Key Points:

Convicted killer and life parolee Dean Wickliffe will stand trial in the middle of next year on drugs and firearms charges.

At a callover hearing in Tauranga District Court yesterday, Judge Christopher Harding set the five-day trial down to start on June 8.

Meanwhile, a bail application which will decide whether he will be released from jail to care for his terminally-ill partner will be heard late next week.

The Crown has opposed bail for Wickliffe, 60, who has spent the greater part of his life behind bars and twice escaped from Auckland's Paremoremo Prison.

But the Parole Board has said it would free him with electronic monitoring on December 10 if he is bailed on the pending charges.

Wickliffe has been the main caregiver for several years for his partner who has breast cancer.

He was recalled to prison after a police raid on his Maketu home, near Te Puke, in March.

At the end of July, Wickliffe was committed for trial following a depositions hearing in Tauranga.

He pleaded not guilty to two counts of possessing Butanediol (commonly known as party drug One-4B), two of possessing the prescription medicine Ketamine without reasonable excuse and one charge each of possessing cannabis, a pistol and an explosive.

Wickliffe's partner of more than seven years, sickness beneficiary Dionne Chapman, gave evidence at the July depositions hearing.

She had been having chemotherapy treatment, and looked frail and ill..

When she was excused from the witness stand, Ms Chapman walked toward the dock where Wickliffe was seated, nodding and smiling at her.

"I want to give you a kiss," she said. He stood, they kissed, she left the courtroom and Wickliffe sat down to await his fate.

- NZPA