MasterChef's Ben Ungermann admits assaulting teenage girl

·2-min read

Ex-MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann has been spared a criminal conviction for physically assaulting a 16-year-old girl in Melbourne.

Ungermann, 37, has instead been placed on a diversion program, allowing him to avoid a criminal record, for the assault at a Docklands hotel in February 2020.

Ex-MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann has been spared a criminal conviction for physically assaulting a teenage girl in Melbourne. Photo: AAP
Ex-MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann has been spared a criminal conviction for physically assaulting a teenage girl in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

Three sexual assault charges against Ungermann over the incident were struck out in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

They were replaced with one charge of common law assault, which Ungermann did not contest.

It involved him physically grabbing the girl and pulling him towards her in his hotel room for a few seconds.

Ungermann, based in Brisbane, was in Melbourne filming for the Channel 10 cooking show at the time.

The pair had dinner and drunk sake beforehand.

Ungermann's barrister, Abbie Roodenburg, said the man took responsibility for what happened.

"This was a one-off brief touch," the barrister also said, adding it was "out of character".

Ungermann agreed to write an apology letter, make a $1000 donation to charity and undergo mental health treatment as part of the diversion.

Three sexual assault charges against Ungermann over the same incident were struck out in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: AAP
Three sexual assault charges against Ungermann over the same incident were struck out in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: AAP

Ms Roodenburg also said Ungermann had lost his public reputation and sponsorships gained following his first appearance on MasterChef in 2017, when he was runner-up.

Magistrate Mia Stylianou acknowledged Ungermann had endured public opprobrium through media coverage of his case.

Ungermann was also represented by Western Australian-based solicitor and fellow 2017 MasterChef contestant Benjamin Bullock.

Ben appeared in MasterChef Australia: Back To Win alongside other former chefs from the show. Photo: Ten
Ben appeared in MasterChef Australia: Back To Win alongside other former chefs from the show. Photo: Ten

Outside court, Mr Bullock said they "welcome the withdrawal of the sexual assault charges which have been denied the whole time".

"We also welcome the opportunity for Benny to clear his name. It's really just about him going forward now and moving on with his life," Mr Bullock added.

He and Ungermann did not answer reporters' questions as they left the court.

Reporting by AAP.

Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter .

Or if you have a story idea, email us at lifestyle.tips@verizonmedia.com.