LATEST: Opening statements in Robert Blake's murder trial have been delayed for two weeks, following the theft of his defence attorney's computer.

This morning (06DEC04), attorney M GERALD SCHWARTZBACH told the court he would need more time to prepare because he lost materials in the computer taken in a burglary from his home.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge DARLENE SCHEMPP granted a delay until 20 December (04) and questioned jurors individually about what they had heard about the case and whether it would influence them during the trial.

The burglary took place on Wednesday (01DEC04) at Schwartzbach's apartment and is under investigation by police. A court representative has described the computer as containing the "heart and soul" of the defence case.

Blake, 71, is accused of the 2001 shooting death of Bonny Lee Bakley, whom he had married months earlier after DNA tests showed he was the father of her baby daughter.

The former BARETTA star is free on $1.5 million (GBP790,000) bail, but is confined to his home.

07/12/2004 00:02