Nope. Dropped to save face because it was doomed to failure

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57 Responses to Nope. Dropped to save face because it was doomed to failure

  1. C.L. says:

    The retrial of Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins is reportedly not going ahead, with charges against the accused expected to be dropped.

    In an announcement on Thursday, the office of ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold revealed that a short statement would be made outside the court on Friday – the same morning a secret application regarding the trial was due to be heard.

    News.com.au reported Mr Drumgold was expected to drop the charge against Mr Lehrmann after receiving medical evidence on how a second trial scheduled for February would impact Ms Higgins’ mental health.

    The evidence included psychiatric advice that the retrial would pose an unacceptable risk to Ms Higgins and her mental wellbeing.

    The office of the DPP confirmed in an email to media that Mr Drumgold would “make a media statement … regarding the matter of R v Lehrmann”.

    “Mr Drumgold will read a short pre-prepared statement and will not be taking questions,” the email read.

    The DPP did not respond to questions from The Australian on the nature of the media statement and whether the case would be withdrawn.

    ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum last week revealed a ­secret application regarding the criminal trial would be heard on December 2, with media dis­allowed from attending or reporting on the matter.

    Chief Justice McCallum said that non-publication orders had been made in respect of an application filed on November 22, forbidding publication of the content of the application and evidence intended to be given in support of the application.

    Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers were contacted for comment, and said they were waiting to hear the content of the DPP’s announcement themselves.

    Mr Lehrmann trial was aborted in October because of misconduct by a juror.

    Mr Lehrmann had pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual intercourse without consent.

    Chief Justice McCallum said one jury member had brought documents on sexual assault claims into the jury room, despite explicit instructions not to conduct research outside the trial.

    The case was rescheduled for February 20, with Mr Drumgold saying he intended to pursue the matter again.

    Less than a month after the trial was rescheduled, the Australian revealed the ACT government was rushing to amend its Evidence Act in a move suspected to be aimed at making it easier to retry Mr Lehrmann.

    The change of legislation would mean that testimony given by a complainant in court could be recorded and deemed admissible in a retrial, which would allow Ms Higgins’ previous evidence – ­delivered in person in October – to be used again and free her from ­attending court or facing another cross-examination by Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers.

    It is unclear whether such a bill could pass the ACT Legislative Assembly before the rescheduled trial began.

    Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins supported the law change this week, pointing to the “retraumatising” effect of making sexual assault complaints in court and in the workplace.

    After the trial was rescheduled, Ms Higgins made a statement outside court regarding her experience with the justice system.

    In response, Mr Lehrmann’s legal team referred her speech to the court and the Australian Federal Police over concerns that her statement could prejudice the ­future trial and might even be considered in contempt of court.

    ———————–

    Sarah Ison and Kristin Shorten in The Australian

  2. NFA says:

    A legal travesty.

  3. Petros says:

    She got used but probably doesn’t realise it. Can he sue for defamation?

  4. Buccaneer says:

    Is it possible that by dropping charges they avoid further scrutiny of her outburst?

  5. Entropy says:

    In a just world it should never have gone to trail.
    This way of course, the activists can claim the system has to be changed, in their mind it should be sufficient for a single accusation to merit conviction, and the presumption of innocence to be trashed.

  6. Syd Gal says:

    There seemed a political element from the beginning. The alleged incident in March 2019. The allegations made public in Feb 2021. The commentary about the “cover-up” by Ministers and staff in the Morrison govt. The police statement was made some time later but in the meantime there was celebrity media coverage. According to evidence in trial, Higgins and boyfriend were helped with “war gaming” and wanted the Wilkinson interview at the start of sitting week so it would get lots of airtime.

    According to Higgins boyfriend social media accounts, a Hawker Britton Director drafted text messages for him to ask Higgins out and was her “bodyguard” at the March4Justice attended by thousands and at the Higgins/Tame NPC speech. This director has been an advisor to J Gillard and D Andrews. Higgins’ allegation was the first sentence of her speech at the National Press Club. The ACT Court did not ask for that speech to be taken down, although a book with one chapter on the matter (all of which was still in the public domain) was suppressed.

