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Ex-MP accused of blackmail seeks permission to travel

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A former state Labor MP and her husband, accused of attempting to blackmail Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas, have asked an Adelaide court to vary their bail conditions to allow them to travel interstate for work.

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Annabel Digance, who held the southern suburbs seat of Elder for a term until 2018, fronted the Adelaide Magistrates Court today with her husband, Greg Digance.

Both are charged with attempting to blackmail the Labor leader, allegedly in a bid to seek to reignite Digance’s political career after she lost her seat to Liberal Carolyn Habib (now Carolyn Power).

The pair is yet to enter a plea to the charges, but their lawyers today asked chief magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal to allow their bail to be varied allowing them to travel interstate “for the purpose of employment”.

“My client owns and operates a hydraulics company and there are issues at the moment with the borders [opening and closing] that make it difficult coming back to court quite often,” said defence counsel Danni Stephens.

She said meeting events with clients were getting “moved quite often” and “we’re asking for a continuation whereby he be permitted to leave the state”.

Annabel Digance sought the same variation as an employee of the business.

Hribal agreed there were “challenges with borders opening and closing that makes it difficult”.

However, she declined to give broad approval, saying the pair could seek exemptions from the court as they arose, “given the nature of the charges and given we might only be talking about once a month”.

They will return to court in October to answer the charge.

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