A former Bridgecorp executive says he is too broke to mount a legal defence - and will find out this afternoon whether his fraud case will be thrown out.

Rod Petricevic's lawyer, Charles Cato, called for a permanent stay of criminal proceedings in the High Court yesterday, arguing that his client was seriously disadvantaged without legal funding.

Petricevic, former managing director of Bridgecorp - which collapsed in 2007 owing investors $459 million - was denied legal aid last month.

Mr Cato said he could not continue to represent Petricevic if his legal fees were not being met.

"I simply have no resources to carry on. It's a situation that I'm very upset about because I do not like to leave a man in this position. But this is what I'm faced with."

Citing the Bill of Rights Act, Mr Cato argued that if Petricevic could not get a fair trial, then he should not have a trial at all.

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey contended that he could not "go behind" last month's High Court ruling that declined legal aid.

"The reason the accused is not represented is that he can afford to, and has chosen not to be," said Mr Dickey.

He said that while it was preferable that Petricevic had a lawyer, the former executive would still get a fair trial without one.

As a former managing director of a finance company, Petricevic was competent in nuanced financial matters and had received substantial legal advice over the past two years.

Petricevic, fellow executive Rob Roest and three other directors face Serious Fraud Office charges for allegedly misleading investors about Bridgecorp's financial health.

Counsel for the five directors sought to have the trial delayed until early 2012, saying that they had not had the same amount of access as the Crown to key financial documents.

The Crown strongly opposed delaying the trial, which is set down for August 8.