    As Higgins’ cross examination was given in two parts, there was a suppression order in place so the public did not get news reports on the evidence from Parliament House staff and colleagues – only very brief repts a week later. And there were inconsistencies in Higgins’ evidence, eg out at lunch event when claimed to be having a traumatic episode. Trial reports also stated when she left the building, she texted an ex-boyfriend that she had been up to her usual “shenanigans” and texted a security guard to ask if “anyone had seen her”. And why did the ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner appear with Higgins each day of the trial? Do they provide this high level support for every complainant in a trial? So much for equal justice. The other support person was the HB director.

  7. Syd Gal says:

    ABC journos seem to be ignoring this story. No reference to the development by P Karvelas who conducted many interviews on the matter or by Samantha Maiden who got the Walkley Award for the story. Focus on The Voice and the Industrial Relations legislation passed this week.

  8. Franx says:

    And what can count politically is a frenzied process of persecuting the accused, high or low, while valorising an accuser – a process which can also be halted, at whim. As with Zoe Buhler, for one, that loner who was charged with intending to contravene the benevolent premier’s lockdowns yet had the charges withdrawn on the day of the hearing.

  9. Franx says:

    Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins supported the law change this week, pointing to the “retraumatising” effect of making sexual assault complaints in court and in the workplace.’

    It’s not only the accuser in this case who can be retraumatised but also the accused. And the accused no less than the accuser comes under the purview of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, unless the Commissioner has misunderstood her office in assuming that in this case only the woman, but not the man, can be discriminated against.

  10. Christine says:

    Was the complainant used? I don’t know
    She was brazen. I know that much.

  11. Syd Gal says:

    Channel 10 reading out statement by friend Emma Webster (the ALP lobbying person) saying BH in hospital receiving treatment. I think female politicians (Stegall and someone else) were obliquely but obviously referring to the case in Parliament over the last few days. I find it odd that there is not more support for the accused by the legal profession.

  12. C.L. says:

    Was the complainant used?

    Of course she was. At some point, she must have realised that the people willing her on would turn on her in an instant if she wavered.

  13. jupes says:

    The evidence included psychiatric advice that the retrial would pose an unacceptable risk to Ms Higgins and her mental wellbeing.

    A yes, mental health. The disease of people caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

  14. Syd Gal says:

    Greens issued statement quickly:

    Statement: Brittany Higgins

    2 December 2022

    Many victim-survivors of sexual, family and domestic violence describe the court process as horrific and retraumatising.

    The Greens support the work being done to identify problems with criminal justice responses to sexual violence and strengthen trauma-informed approaches and wrap-around services.

    In particular, we welcome the recent endorsement of the Work Plan to Strengthen Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault by all Attorneys-General and the commitment of the ACT government to make victim-surivors’ recorded testimony admissible.

    In light of the strength and resilience Brittany Higgins has shown and the change she has already driven to reform parliamentary culture, the Greens will push anew for this and other procedural protections to be rolled out nationally as a matter of urgency.

    To end Australia’s culture of sexual violence, harassment and abuse we must start by supporting victims to come forward, and dismantling power imbalances and gender stereotypes that deter them from doing so.

    At this time it is important to remember the toll that any sort of criminal proceedings take and the broader impact of intense coverage in deterring people from coming forward.

    This week the Senate established an inquiry into the ways that consent laws impact survivor experience of the justice system. We will be working through that inquiry to ensure survivors are supported to seek justice and start their recovery.

    Senator Larissa Waters
    Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

    If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

  15. Dr Faustus says:

    Drumgold opines:

    While announcing the retrial would not go ahead, Mr Drumgold said he still had “a clear view that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction”.

    “Whilst the pursuit of justice is essential for both my office and for the community in general, the safety of a complainant in a sexual assault matter must be paramount,” he said.

