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Bruce Lehrmann settles with ABC; Continues suit against THE PROJECT

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This case was initiated over a speech at the 2022 National Press Club by Brittany Higgins, another former Liberal staffer. It’s important to note that the terms of this settlement are confidential and there has been no admission of liability, as per the ABC’s statement.

The controversy centers on allegations that Lehrmann sexually assaulted Higgins in Parliament House. These allegations, which Lehrmann has consistently denied, became a subject of national attention after a criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court was derailed due to juror misconduct, and a subsequent retrial was dropped due to concerns for Higgins’s health.

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Despite settling with the ABC, Lehrmann is continuing his legal actions against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson, the former host of The Project. The heart of the matter is an interview conducted in February 2021, where Higgins claimed she was raped in the office of then-defence minister Linda Reynolds.

Although Lehrmann was not named in the interview, he contends that the details provided made him identifiable to many.

Described as a “de facto rape trial”, the suit against Network Ten and Wilkinson is based on Lehrmann’s demand for $235,000 in damages, an apology, and the removal of the stories he alleges defamed him. The network’s defense will focus on proving the truth of the allegations and will also argue for qualified privilege, asserting a duty to publish the matters in question.

Representing Wilkinson is Sue Chrysanthou SC, who will uphold her client’s professional integrity and role in the interview. Concurrently, Wilkinson has initiated legal proceedings against Ten for not covering her legal expenses.

The trial’s initial moments were marked by Ten’s lawyer announcing ABC’s settlement with Lehrmann, leading to a request for the trial’s postponement. However, the case against Ten and Wilkinson is proceeding, with Higgins expected to testify.

In court, Lehrmann’s barrister, Matthew Richardson SC, labelled Network Ten and Wilkinson as his client’s “most prominent accusers”. Richardson emphasized the severe impact of the defamation on Lehrmann, stating,

“Our client comes here seeking vindication for the defamation that has utterly destroyed him.”

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He highlighted the interview on The Project as particularly damaging, asserting,

The publication that seared this allegation of rape into the national consciousness was the TV interview.”

Richardson acknowledged the challenge in convincing everyone of Lehrmann’s innocence but expressed hope to sway those with less rigid views. He also detailed how the specifics shared in the story, such as the alleged perpetrator’s association with Senator Linda Reynolds and attendance at a function the night before the alleged assault, led many to identify Lehrmann.

The case continues


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Kevin Perry
Kevin Perryhttps://tvblackbox.com.au/author-kevin-perry/
Senior Editor and Co-Owner of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. Media enquiries please Call or Text 0428-275-111


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