A Christchurch man accused of murder in a 2-year cold case has more than a year to wait before trial.

David Charles Benbow, 51, has denied a charge of murdering Michael McGrath – who was last seen in his Halswell home in May 2017.

Benbow appeared via video link for his first appearance in the High Court at Christchurch this morning, wearing an orange jumper and keeping his eyes down.

Justice Cameron Mander has confirmed a trial date for February 9, 2021.

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He remanded the defendant in custody until a case review hearing in mid-December.

Benbow has a bail application hearing on October 24.