Ben Aulich & Bridie Harders – an update from our Managing Partner
I appeared on behalf of Ben Aulich and Bridie Harders in the ACT Magistrates Court earlier today.
As previously foreshadowed, the most serious charge proffered against Ben was withdrawn and the remaining matters were adjourned to 10 May 2021 for the balance of the brief of evidence to be served and to allow us an adequate time to review the material. We have completed our review of what we’ve been served already and, whilst we don’t anticipate any of the missing documents will go to anything, it will be nice for the DPP to finally get to us what they were supposed to have to us on 1 March.
In Court I raised the issue of adequate particularisation of Ben’s charges. The ‘particulars’ of a criminal charge are when the prosecution state, with precision, the case they are trying to prove against a person. We have requested that the DPP particularise the charges on 6 occasions since Ben was charged and we still do not have an answer. Ultimately, this is an issue of fairness to the accused. A person is entitled to know the precise act, matter or thing alleged against them – it allows them to prepare their defence and can stop the prosecution from moving the goal posts part-way through the matter. Given this matter was supposedly the result of an 8 month long operation, we are surprised it is taking the DPP so long to provide the particulars.
In Court, I foreshadowed that there would be an application for a conditional stay of the proceedings if adequate particulars were not provided before the next Court date.
As expected, all charges against Bridie Harders were withdrawn and the AFP were ordered to pay the costs of and associated with the proceedings against her. In withdrawing the charges against Bridie, the prosecution has conceded that there was no prospect in securing a conviction and the public purse has been left to foot the bill.
We have received many messages from our lovely clients, colleagues and friends about the withdrawal of the charges against Bridie and how pleased you all are for her and the firm as a whole. Your ongoing support of Ben and Bridie is wonderful. We thank you again for your loyalty and remaining part of the Aulich family.