Four child witnesses from interstate will give evidence against alleged MasterChef child sex attacker Ben Ungermann.Ungermann, 33, is believed to b
Four child witnesses from interstate will give evidence against alleged MasterChef child sex attacker Ben Ungermann.
Ungermann, 33, is believed to be holed-up in Queensland and was not present at a web hearing in Melbourne on Thursday.
But his lawyer Sarah Condon told the Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link that Ungermann intended to fight the charges.
Ben Ungermann is currently working in Queensland and is expected to eventually have to return to Melbourne to face child sex allegations
THE COMEBACK IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN THE SETBACK: A post on Instagram made by Ungermann after his arrest
Prosecutor Stephen Payne said police intended to call four child witnesses to give evidence against Ungermann – each of them from interstate.
Both Ungermann’s defence and prosecutors argued against releasing details of the alleged offence to the public.
Magistrate Marita Altman agreed, releasing only the charge sheets to media.
Mr Payne told the court he had been in discussions with Ungermann’s legal team in the hope of resolving the case, but had been unsuccessful.
‘I’ve been in discussion with my learned friend in relation to the current status of the brief (of evidence). There are some outstanding items which are being addressed but we’ll be in a position to proceed with a contest mention,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t appear that there is any prospect of the matter resolving at this point in time.’
All four witnesses are expected to provide their evidence to the court via web cast when the matter eventually returns to court.
The contested hearing is expected to run for anywhere between five and seven days.
Mystery surrounds how the allegations against Ungermann are put by Victorian detectives.
Daily Mail Australia revealed last month that Ungermann had been holed-up at a serviced apartment in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct when he put an urgent call out to his girlfriend Leigh-Anne Williams.
His life was quickly falling apart after being charged on March 6 with sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
He was about to slip a ring on the South African TV star and radio personality’s slender finger and was on the verge of being cast into the spotlight again on a new MasterChef show.
But less than a week after being charged, the hulking Ungermann didn’t make a phone call to his supposed bride to be and he didn’t directly text her phone.
Leigh-Anne Williams received a message from Ungermann in March under a different Instagram account than her boyfriend usually used
Leigh-Anne Williams returned to South Africa after spending time in Melbourne with Ungermann while he filmed the new MasterChef
Instead, Ungermann placed a public message on Instagram from an account he does not normally outwardly use.
And it appeared to be a call for help.
‘Honey, Leigh please call me asap at Quest New Quay room 1705B,’ he messaged her sometime in early March.
The post and its responses have since been removed and Ms Williams’ Instagram account set to private.
Victorian sexual crime squad detectives had already moved in and charged Ungermann after a report was made alleging he had sexually assaulted a 16-year old girl weeks earlier on February 23.
Ungermann had been filming in Melbourne for the MasterChef: Back to Win program.
The embattled chef from Queensland has since gone into hiding and has communicated his innocence only through Sydney lawyer Adam Houda.
Last month, Mr Houda told Daily Mail Australia his client was completely blindsided by the charges.
‘My client is distressed by the charges, which came as a huge shock to him,’ he said at the time.
‘The allegations, I am instructed, are a complete fabrication and are denied.’
A quick look at Ungermann’s Instagram account reveals if the fitness freak was worried about the fallout of whatever happened on February 23, he was confident it would be swept away.
He popped up in the Murdoch press two days after the alleged incident at Docklands.
The seemingly confident cook posted the articles on his regular Instagram page the very same day.
‘IT’S ALL GETTING VERY REAL NOW that I have been announced as 1 of the 24 participating contestants for Masterchef Australia’s 2020 season ‘Back to Win’ make sure to watch me battle it out amongst Masterchef royalty,’ he wrote.
In an office just down the road, at Victoria Police’s Melbourne West head quarters, detectives were putting together the allegations.
A week before the alleged attack, Ungermann had been enjoying some quality time in Melbourne with his girlfriend.
