MasterChef’s Ben Ungermann had a ‘sexual interest’ in a teenage girl he is accused of molesting while on a trip to Melbourne, a court has heard.
Daily Mail Australia revealed in May last year that Ungermann faced three separate charges of sexually assaulting his alleged teenage victim.
On Wednesday Ungermann appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for the very first time – albeit via video link from his home in Queensland.
Ben Ungermann has appeared in a Melbourne court via video link in Queensland. He is expected to eventually have to return to Melbourne to face child sex allegations
Ben Ungermann continues to post videos and photos of himself to social media flexing his guns to adoring fans
Ben Ungermann was quietly removed from MasterChef last year
Dressed in a white shirt and loosely hanging tie, Ungermann sat before a poster that read: ‘On Top Of The World’ and preened his hair throughout the hearing, which will determine how his alleged child victim is cross-examined in court.
The buff reality star will travel to Melbourne next week where he will reunite with fellow season nine contestant and his solicitor, Ben Bullock, in a contested hearing.
In a day of revelations, the court heard Ungermann’s alleged victim had made an earlier statement to police against him alleging three separate instances of inappropriate sexual conduct.
The allegations were made about 13 months before Ungermann allegedly assaulted her in Melbourne on February 23 last year.
It is evidence the prosecution hopes to have deemed admissible as ‘tendency evidence’ at his upcoming trial.
The court heard Ungermann’s young accuser had a history of mental health issues and would need regular breaks while being grilled by Ungermann’s barrister Abbie Roodenburg.
The teenager has already made four video statements to Queensland detectives – spanning more than an hour – outlining her allegations.
Court documents state police allege Ungermann intentionally touched his alleged child victim without her consent – and he knew it – at least three times.
One of the charges includes graphic detail of one of the alleged attacks against the young girl.
Police allege the teenage girl states that Ungermann ‘sexually touched her right breast skin-to-skin’ against her wishes.
Perth based lawyer turned chef Ben Bullock appeared alongside Ungermann in the 2017 season of Masterchef and has now represented him in court
Former MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann makes regular Instagram posts
Ungermann has 97,000 followers on Instagram, where he continues to post videos and photos. He appeared on crutches in a post just days ago
The court heard the alleged attack happened while another child was present in the room.
That child will be among three other child witnesses to give evidence when the matter returns to court.
Ms Roodenburg claimed the alleged eye witness had ‘seen and heard nothing’ of the alleged attack.
Unlike Ungermann, the alleged victim and child witnesses will not be required to attend court in Melbourne.
Prosecutors hope to get approval for court-approved minders from Melbourne to travel to Queensland to sit with the children while they deliver their evidence.
The hearing is expected to take seven days when it gets underway later this month.
When it does, 13 witnesses will be called, including five other interstate witnesses, one from Melbourne and three police officers.
Ungermann himself hopes to call a ‘civilian witness’ from South Africa, who is expected to give evidence via videolink from abroad.
At the time of the alleged offending, Ungermann had been in a relationship with South African TV star and radio personality Leigh-Anne Williams.
Ungermann continues to post buff photos of himself on Instagram
Ungermann likes to show-off on Instagram where he continues to receive support from fans
We all got problems: Ungermann took to Instagram to declare no-one cares about his problems
Ungermann has hotly denied all allegations he is a sex offender and has expressed an urgency to resolve the matters.
For now, he remains in Queensland where this Sunday he is scheduled to cook up a storm for Mother’s Day at Ungermann Brothers in Ipswich.
Tickets to the spread continue to sell for up to $127 a head.
Ungermann remains active on social media where just days ago he posted a video of him enjoying himself out on a camping trip while celebrating his birthday.
Days earlier he had appeared in another Instagram post on crutches.
Daily Mail Australia revealed last year that Ungermann had been staying in a serviced apartment in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct when he put an urgent call out to Williams.
His life was quickly falling apart after being charged on March 6 last year with sexually assaulting the teenage girl.
He was about to slip a ring on the South African TV star’s finger and was on the verge of being cast into the spotlight again on a new MasterChef show.
Ben Ungermann faces multiple sex assault charges in Melbourne after he was arrested in Docklands in February last year
Ben Ungermann was quietly removed from the latest season of MasterChef.
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.
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.
Victorian sexual crime squad detectives had already moved in and charged Ungermann, who had been filming in Melbourne for the MasterChef: Back to Win program.
In June, Sydney lawyer Adam 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.’