    “Before concluding, during the investigation and trial as a sexual assault complainant, Ms Higgins has faced a level of personal attack that I have not seen in over 20 years of doing this work.”

    He said Ms Higgins had done so “with bravery, grace and dignity”.

    “It is my hope that this will now stop and Ms Higgins will be allowed to heal”.

    So, for the ACT DPP, the essential “pursuit of justice” involves withdrawing the case, which had already not passed the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ test, while publicly praising the complainant and condemning the accused.

    A sort of second prize.
    Blackstone would have recognised the problem.

  16. Rafiki says:

    Statements that the complainant may or will be retraumatised by their giving evidence assert implicitly that the initial trauma was the sexual assault. As such, they are a subtle and insidious contempt of court, and should be condemned and prosecuted. Of course, this is unlikely to happen.

    It’s a good outcome for Lehrmann. His reputation, his health, and his employment prospects are damaged. He might be advised to forget about defamation and the years of the pain of litigation would cause.

    However, he may well have been convicted of rape, and suffered greatly in jail. He can write up his experience in a book that would sell well. Let us rejoice in this outcome.

  17. C.L. says:

    Statements that the complainant may or will be retraumatised by their giving evidence assert implicitly that the initial trauma was the sexual assault. As such, they are a subtle and insidious contempt of court…

    Yes. And by planning amendments to protect Higgins from being “re-traumatised,” the ACT legislature was also in contempt of court.

  18. Buccaneer says:

    How might one provide a demarcation between a person who is genuinely traumatised by re-prosecution of a case and those using that as an excuse to withdraw from an unwinnable position that might leave their reputation in tatters?

    One might observe that it’s unusual behaviour for victims of crime to call for assistance from the media well in advance of calling for assistance from the police…

    One might also be wary of victims leveraging their victimhood for valour or personal gain like perhaps the negotiation of a book deal.

    One might be wary of victims that encourage the use of their victimhood for political purposes.

  19. Buccaneer says:

    I wonder if Higgins were an ALP staffer how this story might have panned out. I feel like Kathy Sheriff might have a rather strong opinion about that?

  20. Lee says:

    In light of the strength and resilience Brittany Higgins has shown and the change she has already driven to reform parliamentary culture, the Greens will push anew for this and other procedural protections to be rolled out nationally as a matter of urgency.

    To end Australia’s culture of sexual violence, harassment and abuse we must start by supporting victims to come forward, and dismantling power imbalances and gender stereotypes that deter them from doing so.

    How is it that senators Larissa Waters and Sarah Hanson-Young are not in contempt of court?

  21. Rafiki says:

    Lee
    The law is that the trial judge is obliged to prevent the adduction of any evidence of what is said in parliament – whatever the purpose of the adduction. The law changed in the ACT in the wake of the Lionel Murphy trial, where the courts allowed such evidence adduced on a non-hearsay basis.

    A curiosity here is why, on the hand, Drumgold KC was promised legislation that would obviate Higgins giving evidence, yet on the other, withdrew the prosecution on the basis that she would have to give evidence. Perhaps there’s an explanation.

    On Catallaxy, CL noted that Drumgold’s action came just before Lehrmann was to seek some ruling in a closed court. Cosed courts breach the common law fair trial principle, and the Human Rights Act of the ACT. There may been good reasons to have a closed court, but now the trial is over it is hard to see what they are. But I suspect getting information will be opposed.

    But I suppose the ACT government will now wish to draw a line under this farce. In particular, there may be no contempt prosecutions.

  22. vlad redux says:

    I would hope his legal costs would now be met in full by the State.

  23. Wyndham Dix says:

    It is still all about Ms Higgins ne c’est pas?

    Entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise Mr Lehrmann is expendable, it seems. His prospects are poor and his reputation forever tainted.

    If he were alive today and looking into this case Diogenes of Sinope would be a busy man.

  24. Rockdoctor says:

    ACT legislature was also in contempt of court.

    Funny how those esteemed ones who are normally so thin skinned about their turf are silent now…

  25. Riversutra says:

    But I suppose the ACT government will now wish to draw a line under this farce.

