Darwin mass shooter Benjamin Hoffmann's lawyer withdraws services in alleged 'hot water' prison assault caseBy Nicholas Hynes
Darwin mass shooter Benjamin Hoffmann may be forced to represent himself in an upcoming legal battle over an alleged prison assault, after his lawyer withdrew her services this morning.
- Benjamin Hoffmann, who killed four people in 2019, allegedly assaulted an inmate
- His lawyer has withdrawn services in this case due to funding issues
- Hoffmann says he’s "shocked" after a "tough day" in court yesterday
Hoffmann appeared in Darwin Local Court via video link from prison, a day after he appeared in the NT Supreme Court where final sentencing submissions were heard in his long-running mass murder case.
He is now facing a charge of aggravated assault after he allegedly threw hot water on a fellow inmate earlier this year.
His lawyer, Dr Patricia Petersen, told the court this morning she would have to withdraw her services because she was not currently eligible for Legal Aid funding.
"There is a process in place which hopefully will ensure that Mr Hoffmann does get the funding that's required, and with respect to his more substantive matters, I haven't withdrawn from those," Dr Petersen said.
"I'm still acting for him on a pro-bono amicus basis with respect to the murder and manslaughter [case]."
Hoffmann 'shocked' to hear his lawyer withdraw
Hoffmann yesterday chose to take the stand and give evidence, against the advice of his lawyer, where prosecutors accused him of fabricating a psychotic episode to avoid culpability for the shooting rampage.
This morning, Hoffmann told the court he was shocked to learn his lawyer would not be representing him in the prison assault matter.
"This is the first I've heard that Dr Patricia is not representing me as of this morning, and I've just sat down and I'm a bit shocked about it all," Hoffmann said.
"I'm very upset Legal Aid hasn't funded my lawyers and I have no funding in the situation I'm in.
"I had a really rough day yesterday in court and I just need to cry a bit."
Hoffmann admits to assaulting inmate
Dr Petersen said she would be willing to represent Hoffmann again if Legal Aid funding was made available and she was in discussions with the service.
She said Hoffmann was not trying to "duck and weave" from responsibility for his actions.
"He accepts that there was liquid thrown and he accepts that there was an inappropriate gesture made," she said.
Prosecutors said they were still following up witness statements from the incident.
The matter was adjourned and is due to return to Local Court next month.