News State NT News Accused Darwin shooter to plead not guilty

Accused Darwin shooter to plead not guilty

darwin shooter charged
The alleged Darwin shooter, Ben Hoffman. Photo: Facebook
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The man accused of a mass shooting in Darwin in which four men were killed and a woman injured on one night in June will plead not guilty.

Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann, 45, appeared via video link in Darwin Local Court on Wednesday, when his lawyer Peter Maley said he would fight the charges, including four counts of murder.

Mr Hoffmann was arrested on the night of the killings on June 4. His defence is expected to involve a claim of mental impairment due to alleged psychiatric illness issues.

Mr Hoffmann was keen to have the matter “ventilated and transmitted” in the Northern Territory Supreme Court Court as soon as possible, Mr Maley said on Wednesday.

“He is pleading not guilty,” Mr Maley told the court.

However, there were massive volumes of material crucial to the case to work through, he said.

That included hundreds of hours of police bodycam video from the night, CCTV footage, outstanding forensic material, statements from police to be signed off on and Mr Hoffmann’s medical records, which were still to be obtained, prosecutor Matt Nathan said.

Judge John Neil said it was important that police officers’ statements be finalised before memories were “strained”.

“These are matters where everyone is aware of what’s alleged,” Judge Neil said.

He said it was going to be “a huge matter” in terms of the volumes of material to work through before the case even went to trial.

It was Mr Hoffmann’s first public appearance since he faced court on the Friday after the shootings on Tuesday, June 4, and has been in custody for the 104 days since.

At the time, he said: “I do need help. I have asked for help”.

“I am very sorry about what happened. I want to speak to Peter Maley as soon as possible.”

On Wednesday, he said little from prison, other than “thank you, your honour”.

Mr Hoffman has been charged with numerous offences, including four counts of murder, two of recklessly endangering serious harm and one of criminal damage.

The four deaths occurred within about half an hour in a rampage that shocked Darwin, and Australia.

The dead were taxi driver Hassan Baydoun, 33, Nigel Hellings, 75, Michael Sisois, 57, and 52-year-old Rob Courtney.

Mr Hoffman is yet to formally plead t0 the charges and will return to court on December 11.