ICAC intercepted MP's call with Lib leader, court told

A phone call between then South Australian Liberal leader Isobel Redmond and MP Troy Bell intercepted during an ICAC investigation will be played at his trial on theft and dishonesty charges, a court has been told.

Bell, who is now the independent member for Mount Gambier, is on trial in the SA District Court.

The 50-year-old has pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of theft and six counts of dishonestly dealing with documents, allegedly committed between 2009 and 2013, before he became a Liberal MP.

The prosecution alleges Bell stole funds intended to support the Independent Learning Centre in Mount Gambier, where disengaged high school students had returned to study.

Completing her opening address to the jury on Wednesday, prosecutor Jemma Litster said Independent Commission Against Corruption investigators executed search warrants, including at Bell's Mt Gambier home, on May 10, 2016

She said unsigned minutes of purported meetings of the Limestone Coast Education and Training Association were recovered from electronic devices during the search.

Ms Litster told the jury Bell spoke to a woman two days later on a phone service subscribed to Ms Redmond.

She said a recording of the conversation between Bell and Ms Redmond would be played in court.

"(During the call), Mr Bell commented on the allegations that had been put to him at the time of the search," she said.

"Mr Bell stated that Education and Youth Services had expended and/or possessed LCETA's funds at the time when LCETA was being wound up.

"I quote: 'There was a changeover from me acting as director of LCETA into our own company, which was Education and Youth Services. Um, there was an invoice for a term's worth of salaries which, um um, the um, LCETA paid. So what happened there, and this one, I can see what they're trying to get at. But I'll have witnesses who can …  and I think I've got a way around it anyway, yeah."

Ms Litster said that later on the same day, in an intercepted phone call with his wife, Michaela Bell, the MP said: "They're going to get me on these two things."

"I can 100 per cent tell you that there was no money stolen," Bell told his wife.

Bell was first elected as the member for Mount Gambier as a Liberal in 2014, but quit the party in August 2017.

He was returned to parliament at the 2018 state election after contesting the poll as an independent.

In his brief opening address, defence counsel Nick Healy said it would be disputed Bell "at any time acted dishonestly".

"His state of mind will be one of the key issues for you when you come to determine that element of the offence, and ultimately his guilt or innocence," he said.

"You'll hear a huge volume of evidence led from the prosecution in this trial which I will ultimately be submitting to you is much ado about nothing."

The trial, which is scheduled to run for four months, is continuing.