Ten, Information search to show rape in Lehrmann defamation

Ten says it held a number of conferences with Brittany Higgins (left) earlier than Lisa Wilkinson’s interview. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

By Jack Gramenz and Maeve Bannister in Canberra

NETWORK Ten and Information Corp will search to show former Liberal Occasion staffer Bruce Lehrmann raped his then-colleague Brittany Higgins of their defences in opposition to a defamation declare. 

Mr Lehrmann launched defamation motion in opposition to Community Ten and Information Corp for his or her February 2021 protection of rape allegations made by his former colleague.

Each corporations filed defences with the Federal Court docket on Tuesday night time, becoming a member of journalist Lisa Wilkinson who can be searching for to show the allegation true as a part of her defence.

Ten will depend on the “substantial imbalance of energy” between Mr Lehrmann and Ms Higgins whereas they labored within the workplace of then-defence minister Linda Reynolds.

The community will declare Mr Lehrmann “was sexually attracted” to Ms Higgins and “tried to kiss” her within the days main as much as the alleged rape.

Its defence will depend on Mr Lehrmann’s “lies, inconsistencies and consciousness of guilt”, together with his differing explanations for going to Parliament Home on the night time of the alleged rape.

Mr Lehrmann additionally missed six calls from his then-girlfriend that night time, which the community references as being a “consciousness of guilt for having raped” Ms Higgins.

Ten will defend its publishing of Ms Higgins’ allegations as being within the public curiosity due to Mr Lehrmann’s function as a senior ministerial adviser.

Attorneys say the media firm made “affordable makes an attempt” to contact Mr Lehrmann to acquire his aspect of the story earlier than the interview went to air however he didn’t reply.

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“Had Lehrmann responded to Ten’s makes an attempt to contact him, Ten would have included Lehrmann’s aspect of the story, by together with his response or the substance of his response, within the issues complained of,” the defence says.

Ten additionally denies it recognized Mr Lehrmann within the unique report.

NewsLifeMedia, writer of information.com.au, whose political editor Samantha Maiden can be named within the swimsuit, equally mentioned Mr Lehrmann was not recognized.

The corporate mentioned nothing had been supplied to assist Mr Lehrmann’s allegation, which it denies, that it acted with reckless indifference about whether or not the claims had been true.

Mr Lehrmann was not contacted earlier than publication however Information mentioned it was not essential to contact him as a result of he was not being recognized, had already declined to remark to Ten and later instructed police he had no intention to reply to media inquiries.

The defences come as Mr Lehrmann seeks permission to run the instances, filed in February, greater than a 12 months after the publications – effectively exterior the limitation interval legally required in defamation disputes.

In a case administration listening to earlier than Justice Michael Lee on Wednesday, barrister Steven Whybrow SC mentioned Mr Lehrmann waited to file the case on authorized recommendation due to the continued felony case and his psychological well being.

Ten’s barrister Matthew Collins KC argued the court docket ought to toss the instances as a result of Mr Lehrmann failed to stay “shtum” or depend on his proper to silence throughout the felony trial.

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Wilkinson’s barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC additionally opposed the extension, saying there was a “hole of many months” between the publications airing in February 2021 and expenses being introduced in August.

If Mr Lehrmann was involved about defamation, he might have achieved one thing throughout that interval, she mentioned.

The extension of time software can be heard on March 16.

Statements of declare for Mr Lehrmann filed within the defamation motion mentioned his private repute had been broken by the allegations.

Mr Lehrmann has constantly denied the allegations.

His felony trial within the ACT Supreme Court docket was derailed final 12 months due to juror misconduct.

The prosecutor later dropped the fees due to the influence a second trial would have on Ms Higgins’ psychological well being.
The ACT authorities has launched an impartial inquiry into the dealing with of Ms Higgins’ rape allegations by police, prosecutors and a sufferer’s assist service.

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Ian Meikle, editor