Case involving the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins concludes with a significant verdict.
The judge presiding over the alleged rape of former Liberal worker Brittany Higgins has rendered a monumental ruling.
The trial of the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins has been postponed due to Lisa Wilkinson’s “amazing” Logies acceptance speech.
At 2019, Bruce Lehrmann pled not guilty to sexually assaulting Ms. Higgins in Parliament House.
On Monday, June 27, he was scheduled to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.
Following the controversy surrounding Ms. Wilkinson’s statement, Mr. Lehrmann’s attorneys filed a motion for a stay to delay the trial.
Tuesday, defense attorney Steve Whybrow told the court, “Your honor, this statement was unnecessary.”
In making her ruling, ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum stated, “with clenched teeth,” that the trial date must be vacated.
“Unfortunately, however, the current publicity does, in my opinion, alter the environment due to its immediacy, its intensity, and its propensity to obliterate the line between an allegation that has not yet been tested in court,” she said.
Justice McCallam stated that she desired the trial to be heard this year, but that she was “unable to predict” when it could begin.
Previously, Justice McCallum stated that she had erred by not restricting publishing surrounding the case.
She criticized the media for its coverage of Ms Wilkinson’s speech and an interview with Jonsey & Amanda and cautioned that the line between accusation and guilt had been “erased.”
She told the court, “I believed the press… you were correct and I was wrong.”
According to the defense attorney, there was worry that Ms. Wilkinson’s address so close to the trial would affect the jury’s impartiality.
“What worries me the most about this most recent round is that the boundary between an allegation and a finding of guilt has been erased in the discussion on Sunday and Monday,” remarked Justice McCallum.
“The implicit premise of (Lisa Wilkinson’s speech) is to honor the veracity of the story she revealed.”
She also expressed uneasiness with the “seamless omission” of the accounts of Grace Tame, whose abuser was convicted and sentenced to jail, and Ms. Higgins, whose claim had not yet been challenged in a criminal prosecution.
“Ms. Higgins is treated as a member of the same group. She isn’t.”
“It may just be a temporal difference, yet she can speak identically to Grace Tame. However, her claim does not yet fall under this group.”
The court also learned that Ms. Wilkinson would testify throughout the trial.
Director of Public Prosecutions for the ACT, Shane Drumgold, described Ms. Wilkinson’s address as “emotional regurgitation” and a minor deviation from her earlier statements.
“Mighty excellent journalism includes considering the implications of your reporting on criminal proceedings and including the crucial word alleged,” Justice McCallum replied.
Mr. Drumgold claimed that the trial did not need to be postponed because the jury could be instructed to disregard her words and the surrounding media coverage.
A new trial date has yet to be determined.