    This is what happens when something that is a basically a local council gets delusions of grandeur.

  26. Buccaneer says:

    Local council would have a deeper talent pool, the act has basically descended into a one party state.

  27. vlad redux says:

    the act has basically descended into a one party state

    That’s what Victoria is; so why should the ACT be any different?!

  28. Boambee John says:

    Buccaneer and vlad

    Not quite a one-party state, the Liars needed a Slime MLA (Rattenbury) to get a majority.

  29. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “It’s a good outcome for Lehrmann. His reputation, his health, and his employment prospects are damaged. He might be advised to forget about defamation and the years of the pain of litigation would cause.”

    What planet are you on? Lehmann’s prospects are dismal, his reputation trashed. He should leave the country. As for forgetting about “defamation”, nup, he’s a young man who needs some legal redress for what has been done to him.

  30. Rafiki says:

    Cassie
    Did you miss the next sentence: “However, he may well have been convicted of rape, and suffered greatly in jail. He can write up his experience in a book that would sell well. Let us rejoice in this outcome.”

    The essence of the good outcome is that he is no longer at a significant risk of a rape conviction. we might think that the Crown case was weak, but would an ACT jury?
    A defamation suit could tie him up in expensive legal process for years. His best hope is to write a book.

  31. Jay says:

    A few random observations on this story.
    So the complainant was and is insane. Go figure.
    The case was stopped after the juror’s personal possessions were rifled through by an anonymous court activist.
    It wasn’t a case of juror misconduct as reported by legacy media, it was a case of judicial misconduct who insisted on hanging some bullshit case for 5 days deliberation. Then she collapsed the trial rather get a negative outcome.
    The complainant then expressed contempt of court.
    The ACT government then decides to change the rules so the insane complainant has a holiday while the accused is retried.
    The PP then realises too many were awake to their scam and drops the case, or at least for now.
    STINKS

  32. Buccaneer says:

    BJ, the slime are as much opposition as a hooker is for a sex addict.

  33. twostix says:

    A few random observations on this story.
    So the complainant was and is insane. Go figure.
    The case was stopped after the juror’s personal possessions were rifled through by an anonymous court activist.
    It wasn’t a case of juror misconduct as reported by legacy media, it was a case of judicial misconduct who insisted on hanging some bullshit case for 5 days deliberation. Then she collapsed the trial rather get a negative outcome.
    The complainant then expressed contempt of court.
    The ACT government then decides to change the rules so the insane complainant has a holiday while the accused is retried.
    The PP then realises too many were awake to their scam and drops the case, or at least for now.
    STINKS

    Brutal summary.

    This is modern ‘Straya’ under the new establishment class.

  34. C.L. says:

    Yep.

    That’s why I defended Morrison (who doesn’t ‘deserve’ it) over the ministries thing.
    Bell found that his actions were constitutional.
    Result: a Maoist condemnation in the House – the first of its kind in Australian history.

  35. NFA says:

    Result: a Maoist condemnation in the House – the first of its kind in Australian history.

    Gillard did a far better Maoist condemnation in the House of that despicable bloke looking at his watch that has gone around the world… several times.

  36. C.L. says:

    Janet Albrechtsen, Exclusive…

    Police doubted Brittany Higgins but case was ‘political’.

    The most senior police officer on the Brittany Higgins case believed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Bruce Lehrmann but could not stop the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions from proceeding because “there is too much political interference”, ­according to diary notes made by the ACT Police Manager of Criminal Investigations, Detective Superintendent Scott Moller.

    In a separate executive briefing last year, Superintendent Moller advised that investigators “have serious concerns in relation to the strength and reliability of [Ms Higgins’] evidence but also more importantly her mental health and how any future ­prosecution may affect her ­wellbeing”.

    On Friday the ACT DPP, Shane Drumgold SC, withdrew the charges against Mr Lehrmann, citing concerns for Ms Higgins’ mental health, so his retrial – set down for February – will no longer proceed. The original trial was aborted in October due to juror misconduct.

