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Malcolm Turnbull's former NBN adviser Stephen Ellis to fight public indecency, drug charges

A former federal government staffer will fight allegations he committed an act of indecency at Canberra Airport last month.

Stephen John Ellis, a former journalist and senior NBN adviser, resigned from the office of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull after he was charged with an alleged act of indecency committed in the presence of another man.

He was also allegedly found in possession of the drug LSD and amphetamines when police arrested him on the same night.

Ellis, 47, spent the night in the ACT police watch house and faced court on May 15.

He was charged with two drug possession offences, offensive behaviour and committing an act of indecency in the presence of another person.

Ellis did not appear when the matter came before the ACT Magistrates Court again on Friday.


The court heard he faced two fresh charges of carrying banned items through security screening and having banned items in the air.

Defence lawyer James Maher entered pleas of not guilty to all six charges on Ellis' behalf.

The defendant's absence prompted Magistrate Beth Campbell to ask Mr Maher whether Ellis didn't appear in court "on advice, or did he just deign not to appear?". 

Mr Maher said Ellis had stayed in Sydney, where he was allowed to reside under his bail conditions, on legal advice.

Ms Campbell continued Ellis' bail. 

The court was previously told Ellis' mental health was assessed following the airport incident.

Soon after Ellis' first court appearance, Mr Turnbull issued a short statement saying Ellis had resigned.

"As this matter is both very personal and before the court I have no further comment to make," he said.

Ellis also issued a statement at that time to say he would address the charges through the normal legal process.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the incident was a private matter.

"I guess I just make general point that when people have personal issues, they should be given all the support and all the encouragement that they possibly can to work through those issues."

The matter will be back in court for a case management hearing in August.