Judge Brian Caird pulled out of the Aaron Nattrass fraud trial yesterday, saying poor health prevented him from ensuring a fair trial. He adjourned the case until tomorrow for a fresh trial date to be fixed. The judge made no mention of his earlier allegations that two colleagues, acting on behalf of the New Zealand Immigration Service, had tried to pressure him to return a guilty verdict. The claims, which were later retracted and described as mistaken by the Judiciary, had led the Crown to apply for him to stand down because of a risk of bias. Paul Harris, defending alleged fraudster Nattrass, asked for the judges at the centre of the allegations - Clare Beeson and Richard Hawkes - to be barred from handling the case, which may have to start again in front of a new judge. But his request was rejected by Judge Caird. At the start of yesterday's proceedings, Judge Caird said he had been concerned about his health and would continue to seek medical advice. 'I am unable to continue with this hearing and can only add that I believe it would not be in the interests of either the Crown or the defence, i.e. the applicant, for me to continue as I cannot be confident of ensuring a fair trial,' he said. The judge had earlier given an assurance that Nattrass and the Crown would have a fair hearing and he would continue to preside over the case. After the judge's statement yesterday, Mr Harris said the defence would ask the Director of Public Prosecutions, Peter Nguyen QC, to drop Nattrass' case. The lawyer said it would not be in the interests of justice for this trial to continue under any circumstances. Mr Nguyen told the South China Morning Post yesterday the Crown would continue the prosecution against Nattrass 'at the moment'. But he added the Crown would consider the defence's position and said 'anything is possible'. Mr Harris also demanded to know how written statements containing Judge Caird's allegations became public and how the prosecution knew of a phone conversation between Nattrass and one of his legal advisers, barrister Kevin Egan. Outside court, Mr Harris said they would seek a police investigation on whether Nattrass' telephone was bugged. Nattrass said he was disappointed by Judge Caird's decision.