    The executive briefing lists a series of concerns by senior police, including that Ms Higgins had ­repeatedly refused to provide her original mobile phone; had ­deliberately deleted messages from a second phone; had lied about seeking medical attention after the incident; and had joked about wanting “a sex scandal” a month before the incident. Some became issues at the trial.

    The briefing, dated June 9, 2021, states that “there is limited corroborative evidence of sexual intercourse taking place or ­consent being withdrawn or not provided”.

    An attached minute signed by Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman, the investigation manager assigned to the case, states: “Investigators at this juncture have a number of concerns ­regarding inconsistencies in disclosures and other evidence ­obtained during the investigation. In light of the issues identified, ­serious concerns exist as to whether there is sufficient ­evidence to prove the alleged ­offence.”

    The documents obtained by The Weekend Australian also ­reveal that Ms Higgins texted boyfriend David Sharaz in May last year saying: “F..k it, if they want to play hard ball I’ll cry on The Project again because of this sort of treatment.”

    None of the texts or the police doubts about the case were ­revealed to the jury.

    Superintendent Moller made notes of a conversation with his boss, ACT Deputy Chief Police Officer Michael Chew, on June 17 last year while discussing Operation Covina – the Higgins/Lehrmann sexual assault case.

    At that point in the investigation, The Weekend Australian understands, more than half of the witness list had yet to be interviewed by police, but it appears the DPP, led by Mr Drumgold, had ­already decided to prosecute.

    In the diary note, Superintendent Moller wrote: “Insufficient evidence to proceed.

    “DCPO [Mr Chew] advised he had a meeting with DPP who ­stated they will recommend ­prosecution. DCPO stated ‘if it was my choice I wouldn’t proceed. But it’s not my choice. There is too much political interference’. I said: ‘That’s disappointing given I think there is insufficient evidence’.”

    The following day Superintendent Moller forwarded a copy of the interim brief of evidence to Commander Andrew Smith to conduct an independent review of the investigation. The result of that review is not known.

    Ms Higgins first spoke to police on April 1, 2019, a week after the events at Parliament House, but informed them two weeks later she did not wish to continue with the allegations. On February 5, 2021, she re-engaged with police, telling them she had been interviewed by the media and didn’t want to do an evidence-in-chief interview until her interview with The Project host Lisa Wilkinson had aired on television.

    The following day “police ­advised Ms Higgins the intended media events … may jeopardise any subsequent criminal investigation; however Ms Higgins made it clear to police she was not willing to provide investigators with a formal statement in relation to the allegations until the media stories had been published. Ms Higgins stated that she wanted to ensure the sexual assault investigation was ‘active’ in anticipation of the media events.”

    The TV program aired on February 15 and Ms Higgins sat down with police for her evidence-in-chief interview nine days later.

    At that interview investigators reiterated to her the need to examine her mobile phone for potential evidence. “Ms Higgins refused to hand over her phone despite being explained the evidential value of the process,” the police report says.

    The AFP statement of facts prepared by Superintendent Moller reflects police frustration over difficulties in obtaining Ms Higgins’ mobile phone after the interview to extract data.

    On March 15, when police had arranged for a second time to meet Ms Higgins to obtain the phone, she failed to turn up or to respond to calls. “During the afternoon on the same date police observed Ms Higgins on commercial television at the March4Justice march at Parliament House,” Superintendent Moller wrote.

    “She attended the location and gave a speech to the persons ­present.”

    On May 5, 2021, Superintendent Moller was informed that ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates had advised that any contact with Ms Higgins was now to go to her rather than directly to Ms Higgins.

    Three weeks later, Superintendent Moller and other detectives met Ms Higgins, who was accompanied by Ms Yates, at the Winchester Police Centre in Canberra, where she gave a second ­interview.

    “During this conversation I stressed to Ms Higgins the importance of refraining from participating in any media interviews in relation to this matter,” Superintendent Moller says in his police statement.

    On this occasion Ms Higgins handed over a mobile phone.

