Thursday, June 13, 2024

Former Liberal staffer’s barrister delivers blistering closing handle

CCTV footage showing Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins at The Dock in Canberra on March 22, 2019.

CCTV footage exhibiting Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins at The Dock in Canberra on March 22, 2019.Credit score: Highlight, Channel Seven

He stated CCTV footage might present “something you need it to, relying on the way you current it”, and accused Ten of deploying a “very selective part” of it in the course of the trial.

Requested by Lee a couple of part of the CCTV footage during which Lehrmann strikes three drinks in entrance of Higgins, Whybrow stated it was a “pleasant” trade “relatively than some evil against-her-will plying” of her with alcohol.

Ten, who known as an skilled lip-reader to present proof within the case, put to Lehrmann that the phrases he stated at this level have been “all hers, all hers”. Lehrmann denied uttering these phrases.

Paraphrasing Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Whybrow stated his consumer had been subjected to a type of “sentence first, trial later”.

Journey to Parliament Home

The barristers for Ten and Wilkinson instructed throughout closing addresses on Thursday that Lee had enough proof to search out, at a minimal, that Higgins and Lehrmann had intercourse in Parliament Home within the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Lisa Wilkinson and her barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, outside the Federal Court in Sydney on Friday.

Lisa Wilkinson and her barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, exterior the Federal Court docket in Sydney on Friday.Credit score: Flavio Brancaleone

They argued that in these circumstances Lehrmann shouldn’t obtain damages as a result of he had continued in a lie that no sexual exercise occurred in any respect. Higgins has instructed the court docket that she awoke whereas Lehrmann was raping her.

A photo of Brittany Higgins and Senator Linda Reynolds taken on May 16, 2019, showing her wearing the white dress she wore on the night of her alleged rape on March 23 that year.

A photograph of Brittany Higgins and Senator Linda Reynolds taken on Might 16, 2019, exhibiting her carrying the white gown she wore on the night time of her alleged rape on March 23 that 12 months.

Whybrow stated on Friday that neither of the chief protagonists within the case had stated of their proof that they went again to Parliament Home for any sort of “amorous exercise”. He stated that even when they went again to the workplace with that intention it didn’t imply that it occurred.

He stated his submissions analyzing the proof “will hopefully trigger your honour to have the ability to confidently exclude that Mr Lehrmann raped Ms Higgins, and that Mr Lehrmann had intercourse in any respect with Ms Higgins”.

He conceded Ten’s barrister, Dr Matt Collins, KC, had “tied [Lehrmann] … in knots” and “undid him” when he cross-examined him about whether or not he purchased Higgins drinks at Canberra’s The Dock resort within the hours earlier than the alleged rape, however stated this didn’t translate to his consumer being a “compulsive liar”.

Whybrow alleged Higgins was not an correct or dependable historian and had “invented allegations”, whereas Ten alleged on Thursday that Lehrmann had been “revealed to be a essentially dishonest man”. Chrysanthou stated on Friday that Higgins had continued to see a rape counsellor “on and off” for 2 years, which was inconsistent along with her fabricating the allegation.

Higgins’ state of undress

Requested by Lee what he was to make of the truth that Higgins was discovered bare within the workplace hours after Lehrmann had left, Whybrow stated it was a “advanced matter” for the decide, and his consumer’s proof was that he didn’t find out about that and had not checked on her earlier than he left the workplace.

It was doubtlessly in keeping with a variety of eventualities, Whybrow stated, together with some type of intimacy or the expectation of it, or of Higgins feeling sick and eradicating her gown. He famous that Higgins had subsequently washed her gown, which might have eliminated what he described as a “lack” of proof.

He submitted it was incomprehensible that Higgins would put on the gown she wore on the night time she alleges she was raped by Lehrmann to a piece dinner on Might 16, 2019, six weeks after the alleged sexual assault, if that assault had occurred. Higgins gave proof that it was an try to “reclaim” the gown, and she or he by no means wore it once more.

‘As much as no good’

In a query the decide described as intentionally provocative, Lee famous Lehrmann’s girlfriend had known as him within the early hours of March 23, and requested: “Except he was as much as no good, why didn’t he ring his girlfriend?”

Whybrow replied that Lehrmann’s proof was that he had not seen the calls till later, and it was not essentially the case that one would name again at 2.30am.

‘Phoning a good friend’ e-mail

Throughout his closing handle, Whybrow pointed to an e-mail Higgins despatched Lehrmann on March 26, three days after the alleged assault, during which she requested for assist with a piece process and stated she was “phoning a good friend”.

Lee instructed it is perhaps “a tad simplistic” to counsel the e-mail was inconsistent with an assault having taken place. He stated examples have been “legion” of younger girls in skilled roles coping with extra senior males and needing to “navigate a really difficult path generally” to take care of a working relationship once they had been harassed or worse.

