Ben Ungermann will defend charges involving a 16-year-old girl.
Ben Ungermann will defend charges involving a 16-year-old girl.

Twist in MasterChef sex assault case

A dumped MasterChef contestant has called on a fellow reality TV chef to join his defence team as he prepares to fight allegations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl.

Ben Ungermann, 36, has recruited fellow season nine contestant Ben Bullock as his instructing solicitor ahead of a contested hearing next month where he will defend charges involving a 16-year-old girl.

The alleged offending occurred during the filming of MasterChef All Stars in Melbourne in February last year.

It comes as it was revealed on Wednesday "substantial" new evidence had emerged relating to earlier statements made by the teenage complainant against Mr Ungermann.

MasterChef Australia contestant Ben Ungermann.
MasterChef Australia contestant Ben Ungermann.

"It's a fairly substantial development," Magistrate Mia Stylianou said.

Prosecutors said no new charges were likely to arise from the discovery of the statement, but it may be relied upon as "tendency evidence".

Mr Bullock, appearing from his home in Western Australia, said the defence would be objecting to the use of the material.

The Perth based lawyer turned chef appeared alongside Mr Ungermann in the 2017 season on the popular reality TV cooking show and was enlisted in the matter in January this year after Mr Ungermann parted ways with his previous legal team.

Ben Ungermann was runner-up on MasterChef season nine. Picture: Jerad Williams
Ben Ungermann was runner-up on MasterChef season nine. Picture: Jerad Williams

Mr Bullock told the court the defence, expected to be led by Melbourne barrister Abbie Roodenburg, would be calling a witness from South Africa to give evidence next month.

Mr Ungermann, who resides in Queensland, came runner-up on season nine and the two men travelled to Indonesia together where they cooked at an event hosted by the Westin Hotel in Bali in late 2017.

Mr Ungermann was booted from last year's all-stars season after being arrested over what was initially described as an issue "of a personal nature".

It was later revealed the father-of-three was charged with two counts of sexual assault a fortnight later on March 6 following an investigation from Victoria Police's sex crimes squad.

Mr Ungermann was slapped with an additional charge of sexual assault stemming from the February 23 incident in the Docklands.

Charge sheets released by the court reveal he allegedly intentionally sexually touched the alleged victim's breast without consent.

The court heard the alleged teen victim's best friend would be called to testify during the contested hearing.

It was also revealed the alleged victim was known to Mr Ungermann.

The court heard four children would be called as witnesses at a contested hearing slated to run for a week beginning on May 17.

genevieve.alison@news.com.au

Originally published as Twist in MasterChef sex assault case

Ben Bullock was a fellow season nine contestant. Picture: Supplied / Channel 10
Ben Bullock was a fellow season nine contestant. Picture: Supplied / Channel 10


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