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Bruce Lehrmann returns to stand to deny rape claim

Continuing to deny claims he sexually assaulted Brittany Higgins on a minister’s couch, Bruce Lehrmann will face a third day of cross-examination as he sues for defamation.

Photo: Bianca di Marchi/AAP

Photo: Bianca di Marchi/AAP

Lehrmann has sued Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson in the Federal Court over a February 2021 report on The Project in which Higgins was interviewed about the alleged rape.

Lehrmann has denied any sexual contact or intimacy between himself and Higgins during drinks on Friday March 22, 2019 and in the early hours of the following day when the two attended Parliament House.

Higgins alleges the sexual assault occurred while she was unconscious or semi-conscious in the office of their boss, then defence industry minister Linda Reynolds.

On multiple occasions under questioning by his own barrister Steven Whybrow SC or Ten’s barrister Matthew Collins KC, Lehrmann has insisted nothing happened between himself and Higgins that night apart from him engaging in “very minimal” flirtation at a nightclub.

On Monday, he will continue to face a significant attack on his credit by Collins.

On Friday, Collins grilled the former tobacco lobbyist over claimed inconsistencies in his evidence to the court compared with what he said to either the federal police or to Channel Seven during an interview for Spotlight.

Lehrmann has settled separate defamation proceedings against News.com.au and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation over their reports about Higgins’ allegations.

The criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court over Higgins’ alleged rape was derailed by juror misconduct and prosecutors did not seek a second trial because of concerns over her mental health.

A landmark report into the ACT legal system and the Higgins case was released in August, making damning findings against now ex-director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold over his conduct during the case.

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Lehrmann has separately been accused of raping another woman twice in Toowoomba in October 2021.

He has yet to enter a plea in that case, but his lawyers have indicated that he denies the charges.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

– AAP

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