    Police recovered a text ­exchange between Ms Higgins and former boyfriend Ben ­Dillaway dated February 7, 2019, six weeks before the alleged rape, in which the pair joked about wanting a political sex scandal.

    “The bar for what counts as a political sex scandal nowadays is REALLY low,” Ms Higgins wrote.

    “I want a sex scandal I can be like whoa. Impressive. Didn’t think he had it in him,” Mr Dillaway wrote.

    “Exactly! A sex scandal the party can be proud of. Another Barnaby but without the baby haha,” Ms Higgins responded.

    On July 12 last year Superintendent Moller again met Ms Higgins and Ms Yates, this time at AFP headquarters in Brisbane to update her on the investigation.

    “Ms Higgins advised that any photos taken on the night of the incident were saved on her Google drive attached to her iCloud but she could not recall taking any photos.

    “Ms Higgins advised (of) the photo of an injury to her leg she took herself on WhatsApp during budget week, however she could not recall the exact date. Ms Higgins advised she shared this photo with The Project on 19 January 2021.

    “Ms Higgins advised she had seven iPhones since 2019, most had been supplied by the government as part of her work and they had been returned when she changed jobs, however Ms Higgins was happy for police to take the old phones she had.”

    During the conversation Superintendent Moller showed Ms Higgins text messages ­between herself and Mr Sharaz on May 21, 2021 about her sending him an audio file because she was “clearing out her phone ahead of the police”.

    “Ms Higgins told me that the files she had sent to David Sharaz and deleted from her phone related to taped conversations of her talking to various ministers and she was concerned she had committed an offence by taping the ministers so she didn’t want the police to find them.”

    Ms Yates returned later that day and handed over two iPhones from Ms Higgins.

  37. C.L. says:

    Janet Albrechtsen’s second commentary piece is a tour de force:

    Too many reasons why DPP should never have prosecuted Bruce Lehrmann.

    The decision by ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold to withdraw the sexual assault charge against Bruce Lehrmann due to the mental health of Brittany Higgins is too late and too little.

    In that order. Too late because the DPP should have decided not to prosecute Lehrmann in the first place. Too little because Drumgold should have made that earlier decision for two reasons: the inconsistency and lack of evidence, and the mental health of Higgins.

    After all, as revealed on Saturday by The Weekend Australian, the most senior Australian Federal Police officers involved in the investigation gave precisely those reasons in a report and in a conversation with the DPP explaining their view there should never have been a prosecution at all.

    An AFP executive briefing authored by Detective Superintendent Scott Moller and Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman, and dated June 9, 2021, raised a series of inconsistencies and difficulties with Higgins’s evidence and concluded that their investigation “identified a number of potential evidentiary and psychological issues that may affect any future prosecution”.

    The Weekend Australian also has obtained copies of diary entries by Moller that reported a conversation between the most senior police officer involved in the Higgins investigation, DCPO Michael Chew, and the DPP. After learning the DPP planned to prosecute Lehrmann, in his diary entry Moller recorded Chew as saying “if it was my choice I wouldn’t proceed. But it [is] not my choice. There is too much political interference”. Moller’s response is recorded in the same diary note: “That’s disappointing given I think there is insufficient evidence.”

    The DPP chose to ignore the views and advice of the AFP after its investigation into the allegations by Higgins. As reported by The Weekend Australian on Saturday, police concerns about a prosecution were laid out in detail in Moller’s briefing. This AFP document became a legal tug of war, its contents hidden from the public and deemed irrelevant for the jury. It was not disclosed to the defence; instead it had to be subpoenaed.

    These revelations raise serious questions about the administration of justice. Given the AFP advice and the real potential for the zealotry of the #MeToo media to influence members of a jury, why did the DPP choose to prosecute Lehrmann? Was Drumgold influenced by the same forces?

