Lehrmann ‘convicted within the media’, inquiry hears

Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer Steven Whybrow SC rejected allegations of police interference within the case.

By Maeve Bannister in Canberra

BRUCE Lehrmann was convicted within the media earlier than his rape trial even began, his defence lawyer has advised an impartial inquiry.

However Steven Whybrow additionally believes a senior police officer who threatened to give up if Mr Lehrmann was discovered responsible was experiencing a “ethical trauma”.

Mr Whybrow was the second witness to offer proof to an inquiry into how the justice system dealt with rape allegations made by Mr Lehrmann’s former colleague Brittany Higgins.

He advised the inquiry he believed language used throughout sexual assault circumstances, the place individuals have been referred to in entrance of a jury as “the sufferer” reasonably than “the complainant”, was problematic.

“Phrases depend and that carries with it an implied suggestion that what’s being alleged is true,” he stated on Wednesday.

Mr Lehrmann pleaded not responsible in an ACT Supreme Courtroom trial which was derailed resulting from juror misconduct.

Prosecutors later dropped the fees in opposition to him due to fears in regards to the impression a second trial would have on Ms Higgins’ psychological well being.

Mr Whybrow stated his consumer was “convicted within the media” earlier than the trial began and lamented Ms Higgins being accompanied to court docket by the ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates.

“I don’t have an issue or a priority with that statutory workplace holder offering that form of assist, nevertheless it solely served on this case … to make a really troublesome state of affairs for Mr Lehrmann,” Mr Whybrow stated.

“Press Membership statements … the Logies (and) to then be walked into court docket daily by someone whose job is to assist victims solely served to, in my perspective, elevate (Ms Higgins’) place from a complainant on this felony justice sphere to 1 who is definitely a sufferer of crime.”

See also  Man charged with sexually assaulting sleeping girl

Mr Whybrow earlier advised the inquiry he was “pissed off” by strategies throughout the high-profile trial that his cross-examination had been coached by former coalition minister Linda Reynolds.

The allegation was made by Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold throughout the trial and in a letter to Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan after it was vacated.

Within the letter, Mr Drumgold alleged Senator Reynolds had “engaged in direct teaching of the defence cross-examination of the complainant”.

However Mr Whybrow advised the inquiry this was an “appalling mischaracterisation” of what had occurred.

“I don’t maintain a candle for Senator Reynolds however (the strategies) have been unfair and, so far as I used to be conscious, unfaithful,” he stated.

Mr Whybrow advised Mr Drumgold he had been contacted by the senator asking for transcripts from trial proceedings to be despatched to her legal professionals, however he stated she couldn’t entry them.

Mr Drumgold confronted Senator Reynolds about this in court docket and in addition questioned why her husband had been sitting in court docket for the proceedings.

“He put these constructive issues to Linda Reynolds, together with that she was making an attempt to inform me the right way to do my job and provides me cross-examination ideas,” Mr Whybrow stated.

“I used to be pissed off, I used to be indignant and I wrote … to (Mr Drumgold) about what I thought-about was improper conduct.”

Mr Whybrow additionally believed the assertion made by Mr Drumgold when he dropped the fees conveyed a suggestion about Mr Lehrmann’s guilt.

“The DPP shouldn’t be the solicitor for the complainant. He’s imagined to be the target minister of justice,” he stated.

See also  Extra holidays? Right here’s how one can work the depart roster

Mr Whybrow advised the inquiry whereas he didn’t get the impression police wished a not responsible verdict throughout the trial, a senior officer concerned within the investigation skilled a “ethical trauma” whereas the jury was deliberating.

“In relation to Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman, he was considerably burdened (and) my impression was a form of ethical trauma,” Mr Whybrow stated.

“He expressed the view that he thought (Lehrmann) was harmless.”

Failed management, that’s why Drumgold has to go

Who may be trusted?

In a world of spin and confusion, there’s by no means been a extra essential time to assist impartial journalism in Canberra.

In the event you belief our work on-line and need to implement the ability of impartial voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Each greenback of assist is invested again into our journalism to assist preserve citynews.com.au sturdy and free.

Turn out to be a supporter


Ian Meikle, editor