By Peter Woodhouse


Ben Aulich – an update from our Managing Partner

Today I appeared on behalf of my friend and business partner Ben Aulich, instructing David Campbell SC regarding an application by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to adjourn the contested committal hearing scheduled for tomorrow and Friday.

The DPP requested more time to prepare because they were caught off guard by what they describe as “complex and sophisticated” submissions from us as to why criminal charges against Ben should be dismissed rather than committed for trial.

While the lack of preparedness on the part of the DPP is disappointing, the delay will enable us to continue our fight for full disclosure of evidence to ensure Ben gets a fair trial.

Over the past two years we’ve made repeated requests of both the DPP and the AFP to reveal every piece of evidence they have, in accordance with the law.

We have redoubled these efforts in light of the troubling statements made by ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold during the recent Board of Inquiry into the ACT criminal justice system.

Mr Drumgold revealed in his submissions to the inquiry, conducted by Walter Sofronoff KC, that both he and the AFP were confused about their duties and responsibilities when it comes to full disclosure in legal proceedings.

So far, the AFP has refused to reveal additional material or to provide an updated certificate of disclosure in Ben’s matter.

Extraordinarily, the DPP’s current position is that should we wish to access this material, we must issue a subpoena for it. The DPP will not ask the AFP to hand it over.

Perhaps this is further evidence of the fractured relationship between the DPP and AFP.

It is to be hoped that the upcoming recommendations arising from the Sofronoff inquiry can go some way to repairing the damage between two agencies that play such a critical role in the ACT justice system.

Only then can everyone that goes before the system be assured that due process has been adhered to, and that their legal rights have been respected.

We remain grateful to our clients, colleagues and friends for your ongoing support of Ben and the firm.

Peter Woodhouse