    The aborted trial confirmed the serious inconsistencies in Higgins’s evidence. These included claims about what she did with the dress she wore the night of the alleged rape; about whether she or her boyfriend, David Sharaz, forwarded a dossier about the allegation to journalists before she went to police; inconsistent evidence about bruises to her leg and about the fact she had deleted material from her phone, including texts she sent to a Parliament House security guard the morning after the alleged rape. In the end, there was no forensic evidence of a rape. There was no objective evidence that sex happened, consensual or otherwise.

    The AFP material and the way the case proceeded raise serious questions about the DPP’s judgment. Not merely that Drumgold began this case against strong police advice in the first place but about the fact that even now, in his Friday statement, his aim seemed to be to protect Higgins from further public scrutiny, which invariably includes criticism. Drumgold’s focus on the bravery of Higgins, when there has been no finding of guilt, is especially troubling. Higgins’s allegation remains just that – an allegation.

    Remember, Higgins could have proceeded with this trial minus the media attention. She has been subjected to public scrutiny because she chose to go to the media before she gave police a formal record of interview. She chose to give evidence in court rather than in a remote witness room. Higgins courted publicity before the trial started, during the trial, and on the day the trial was aborted and since then.

    Indeed, the DPP should now be much more concerned about the way in which this untested allegation was initially and subsequently publicised, the media circus around it and its impact on whether Lehrmann could receive a fair trial. If Drumgold is not now looking seriously at contempt charges for those involved, we should ask more probing questions of the DPP’s judgment. If the DPP and courts do not draw a line in the sand to protect against the real possibility for the contamination of the justice system, and of juries, #MeToo media trials will continue to threaten a fair trial.

    One would have thought that an impartial prosecutor, mindful of the presumption of innocence, would at least have sought the same solicitude for Lehrmann, who also has suffered enormously throughout this ordeal. Where was Drumgold’s plea for attacks on Lehrmann to be brought to an end?

    If a DPP, as an officer of the court, does not defend the presumption of innocence, especially when they choose not to re-prosecute a defendant, how can we expect others, who are not legally trained, to understand that our criminal justice system is the last bulwark against injustices in our society?

    The AFP material raises one further serious matter. The AFP diary note mentions “political interference” in this case. While we do not know what that interference was, or from where it came, any political interference in prosecution decisions is fundamentally repugnant to the rule of law. The DPP should either confirm there was none or tell us about it in detail.

    The DPP’s decision on Friday not to re-try Lehrmann is the right decision. But questions remain. And it is a shame that Drumgold didn’t make the right decision earlier before so much damage was done to the lives of two young people at the centre of this tawdry episode.

  38. Syd Gal says:

    It is quite telling to read Higgins texted the ex-boyfriend (also a staffer) to say she was looking for a sex-scandal the Party could be proud of 6 weeks before the alleged incident.

    It came out at trial that the current boyfriend had connections with Katy Gallagher and so could get the story discussed in Parliament. Also that BH, as a media advisor, knew the best time to do the L Wilkinson interview for maximum coverage was the start of sitting week. Then there was the very strange episode of P Wong and K Gallagher bullying L Reynolds in the Senate Community Affairs Legislative Committee where Reynolds said one of their Senators (presumably K Kitching) had told her “what they were intending to do with the story in her office”. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2021/jun/07/linda-reynolds-claims-she-was-hospitalised-by-labors-questions-about-brittany-higgins-case-video

    So was Emma Webster, Director of Hawker Britton, brought in to manage things? She was previously advising D Andrews before her appointment to HB Aug 2021. According to BH and the boyfriend’s social media posts, EW drafted text messages so he could ask BH out, and she jumped in her car and drove from Melb to Canberra to be Brittany’s ‘bodyguard’ at March4Justice (where Albanese, Marles, Wong, Keneally, Plibersek were photographed as a group supporting the women protesters), and even hemmed BH’s trousers for the National Press Club event. EW was pictured with BH each day at the trial and issued the statement on Friday re BH’s hospital treatment.

    The reports now of mental health issues remind me of the deceased woman “Kate” in the Christian Porter story. Milligan was quick to tweet today that she never reported on the Higgins case. I guess she was too busy with Christian Porter and Alan Tudge matters on her Canberra Bubble TV Programs.