Whybrow agreed with these normal observations, however stated the e-mail needed to be seen “in a context”.

Sexual assault cost dropped

Lehrmann’s ACT Supreme Court docket trial for sexual assault was aborted final 12 months attributable to juror misconduct. The cost towards Lehrmann was later dropped altogether owing to considerations about Higgins’ psychological well being.

The lawsuit

Lehrmann is suing Ten and Wilkinson over an interview with Higgins, broadcast on The Challenge on February 15, 2021, that he alleges defames him by suggesting he’s responsible of raping Higgins in then defence trade minister Linda Reynolds’ workplace on March 23, 2019, once they have been each working as staffers to the Liberal senator.

Lehrmann not named

Lehrmann was not named in Ten’s interview. A preliminary situation within the case is whether or not he was recognized due to the main points supplied within the broadcast.

If the court docket finds Lehrmann was recognized within the interview, Ten and Wilkinson are in search of to depend on defences of reality and certified privilege.

The reality defence

Underneath the reality defence, Ten should show on the stability of possibilities that Lehrmann raped Higgins.

Whereas that is much less onerous than the legal customary of proof past affordable doubt, the so-called Briginshaw precept applies in civil circumstances involving critical allegations and requires courts to proceed cautiously in making grave findings.

Certified privilege

Certified privilege pertains to publications of public curiosity and requires a media outlet to indicate it acted fairly. Wilkinson’s proof was straight related to that defence.


Matthew Richardson, SC, appearing for Lehrmann, stated Lee couldn’t be glad the media outlet acted fairly, together with in relation to the period of time it gave to Lehrmann and political figures to answer Higgins’ allegations, and to place any responses to her earlier than this system aired.

Ex-chief of workers’s name to ASIO

Paperwork launched by the Federal Court docket on Thursday reveal that Fiona Brown, the previous chief of workers to Reynolds, instructed the court docket she contacted the ASIO director-general about Lehrmann after he accessed the parliamentary workplace after hours.

In an affidavit filed in Lehrmann’s defamation case, Brown, who was chief of workers to Reynolds in 2019, stated she understood Lehrmann was “eager for a promotion or allocation of ongoing duties which concerned ASIO and safety issues”.

However Brown stated that ASIO issues have been “not related to the Defence Business portfolio”.

She stated that when Lehrmann “learnt that the job supply within the Defence Business Minister’s workplace was going to be straight Parliamentary and Finances with some coverage, he indicated he was not fascinated by staying on and stated he wished to pursue alternatives in ASIO”.

“Sooner or later, Mr Lehrmann instructed me he’d had a job interview, or was pursuing work, with ASIO,” Brown stated.

The court docket has heard Lehrmann had determined to go away Reynolds’ workers for a brand new job when he was instructed on March 26, 2019, to pack up his issues after accessing the Parliament Home workplace after hours. His position was formally terminated on April 5 over the safety breach.

Fiona Brown, the former chief of staff to then defence industry minister Linda Reynolds, outside the Federal Court in Sydney on Tuesday.

Fiona Brown, the previous chief of workers to then defence trade minister Linda Reynolds, exterior the Federal Court docket in Sydney on Tuesday.Credit score: Steven Siewert

The court docket has heard Brown was suggested by the Division of Finance on March 26 that Lehrmann and Higgins had entered the workplace within the early hours of March 23, and Higgins had been discovered later by a safety guard bare and handed out.

Brown stated Lehrmann instructed her she got here again to the workplace to drink whisky.

“I requested ‘What else did you do while within the workplace?’ He stated ‘I don’t want to get into that’,” Brown stated in her affidavit.

She stated that she contacted the ASIO director-general on about March 27 and “knowledgeable him that the Minister had requested me to contact him about Bruce Lehrmann because it was our understanding that Mr Lehrmann was within the strategy of getting a job with ASIO”.

“Mr [Duncan] Lewis [the then ASIO director-general] instructed me he didn’t recall Mr Lehrmann and requested me to spell his identify. He suggested that he was not conscious of him being within the strategy of getting a job with ASIO.


“I instructed him that the Minister requested that he think about revocation of his safety clearance ought to Mr Lehrmann ever be in search of a job with ASIO. I subsequently knowledgeable the Minister of my dialog with the director-general.” Brown stated she instructed Lewis concerning the unauthorised after-hours workplace entry and an earlier incident in March during which Lehrmann had left a prime secret doc on his desk.

She stated in her affidavit that after the primary incident she was “beginning to type the opinion that Mr Lehrmann was too immature to carry such extremely categorised materials”.

Lee requested Whybrow on Friday what he was to make of “foolish lies” it appeared Lehrmann instructed, together with about ASIO, and whether or not it’d point out he was “detached to the reality or falsity” of what he stated. Whybrow replied that the identical is perhaps stated of Higgins.

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