Thursday, February 22, 2024

Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial resumes; Lisa Wilkinson fights Ten for authorized prices

The defamation swimsuit

Wilkinson, a former co-host of Ten’s The Undertaking, was sued for defamation by Lehrmann alongside her employer over an interview she performed with former federal Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who accused an unnamed former colleague of sexually assaulting her in Parliament Home in March 2019.

Bruce Lehrmann outside the Federal Court in Sydney last year.

Bruce Lehrmann exterior the Federal Court docket in Sydney final 12 months.Credit score: Edwina Pickles

The interview aired on February 15, 2021, and Lehrmann was named within the media in August 2021, six months after the Ten interview, when he was charged with sexual activity with out consent.

Federal Court docket Justice Michael Lee reserved his choice within the defamation case final 12 months after a month-long trial. The case has been listed for a two-day listening to for additional submissions after points arose referring to Wilkinson’s declare towards Ten.

The Logies acceptance speech

Earlier than he was retained to behave for Ten in Lehrmann’s defamation case, Collins had advised Wilkinson’s acceptance speech on June 19, 2022, when The Undertaking’s interview with Higgins received the Logie for Most Excellent Information Protection or Public Affairs Report, was “ill-advised”. Wilkinson praised Higgins within the speech for her “unwavering braveness”.

Lehrmann’s ACT Supreme Court docket felony trial for the alleged sexual assault of Higgins was as a result of proceed on June 27 that 12 months, however the speech led to the trial being delayed for 3 months to keep away from prejudicing the jury.

Lisa Wilkinson leaves court in November last year, flanked by her barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, left, and Ten’s barrister, Matt Collins, KC, right.

Lisa Wilkinson leaves courtroom in November final 12 months, flanked by her barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, left, and Ten’s barrister, Matt Collins, KC, proper.Credit score: James Brickwood

“The mainstream media … perceive the chance inherent in speaking about instances which are about to go to trial earlier than the courtroom, significantly high-profile instances. So, clearly, this was ill-advised,” Collins advised Seven’s Dawn program within the aftermath of the speech.

Lehrmann’s trial was in the end aborted in 2022 as a result of juror misconduct and the cost towards him was later dropped altogether owing to issues about Higgins’ psychological well being. He has at all times maintained his innocence.

Lehrmann’s legal professionals have pointed to the speech as a consider help of aggravated damages in his defamation case. However Wilkinson stated in her proof within the defamation case that she had obtained recommendation that the speech was acceptable.

Fact defence

Lehrmann was not named in Higgins’ interview, however his legal professionals say he was recognized by the descriptions given of the alleged perpetrator, and that the printed advised he was responsible of raping Higgins within the workplace of then-defence trade minister Linda Reynolds, for whom they labored as advisers.

Within the occasion the courtroom finds Lehrmann was recognized, Ten and Wilkinson admit the central declare of rape was conveyed and are in search of to depend on a spread of defences, together with reality.

Below the reality defence, they have to show on the steadiness of possibilities that Lehrmann raped Higgins. Whereas that is much less onerous than the felony customary of proof past cheap doubt, the so-called Briginshaw precept applies in civil instances involving critical allegations and requires courts to proceed cautiously in making grave findings.

Alleged contempt of courtroom

Lee may even hear on Monday from the alleged operator of a YouTube channel who’s accused of importing elements of the Lehrmann defamation trial to his channel in contravention of courtroom orders.

Whereas the defamation case has been streamed dwell on-line by the Federal Court docket, viewers usually are not permitted to file or broadcast that footage.

Glenn Logan was ordered final 12 months to look in courtroom on Monday “to indicate trigger … as to why proceedings for contempt shouldn’t be instituted towards him” for an alleged contravention of the courtroom’s orders about using hearings streamed on-line.

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