Woman at centre of Tim Paine sexting scandal set to face trial

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Renee Ferguson and Tim Paine, pictured here in Hobart.
Renee Ferguson is set to face trial after the saga surrounding Tim Paine. Image: Getty

The woman embroiled in a texting saga involving former Test cricket captain Tim Paine is set to face trial over allegations she stole thousands of dollars and memberships from former employer Cricket Tasmania.

Renee Ferguson, who worked as a receptionist for the sporting organisation from 2015-17, appeared in Hobart Magistrates Court on Thursday.

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Magistrate Michael Daly said he was prepared to sentence Ferguson after receiving a report into her suitability for home detention should she change her plea to guilty.

However, Ferguson, who appeared via video link from her car, said she would maintain her not guilty plea, made in relation to 63 counts of stealing and two counts of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.

The court was told Ferguson had parted ways with high-profile lawyer Greg Barns SC.

"(I am) looking to appoint new legal representation," she said.

Mr Daly told Ferguson that should have already happened, describing the scenario as a "regrettable waste of time".

The case has been plagued by delays since Ferguson was charged by police in 2018.

Mr Daly adjourned the matter until August 5 and ordered Ferguson, who lives interstate, to appear in court.

Renee Ferguson arrives at the Hobart Magistrates Court. (AAP Image/Ethan James)
Renee Ferguson arrives at the Hobart Magistrates Court. (AAP Image/Ethan James)

Judge's rebuke for woman in Tim Paine scandal

"(I'm) not prepared to deal with this remotely any longer. You will need to be fully engaged from this point on," he said.

"There is a lot of work now that needs to be done. We need to commence preparation for this case for a trial.

"There is no point in you instructing lawyers that can't be here. You need to appreciate the reality of your position at present."

Tim Paine and wife Bonnie, pictured here at the 2019 Australian Cricket Awards.
Tim Paine and wife Bonnie at the 2019 Australian Cricket Awards. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Ferguson is alleged to have stolen cash and taken out Cricket Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes memberships without paying for them.

In a separate Federal Court matter, Ferguson is seeking financial compensation over alleged sexual harassment in the form of text messages she claims she received from Paine and Cricket Tasmania staff.

Paine stepped down as Test captain in November 2021 after explicit messages he sent to Ferguson years earlier became public.

In April, Mr Barns said Ferguson was living with depression and anxiety following "extremely stressful" media attention.

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