Lawyers have been given more time to agree on the facts of a case involving a former spy known only as Witness K, which relates to an East Timor bugging scandal.
The ex-intelligence officer is poised to plead guilty to conspiring to share secret information with the East Timorese government in relation to the 2004 diplomatic scandal.
Acting chief magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case until September 13 after a directions hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Witness K did not attend court, but was represented by his lawyer Haydn Carmichael, who appeared via video link from Melbourne.
The facts and orders of the accusation have not yet been agreed to, due to issues arising from the highly secretive nature of the case.
Mr Theakston acknowledged that Witness K's legal team were concerned they could commit an offence by releasing information about the case.
Mr Carmichael flagged the possibility of evidence from people both overseas and in Australia, as well as evidence of a medical nature.
He described the case as "novel" and the "first prosecution of its kind", suggesting that was why Witness K had not yet heard back from Legal Aid ACT as to whether it would provide support.
Witness K's current legal team have spent considerable hours working on the case pro-bono, he added.
Mr Carmichael sought leave to subpoena Legal Aid ACT's CEO John Boersig to explain the legal service's stance on the matter.
But the magistrate didn't believe that step was necessary as it's "not uncommon" for defendants to have similar concerns, agreeing instead to return to the issue on September 13.
Witness K's lawyer Bernard Collaery faces the same charge but intends to fight it in the ACT Supreme Court.
Concerns have been raised by senior legal figures that the cases will be shrouded in secrecy, with the media kicked out of proceedings.
But Attorney-General Christian Porter told the ABC this week he had confidence the courts would strike the right balance between the need to protect national security and the principle of open and transparent proceedings.
He said as far as possible the cases should be conducted in open court.
Mr Porter stands by the decision to prosecute, which was based on the commonwealth prosecutor's independent assessment of the evidence and external expert legal opinion.
Former East Timor president Xanana Gusmao offered to provide the courts with information on what he knew of the matter.
He has also called for the prosecutions to be dropped.
Australian Associated Press