    According to a Daily Mail rept yesterday, the ACT judge was concerned the Lehrmann Police Interview transcript had been published by 2 media outlets but conceded it had been presented as an exhibit not a transcript and so could be published. It’s a very interesting 84 page read.

  39. Boambee John says:

    Buccaneer

    The Slime Rattenbury is a minister in the Liars/Slime government.

  40. Rafiki says:

    The feminist lobby in the ACT is a power of considerable force. It has grown steadily over the years as feminists have, through Labor in particular, have gained political office and appointment to the judiciary, statutory offices – in the human rights sector in particular – and senior positions in the universities and public service. They are quite ruthless and straight out dishonest at times. They tolerate men if they do what is wanted ( such as appoint and promote them well above their competence).

    I suspect that Shane Drumgold may have considered- probably subconsciously- that he had no choice but to prosecute Lehrmann. He is not an evil force here. I worked with him 20 or so years ago. He struck me as a decent and fair person. Yet, notwithstanding that Lehrmann came close to being convicted, he will be the patsy, or at least suffer his career being blighted for having failed to deliver.

    None of this is to undercut the terrible damage done to Lehrmann.

  41. Rabz says:

    In light of the strength and resilience Brittany Higgins has shown

    err, what? The greenfilth displaying yet again that they inhabit a bizarre parallel universe.

  42. Lee says:

    Remember, Higgins could have proceeded with this trial minus the media attention. She has been subjected to public scrutiny because she chose to go to the media before she gave police a formal record of interview. She chose to give evidence in court rather than in a remote witness room. Higgins courted publicity before the trial started, during the trial, and on the day the trial was aborted and since then.

    A classic case of wanting to have it both ways.

  43. Buccaneer says:

    Was the plan ever to win the court case or to create outrage?

  44. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “He is not an evil force here. I worked with him 20 or so years ago. He struck me as a decent and fair person. Yet, notwithstanding that Lehrmann came close to being convicted, he will be the patsy, or at least suffer his career being blighted for having failed to deliver.”

    Err what?

    Firstly, you don’t know what motives were behind Drumgold’s decisions. He’s never been shy about his progressive politics. Oh and by the wya, 20 years is a long time.

    Secondly, how do you know that “Lehrmann came close to being convicted“? Were you privy to what the now disbanded jury discussed? You don’t know.

    Thirdly, Drumgold, after his spiel yesterday, should be disciplined and disbarred. He won’t be, and he’ll continue to prosper.

    Finally, BRUCE LEHMANN IS THE VICTIM HERE.

  45. Wyndham Dix says:

    Rafiki: 3 December, 2022 at 7:47 am

    The feminist lobby in the ACT is a power of considerable force. It has grown steadily over the years as feminists have, through Labor in particular, have gained political office and appointment to the judiciary, statutory offices – in the human rights sector in particular – and senior positions in the universities and public service. They are quite ruthless and straight out dishonest at times.

    Words with much wider application and fit for the epitaph of this calumnious age which will eventually collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. It will reach its own fin de siècle. That which lies on the other side none of us is gifted to know, except that it will not be pretty for the autocentric.

  46. NFA says:

    Mr Albanese was asked whether there would be a review into how sexual assault allegations are handled.

    Mandatory public whipping of any and all politicians making comment will be a good start.

  47. Old School Conservative says:

    So that’s now two Prime Ministers who have fully supported Higgins, not the accused nor the rule of law and the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
    No need for a trial then – Lehrmann is guilty.
    Bastards.

  48. Texas Jack says:

    Might be time to watch/rewatch The Mercy, and join the dots to Drumgold’s latest declarations. The swamp has another victim. Vale impartiality.

  49. Geoffrey Williams says:

    Britt Higgs story does not convince me that she is being honest with the truth;
    Got herself drunk woke up next morning knowing she had made a fool of herself and was in deep trouble with her employers. Defect the blame at all costs.
    A failed actress if you ask me.

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