Australia

Accused Darwin shooter left with no lawyer due to a dispute over money with NT Legal Aid

Psychiatric reports are still outstanding in relation to Ben Hoffmann, who is accused of Darwin's worst mass shooting. Source: Supplied

Accused Darwin shooter Ben Hoffmann has no lawyer and has been left to represent himself due to a dispute over money with NT Legal Aid.

Almost nine months since Darwin's worst mass shooting, the man charged with murdering four men and injuring a woman in a 30-minute rampage has no legal representation.

The case against Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann, 45, came before the Supreme Court in Darwin for the first time on Thursday.

Hoffmann, who was not present in court, is expected to plead not guilty to four counts of murder, recklessly endangering life and other offences committed on 4 June last year.

He was last month committed to stand trial by Darwin Local Court judge Elisabeth Armitage.

The defence is expected to involve a claim of mental impairment over alleged psychiatric illness issues.

However, Hoffmann's lawyer Peter Maley told the Supreme Court he and fellow lawyer Jon Tippett wished to step down due to a dispute with the taxpayer-funded NT Legal Aid Commission over an application for funding the defence.

"We have reached an impasse in terms of funding from the Legal Aid Commission," he told associate justice Vince Luppino.

"I seek to leave to cease to act along with Mr Tippett and Mr Hoffmann will be representing himself. I have spoken to Hoffmann on the phone.

"The matter will be adjourned ... Hoffmann can be brought in and can appear unrepresented."

Public prosecutor Matthew Nathan said it was unlikely he would speak to Hoffmann directly despite the fact he was no longer legally represented and it was unknown if and when the matter would be resolved.

AAP understands it would be unlikely a person charged with serious crimes involving multiple murders would be allowed by the Supreme Court to represent themself.

Hassan Baydoun
Hassan Baydoun was the first victim identified in a shooting in Darwin.
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Hoffmann is accused of fatally shooting Hassan Baydoun, 33, Nigel Hellings, 75, Michael Sisois, 57, and Rob Courtney, 52, the latter who he stabbed and slashed with a knife during a fight in which he was also injured.

It is alleged Hoffmann had the drug ice in his system and also shot and injured a woman and pointed a shotgun at another woman who he threatened.

He was arrested at gunpoint by tactical police officers that night.

Hoffmann will appear by video link from prison at his next court appearance on 26 March.

The funding impasse might be resolved by then, Mr Maley said.

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