By Peter Woodhouse


A further message from our Managing Partner

This morning, I appeared with and on behalf of my business partners and dear friends, Ben Aulich and Bridie Harders in the ACT Magistrates Court.

At that time, Ben was formally charged with recruiting a person to carry out a criminal activity.  He entered a plea of not guilty to that charge.

Due to a deficiency in the wording of the charges, the remaining charges were not formally put to Ben and no charges formally put to Bridie.

It is expected that both Ben and Bridie will appear again on Thursday of this week when fresh charges, presumably with the deficiencies corrected, will be put to them.

We expect those charges to be as follows:

  1. Conspiring to deal with the proceeds of crime; and
  2. Conspiring to commit the offence of money laundering,

As I advised the Court this morning, I expect both Ben and Bridie will enter pleas of not guilty to those charges on Thursday.

Ben and Bridie’s matters have attracted a lot of media attention in the last few days and there have been several public comments made by various agencies that I feel have been incomplete, as I outlined in a letter to the editor which is published in today’s Canberra Times.

Absent from those public comments has been the reminder that Ben and Bridie, just like any other person charged with a criminal offence, enjoy the benefit of the presumption of innocence.

You may well have read in my previous blogs that the presumption of innocence is one of the most long-standing and fundamental legal principles that can be traced as far back as the Roman law of the 6th century AD.  The presumption of innocence is something that often gets overlooked or taken for granted.  What it means is that everybody charged with a criminal offence is presumed to be not guilty, unless and until the prosecution prove the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt.

Ben and Bridie and the Aulich team remain comforted by the wonderful messages of support we continue to receive from our clients, colleagues, friends and staff.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy start to 2021.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Woodhouse

Managing Partner