Brittany Higgins addresses accused in Parliament House rape trial

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has finished giving evidence in the rape trial of her former colleague after directly addressing him in court for the first time.

Oct 14, 2022, updated Oct 14, 2022
Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

Bruce Lehrmann is being tried by the ACT Supreme Court, charged with sexual intercourse without consent.

He has pleaded not guilty and denies having any sexual interaction with Higgins.

During an emotional cross-examination after four days of questions, Higgins directly addressed Lehrmann, telling him “nothing was fine” after the alleged assault.

“Nothing was fine after what you did to me, nothing,” she said.

Defence lawyer Steven Whybrow put to Higgins that she did not see Lehrmann inside then defence industry minister Linda Reynold’s office and she was not sexually assaulted by him.

“He was in there. He was physically violating me. He was in my body. I know,” she said.

Whybrow also put to Higgins she fabricated her rape allegation because she was concerned she would lose her job as a Liberal Party staffer.

“I’m not a monster, I would never do something like that,” she told the court.

“You are asserting that I did this because I wanted to keep my job. I cared about my job but I would never do something like that.”

Earlier in the week, the court heard Lehrmann told police Higgins indicated she also needed to return to Parliament House that night.

Higgins rejected this suggestion on Friday, saying there was no reason for her to return to parliament in the early hours of Saturday morning in March 2019.

During re-examination by prosecutor Shane Drumgold, Higgins told the court she had reopened her police complaint and spoken to media to address two separate issues.

She said the purpose of reopening her complaint was to go through the justice system with her rape allegation.

But she went to the media to expose the “rife” cultural issues in Parliament House.

“There are a dozen stories like mine,” she said.

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Higgins has previously told the court she and Lehrmann returned to Parliament House after a night out drinking with colleagues.

The former Liberal Party staffer said she fell asleep on the couch and woke up to Lehrmann having sex with her.

Drumgold asked Higgins to clarify if she was fearful of losing her job because she had returned to Parliament House late at night.

She said she feared reporting the alleged assault to police in case it subsequently leaked to the media ahead of the 2019 federal election.

The trial was initially anticipated to run for between four and six weeks but could now be over in half that time.

Reynolds is due to give evidence in court on Tuesday.

Senator Michaelia Cash is also expected to be in the witness box early next week before the Crown closes its case.

The trial continues on Monday.

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