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Old 05-12-23, 03:44   #4
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Update re: Bruce Lehrmann, Accused of RAPE Settles ONE Defamation Claim-$295,000

Bruce Lehrmann Defamation Trial LIVE: Brittany Higgins Returns to Witness Stand to Face Cross-Examination

The Guardian Australia 5 DEC 2023







What Higgins Has Said So Far Today

Brittany Higgins returned to the witness box today for her fourth full day of testimony.

Just a reminder: Bruce Lehrmann is suing Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson in the federal court over an interview with Higgins on Ten’s The Project in which she alleged she was raped by a Liberal staffer in Parliament House. Network Ten and Wilkinson are defending the case and Higgins is a witness for the defence.



Lehrmann had pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent, denying that any sexual activity had occurred in the criminal trial which was aborted due to juror misconduct.

Here’s what Higgins said under cross-examination this morning in the defamation case:

Lehrmann’s silk Steve Whybrow put to Higgins that she was concerned about her job and not because she was was sexually assaulted by Lehrmann. Higgins responded that “two things can be true”. “I was sexually assaulted, but I was still concerned about my job and I was starting to disclose the severity of the situation,” she told the court;

Whybrow challenged Higgins over her account of the alleged rape in senator Linda Reynolds’ suite. He suggested to her that she took off her dress and then lay down on the couch as she was feeling sick. Higgins said she didn’t know how she got to the couch or “how or exactly where” her dress ended up;

Whybrow also suggested to Higgins that she was not really drunk as she entered Parliament House on the night of the alleged rape. “Are you kidding?” Higgins said through tears. “I hadn’t been raped yet but I was skipping in the middle of parliament with no shoes on so it indicates someone is pretty drunk, yes”;

Higgins agreed her Bumble date may have left early from The Dock hotel on the night of the alleged rape because she ignored him, rather than because he was “mercilessly bullied” by others as Higgins had previously said. “When I was there, he was made fun of. But yes, in hindsight, I was very rude to my date and he left because I was rude to my date,” she said in court;

Whybrow read out a message Higgins sent to a former colleague, Liberal staffer Lauren Gain, who was with her on the night of the alleged rape. “Bruce ended up taking me back to Parliament House. I passed out in the office and when I woke up he was sexually assaulting me,” Higgins wrote in the message;

Higgins said she deleted some conversations on her phone that “triggered her” but denied deliberately deleting messages before handing her phone to police. “Between having five phones in five years and not having the one iCloud account – I had a separate iCloud account for work – and data just got lost,” she said;

The judge also ruled Whybrow can cross examine Higgins on the proposition she made “false representations” about her health to prevent a retrial.
Higgins continued being cross-examined this afternoon.


35m ago13.58 AEDT

Whybrow: “I just want to put some propositions to you quickly before lunch about that first meeting with Fiona Brown.

“I suggest you said you didn’t remember accessing the office; that you’d been out and that you’d been drinking or you were drunk; or words to that effect.”

Higgins: “I definitely told her that I ended up back in the office but I didn’t know what time.”

Whybrow asked if Higgins remembers what she told Fiona Brown about the circumstances of her waking up in the minister’s suite.

Whybrow asked if she remembers telling Brown “when you woke up you were half naked”.

Whybrow: “Do you remember telling [Fiona Brown] that?”

Higgins: “I was never woken up by security guards per se. I remember them yelling into the office.”

Whybrow: “And it was at that point that she offered you or discussed with you the employee assistance program [EAP] about getting some counselling from what must have been a humiliating experience to wake up in the minister’s office, having passed out drinking?”

Higgins: “No, I was offered the EAP after I broke down because I had just disclosed I’d been raped.

Whybrow: “Well, I suggest you didn’t.”

Higgins: “That’s incorrect.”

37m ago21.56 EST

A warning for readers: this blog contains graphic details of allegations of sexual assault.

The court has taken an hour for a lunch break and will return at 2pm.

Before lunch, Bruce Lehrmann’s barrister Steve Whybrow cross-examined Brittany Higgins about when she disclosed to her friend Ben Dillaway that she had been sexually assaulted.

According to text messages read to the court, Higgins told Dillaway she was concerned about losing her job after she had a meeting with her chief of staff Fiona Brown. Brown met with both Lehrmann and Higgins after it was discovered they had entered Parliament House after hours.

Whybrow put it to Higgins that she was concerned about her job and not because she had been sexually assaulted by Lehrmann.

“Two things can be true,” Higgins said. “I was sexually assaulted, but I was still concerned about my job and I was starting to disclose the severity of the situation to Ben.

Whybrow: “You hadn’t said anything about being sexually assaulted to Fiona Brown, had you?”

Higgins: “I had. The first person I disclosed to was Fiona Brown. And then I started to disclose to people who I cared about, which was Ben, I would never have had the courage to do it otherwise.”

2h ago01.32 GMT

A warning for readers: this blog contains graphic details of allegations of sexual assault.

Brittany Higgins has listened to Bruce Lehrmann’s barrister’s proposition of what took place in Senator Linda Reynolds’ suite on the night of the alleged rape.

“I want to suggest that what happened is that you went into that office and you were feeling sick and lay down on the [minister’s] couch.”

Higgins: “I don’t know. After being on the [window] ledge the next thing I know was Bruce raping me on the couch. So I don’t know how I got to the couch.”

Whybrow: “ I suggest you took your dress off before you lay down on the couch.”

Higgins: I don’t know how or exactly where my dress ended up.

Whybrow played the court part of the audio from an interview Higgins gave to Samantha Maiden from news.com.au.

Whybrow: “According to what you told [Maiden] then you remember laying down on the minister’s couch?”

Higgins: “I was trying to get into the spot of when I was being raped. I was on the couch I was drunk and he was raping me.”

Updated at 01.32 GMT

‘Are you kidding?’: Higgins disagrees with Whybrow’s suggestion that she was not drunk entering Parliament House

Higgins has agreed with Lehrmann’s silk Steve Whybrow that she had been anxious “from the moment you first spoke to [chief of staff] Fiona Brown to see the footage of you entering Parliament House”.

Higgins:

Yeah, I was. I was always concerned about what Bruce would say if he said it was consensual sex. I was always scared about consent and how it appeared.

Whybrow:

You knew that whatever footage was held by Parliament House didn’t include inside the suite?

Higgins:

I had no idea. I’ve never seen a camera in the minister’s suite but I didn’t know.

Higgins is incredulous at the suggestion that she was not really drunk as she entered Parliament House with Bruce Lehrmann as seen on the CCTV cameras.

“Are you kidding?’” Higgins said through tears after Whybrow suggested she was not drunk because she walked in a straight line and did not fall over.

She said:
I hadn’t been raped yet but I was skipping in the middle of parliament with no shoes on so it indicates someone is pretty drunk, yes.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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