Alleged rape in Australia in Parliament house. Media went full venom on the accused immediately:
"Lehrmann was accused of raping Higgins in the office of their then-boss Linda Reynolds in Parliament House in the early hours of March 23, 2019. He faced one charge of sexual intercourse without consent.
He has always maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty at the first trial, which was cut short in October after 12 days of hearing evidence and submissions in the ACT Supreme Court and five days of deliberations, because of juror misconduct.
Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said at the time that she had disbanded the jury after learning one member had undertaken their own research, which they brought into the jury room.
The juror misconduct was discovered during routine tidying of the jury room by three sheriff’s officers, with one of the officers accidentally bumping a juror’s document folder onto the floor and then noticing part of the title page of an academic research paper which suggested the topic of the paper might be sexual assault.
McCallum described it as an “unexpected and unfortunate outcome” to the three-week trial, and said: “It is beyond question that the conduct of the juror is such as to abort the trial. It may be that no harm has been done, but it’s not a risk I can take.”
The second trial had been pencilled in for early in 2023."
The concern over Higgins’ health, backed by independent medical experts, is reportedly central to the decision not to proceed.
Drumgold will reportedly state that the decision not to proceed with the trial has been taken because it is not in the public interest.
Higgins has been grilled by Whybrow about what she did with the white cocktail dress after the alleged rape.
“It stayed under my bed unwashed for a period of time,” she said.
“I was wrong (about how long it was there)
“I made a mistake. I was not trying to do anything. I was just wrong.”
Whybrow pointed out that Higgins took the dress with her to Perth on April 13 – less than three weeks after the alleged assault.
Whybrow showed Higgins photos she had taken on her phone of herself wearing that dress at the Pan Pacific.
“And you sent that photo to Mr Dillaway that night didn’t you?,” he asked.
“Yes I did,” she responded.
He asked why she had taken the dress to Perth?
“Honestly I think I was reclaiming my agency,” she said.
“It felt like this moment and I wanted to reclaim my agency.”
Whybrow said her evidence this afternoon “sounds completely inconsistent with your evidence before lunch”.
“I left it under my bed for a period of time and I was wrong about that time,” she said.
Day three of Bruce Lehrmann’s rape trial also heard that Ms Higgins gave two media interviews – including a six-hour tell-all with The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson – before approaching police with her complaint.
The former staffer admitted she made incorrect statements on how much time had passed before she wore again the white cocktail dress she had on the night of the alleged rape.
Ms Higgins had said she kept the dress under her bed in a plastic bag for six months but was shown a photo of her wearing it on May 15, about eight weeks after the alleged assault.
The court has heard that at the time Ms Higgins claims she was in the toilet at work having a panic attack for three hours, she was actually at a valedictory lunch for former Liberal MP Steven Ciobo with her former boyfriend Ben Dillaway. Asked when the panic attack had happened, Ms Higgins could not recall.
She also conceded that a photo that purportedly showed a bruise on her left leg, which she earlier said was caused when Mr Lehrmann pinned her left thigh down with his knee on the outside edge of a couch, was actually of her right leg.
The court heard a snippet of audio from a January 27 meeting between Ms Higgins, Wilkinson and her boyfriend David Sharaz.
In the audio, Mr Sharaz is heard saying the couple wanted the story to drop on February 15, 2021, because it was the start of a parliamentary sitting week.
“It’s a sitting week when we want the story to come out,” Mr Sharaz can be heard telling Wilkinson and her producer.
Ms Higgins said journalist Peter FitzSimons approached her at an event and told her she should write a book about her experience and that he could act as her agent.
“I felt like I needed to document my experience … It was a strange, full circle moment when that came to fruition,” she said on Friday.
Ms Higgins confirmed the deal she eventually secured was worth more than $320,000.
- Note the book deal was done prior to going to the police…