IN A dramatic twist, a Manilla man accused of sexual assault has publicly fired his lawyer in court.
Zeb Nye appeared in Tamworth Local Court via visual link on Wednesday, and within minutes axed his defence. He told the court and defence solicitor Geoffrey Archer that he wanted a new lawyer.
"I feel like the entire thing has become a joke and I'm sitting in jail here," he said.
"I think I can beat this case so if it gets muddled up ... I'm just not happy with how things are going.
"I just want to be notified of the happenings of my case. I'm being kept in the dark and I think I need to seek a new lawyer.
"I'm getting snookered."
Nye continued to talk over the top of Magistrate Julie Soars, when she tried to mute him it became apparent staff could only mute the courtroom.
"Put him on mute, not me," she said. "You can't mute him and not me?"
"Mr Archer is trying his best and he's busy; you're feeling you might not be getting enough attention and I understand that as well."
When Nye refused to settle down his audio feed was cut-off. Mr Archer told the court he was happy to make representations for his former client to find a new lawyer.
"That's a matter for Mr Nye, I wouldn't have opposition to that and of course would provide all that material to Mr Nye's new lawyer," he said.
Nye was frustrated with delays in his case while his lawyer waited on police to supply video evidence.
Mr Archer told the court on Wednesday that the brief of evidence had been served and it was compliant. Nye is set to return to court in April for charge certification.
Nye is charged with the sexual assault of a woman in her home in Manilla, in the early hours of November 7.
Police arrested him about three hours later.
He faces 16 charges that include six counts of sexual intercourse without consent; sexual touching; and three counts each of possessing an unregistered gel firearm; possessing an unauthorised firearm and not keeping a firearm safe. Police seized the weapons at the crime scene.
Nye was first granted bail in December on sexual assault allegations and was then refused bail because of a fresh matter.
Nye is expected to enter a plea at the end of February to one of the charges before the other DPP matters are dealt with in April.