Darwin shooter Benjamin Hoffmann claims ‘crisis situation’, can’t secure new lawyers
Murderer Ben Hoffmann has told the NT Supreme Court he has not been able to secure a new lawyer since firing his counsel in November last year.
“No-one wants anything to do with me … no-one cares,” Hoffmann said this morning.
“I’m in a crisis situation.
“I”m having a horrible time, Your Honour.”
Hoffmann told Justice John Burns he wanted counsel to both review his entire murder trial and to represent him through sentencing submissions.
Specifically, he told the court he wanted a grant, or extension of a grant, to brief interstate lawyers so they could re-examine his trial.
In November, Hoffmann admitted to the murders of Hassan Baydoun, Michael Sisois, and Robert Courtney during a shooting spree on June 4, 2019.
He also pleaded guilty to the downgraded charge of manslaughter in relation to the death of Nigel Hellings as well as four lesser charges, including recklessly endangering life and making a threat to kill.
Hoffmann said he wanted to “go through every shred of evidence” previously raised in the murder trial with his yet-to-be-retained interstate counsel, “for a thorough, perfect second opinion” about the events which unfolded.
He said he then wanted Northern Territory Legal Aid to help him secure legal representation for the sentencing submissions.
Hoffmann indicates he may want to reverse guilty plea
Hoffmann also claimed he had been “pressured and bullied” into changing his plea from not guilty to guilty in the seventh week of his nine-week trial, and flagged that he was now considering reversing his guilty plea.
Justice Burns told Hoffmann he could, potentially, seek leave to withdraw his plea of guilty, but would need to provide evidence to back up his claims.
“There is no guarantee this matter will be adjourned,” Justice Burns said.
“You do not have a right to change your plea, you may seek leave to withdraw your pleas of guilty, but in order to do that, you would need to adduce appropriate evidence, not just statements made by you, standing there in the witness box.”
Justice Burns said if this was an avenue Hoffmann wanted to pursue, he would need to waive any legal privilege that existed between himself and his previous lawyers, Jon Tippett QC and Peter Maley.
The judge warned Hoffmann if that happened, Mr Tippett and Mr Maley would then be able to give evidence about what advice they gave him and the circumstances around him changing his plea.
The case will return to the NT Supreme Court for a mention on February 11.
Between now and then, NT Legal Aid will send Hoffmann’s request, and letters he wrote from prison, to a review committee which will determine if there will be a further grant of legal aid and the appointment of new representation.
No date has been set for the sentencing hearing.
Source: Thanks msn.com