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Bruce Lehrmann accuses prosecutor of misconduct

The man accused of raping Brittany Higgins in Parliament House says the ACT director of public prosecutions failed to give him a fair trial.

Photo: AAP/Dean Lewins

Photo: AAP/Dean Lewins

Bruce Lehrmann faced trial for the alleged rape of Higgins before proceedings were aborted due to juror misconduct. A new trial was scheduled but cancelled due to concerns for Higgins’ health.

Lehrmann has always maintained his innocence, saying no sexual interactions occurred between the pair.

The former Liberal Party staffer lodged a formal complaint against prosecutor Shane Drumgold that alleged he was driven by “political interests”.

An inquiry, headed by former Queensland solicitor-general Walter Sofronoff, has already been launched into how police and prosecutors handled the investigation and court proceedings.

Lehrmann’s complaint was sent to the president of the ACT Bar Association in December and accused Drumgold of professional misconduct for “pursuing the matter through the media”.

“His public behaviour continues to smear my name and the presumption of innocence that is a cornerstone of our justice system and that demands him to uphold,” the complaint said.

Lehrmann also accused the director of being “bolstered by political interests”.

He said the DPP had undermined the presumption of innocence and the entitlement to equality before the law.

“I contend that the director repeatedly and frequently did not fulfil the prosecutorial obligation to ensure a fair trial,” Lehrmann wrote.

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He also accused the DPP of failing to instruct Higgins of the prejudicial impacts public statements would have on his trial.

Lehrmann singled out six specific high-profile media engagements, including Higgins’ interview on The Project, her National Press Club address and her women’s march speech.

“The director indicated it was not his place to tell her what to do or say in the media,” he said of a phone call between Drumgold and his former defence counsel John Korn ahead of the NPC address.

“The prosecutor failed to obtain take-down orders and/or take any reasonable steps to remove from circulation in the community, hard copy or internet publication of high-profile material.”

Drumgold has separately claimed police pressured him to abandon the trial, raising concerns about political and police conduct in the case.

But the police union brushed off the allegations and said Drumgold’s office had compromised the trial.

The board of inquiry will report to the ACT chief minister by June 30.

-with AAP

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