.
Muir has been a central figure in Aboriginal justice groups in Victoria for more than 30 years.
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