Ungermann hit Instagram in late March as police continued to piece together the allegations against him. He will appear in a Melbourne court in June
Ungermann put out this apparent call for help in the days after he was charged with sexual assault
Ungerman hit social media two days after he allegedly sexually assaulted a teenage girl in Melbourne. He appeared confident of remaining on the hit program
Ben’s Instagram Life On Display
February 17: Hits Insta to tell his followers he’s with his girlfriend in Melbourne while filming MasterChef
February 23: A teenage girl alleges she is sexually assaulted by the MasterChef contestant while at the Docklands
February 25: Promotes his appearance in newspapers talking about his appearance on the new MasterChef
March 1: Poses with his kids on top of of building in the Docklands precinct
March 6: Police charge Ungermann with two counts of sexual assault
March 13: Ungermann uses a different Instagram account to ask his girlfriend to call him ASAP
March 19: Ungermann posts a selfie of himself working out, stating: THE COMEBACK IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN THE SETBACK
He also a posts a photo of himself hand-in-hand with Leigh-Anne Williams – sparking reports the couple are engaged
March 20: A brooding Ungermann posts: ‘You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have’
March 20-24: Reports surface that Ungermann has been arrested and had left MasterChef
May 1: South African girlfriend posts Ungermann well wishes for his birthday from back in South Africa
May 19: Daily Mail Australia reveals Ungermann faces sexual assault allegatons
May 20: His Instagram page no longer accepts comments
He hit Instagram on February 17 – just six days before he allegedly attacked the teen – stating they were together.
What happened next will be the subject of a criminal investigation that if proven could see Ungermann confined to the prison kitchen for an unknown period.
Five days before Ungermann would be arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault, the proud dad posed for a photo at the top of a Docklands building with his son Phoenix and daughter Bella.
He tagged it with the hashtag ‘growing up’.
On March 19 Ungermann posted a selfie of himself working out.
‘THE COMEBACK IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN THE SETBACK,’ he wrote.
It was the same day he posted a photo of himself hand-in-hand with Leigh-Anne Williams – sparking reports the couple were engaged.
The public message on Ungermann’s other Instagram account is believed to have been made in the week or so before March 19.
News of Ungermann’s arrest surfaced on March 20, prompting a spokesperson for Endemol Shine to issue a brief statement to the media.
‘We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment.’
Whether Ms Williams knew what the allegations were at the time remain a mystery.
Who the teenager is and how she found herself to allegedly be in Ungermann’s company also remains unknown.
A week later Ms Williams appeared to be back in South Africa, but no less committed to her man in Melbourne.
Ungermann poses with his kids in Melbourne just days before he was arrested over sexual assault allegations
Engagement rumours: MasterChef Australia star Ben Ungermann’s Instagram post sparked rumours he was engaged to his girlfriend, South African TV star and radio personality Leigh-Anne Williams.
South African TV star and radio personality Leigh-Anne Williams had returned to South Africa when she posted a glowing Happy Birthday to Ungermann
On May 1 she hit Instagram in a public showing of support for Ungermann on his birthday.
‘To one of the kindest, most beautiful and caring human beings I know,’ she wrote.
‘May you receive all the love that you’ve always shown those around and may you always be blessed in everything you do.’
Daily Mail Australia then revealed what Ungermann and his Network 10 bosses had been hiding for more than two months.
He was an alleged sex offender facing serious criminal charges in Melbourne for a crime supposedly committed while he was filming the hit show.
Fans had first noticed Ungermann had disappeared from MasterChef: Back to Win when he didn’t appear on an episode with U.S. singer Katy Perry.
It was only on days later that Scottish-born restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo announced for the first time that Ungermann had left the competition for a ‘personal matter’ and would not be returning.
Adam Houda is accustomed to representing alleged terrorists and once acted for the Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis
Leigh-Anne Williams was reportedly engaged to Ben Ungermann before returning to South Africa
Ben Ungermann faces multiple sex assault charges in Melbourne after he was arrested in Docklands in February
Ben Ungermann is currently working in Queensland and is expected to eventually have to return to Melbourne to face the allegations
The contestants looked shocked, but the episode moved on with no further mention of the issue.
The move confirmed fan suspicions he was about to be cut out of the show after he was noticeably absent from the anticipated Katy Perry special on Thursday.
The chef has yet to make a public comment what led to his arrest, but he replied to a fan comment on his Instagram account, after they expressed how ‘devastated’ they were at his departure.
‘How do they edit you out?’ the fan queried.
‘That’s up to MasterChef Australia. Appreciate the support,’ Ungermann replied.
Ungermann is listed to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court again in October
Leigh-Anne Williams is a South African reality tv star who returned home before allegations about Ungermann were revealed
Ben Ungermann was quietly removed from the latest season of MasterChef.