ABC sued over Higgins and Tame press membership tackle

The ABC is being sued over the Nationwide Press Membership tackle by Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

By Kat Wong and Miklos Bolza in Sydney

FORMER Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann has hit the ABC with a defamation lawsuit greater than a 12 months after it aired Brittany Higgins’ speech about violence towards girls.

The litigation is a part of Mr Lehrmann’s persevering with assault towards media reporting of Ms Higgins’ rape claims.

On Wednesday, he filed the case within the Federal Courtroom towards the Australian Broadcasting Company, nearly two months after he hit Channel Ten and Information Life Media, the agency behind, with related lawsuits.

The case towards the ABC pertains to a joint tackle by Ms Higgins and former Australian of the 12 months Grace Tame on the Nationwide Press Membership, which was aired by the broadcaster in February 2022.

Through the speech, Ms Higgins talked about the night time she was allegedly assaulted.

Although the tackle by no means refers to Mr Lehrmann by identify, his attorneys declare the speech defamed him by inviting readers to take a position concerning the identification of the particular person accused.

The case makes three separate complaints aimed on the totally different channels that aired the speech: the ABC Youtube, ABC Information 24 and the principle ABC channel.

Cumulatively, the three channels garnered nearly 300,000 views.

By airing the speech reside on tv, the ABC couldn’t take away any defamatory statements earlier than publication, Mr Lehrmann’s attorneys said in court docket paperwork.

Doing this whereas his prison trial over the identical allegation was pending triggered “severe hurt to the status of the applicant”.

See also  Rape trial dropped over 'unacceptable' threat to Higgins

Additionally they argued the ABC was “recklessly detached to the reality or falsity” of the declare by airing the speech reside with out giving Mr Lehrmann an opportunity to reply.

The matter will face a primary case administration listening to on April 28.

Ms Higgins accused Mr Lehrmann of raping her contained in the Parliament Home workplace of then minister Linda Reynolds, who they each labored for in March 2019.

He denies the allegation, sustaining the pair by no means had any sexual interplay.

A prison trial introduced towards Mr Lehrmann within the ACT Supreme Courtroom was derailed in October due to juror misconduct. In December, the prosecutor dropped the fees on account of impacts a second trial would have on Ms Higgins’ psychological well being.

The regulation scholar’s instances towards Ten and Information relate to reviews in February 2021 on The Undertaking and

Former host of The Undertaking, Lisa Wilkinson, and political editor, Samantha Maiden, are each named within the lawsuits.

The media companies and Ms Wilkinson are attempting to close the instances down, arguing they have been filed exterior of a 12-month window usually required for defamation fits.

Mr Lehrmann argues he couldn’t have filed the instances sooner due to the prison prices, authorized recommendation and for psychological well being causes.

Sydney regulation agency Mark O’Brien Authorized is representing him in all three defamation proceedings.

The ABC has declined to remark.