Brittany Higgins could receive up to $1 million in damages as the former Liberal staffer broke her silence days after the sexual assault case in which she was a prosecutor was sensationally dropped.
Ms Higgins took to Instagram on Sunday to repeat the same statement she made outside a Canberra court in October after a juror triggered a mistrial.
Former political staffer Ms Higgins had alleged that Bruce Lehrmann, a colleague at the time, raped her inside the parliamentary office of Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 – an allegation he has consistently denied.
After the first trial failed due to jury misconduct, a second was scheduled for next year – but the charges were dropped on Friday after warnings it could come at the cost of Ms Higgins’ mental health.
Ms Higgins was in hospital on Friday when prosecutors confirmed the second trial would not take place.
Ms Higgins thanked the court and its officers on Sunday for “treating me with such respect while I was there.”
Brittany Higgins (pictured left in October) could face up to $1 million in damages as the man initially charged with her alleged rape also seeks a significant payout
“I have chosen to speak out,” Ms. Higgins wrote.
“To speak up and share my experience with others.”
Ms Higgins said her life had been ‘publicly scrutinized, open for the world to see’, saying she knew ‘the odds were stacked against me from the start’.
“Most importantly, I want to thank our mental health workers, without whom I literally wouldn’t be here today,” she wrote.
Ms Higgins also thanked the DPP – the team pursuing the case, her lawyers, family and her partner David Sharaz.
Ms. Higgins’ statement comes as her lawyers quietly seek compensation for the lawsuit.
Sources who have seen the legal document claim Ms. Higgins will seek compensation for lost income, future income and home support.
Mr Lehrmann (pictured in Canberra in October) is also seeking monetary compensation, with his lawyers considering a Comcare claim, defamation actions against media outlets and unfair dismissal from the jobs he lost after rape allegations came to light
The three respondents named for the claim are Sen. Linda Reynolds, who was Mrs. Higgins’ boss when the alleged rape took place, Liberal frontbencher Michaelia Cash and Commonwealth, news.com.au reported.
Ms Higgins’ lawyer, Leon Zwier, who represented the 28-year-old during her criminal case in Canberra, is aware of the claim.
Personal injury lawyer Noor Blumer of Blumers Advocaten has been negotiating the compensation since February.
No official claim has been made as the parties prepare for mediation talks.
Ms Higgins has not worked full-time since making her account of the alleged Parliament House incident public in February 2021.
Mr Lehrmann is also seeking monetary compensation, with his lawyers considering a Comcare claim, defamation actions against media outlets and unfair dismissal from the jobs he lost after the rape allegations emerged.
Ms Higgins (pictured) has not worked full-time since she released her account of the alleged incident at Parliament House in February 2021.
Mr Lehrmann (pictured) should have had a new trial in February, after the first trial was abandoned in October after
On Friday, ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC had announced that the case would no longer be prosecuted.
Mr Lehrmann should have faced a new trial in February after the first trial was halted in October due to misconduct by a juror.
It has now emerged that police believed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Lehrmann after he was charged with assault by Ms Higgins, according to senior police officer diary entries on the case.
ACT Police Manager of Criminal Investigations Detective Superintendent Scott Moller claimed in his notes that Mr Drumgold had nevertheless decided to proceed with the case.
He recorded a conversation in which Superintendent Moller and his boss, ACT Deputy Chief of Police Michael Chew, warned Mr. Drumgold to move on.
ACT Police Manager of Criminal Investigations Detective Superintendent Scott Moller (pictured) claimed in his notes that ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC had decided to proceed with the case anyway
Mr Drumgold announced on Friday that the case against Mr Lehrmann would be dropped in the interests of Ms Higgins and her mental health
Superintendent Moller claimed there was ‘insufficient evidence’, while Mr Chew said he would not pursue the case if it were up to him, The Australian reported.
DCPO stated ”if it was my choice, I wouldn’t continue. But it’s not my choice. There is too much political interference,” wrote Chief Detective Moller.
“I said, ‘That’s disappointing given that I don’t think there’s enough evidence’.”
It has also been revealed that in September 2021, police unlawfully gave Ms Higgins’ protected evidence on a USB stick to Mr Lehrmann’s original lawyers – with the team insisting they did not open the material.
Psychological counseling notes and a video of the police interview with Ms Higgins were among the protected evidence illegally sent to Mr Lehrmann’s legal team.
The lawyers who received the information were later replaced by lawyer Steve Whybrow – who did not receive the documents.
Mr Lehrmann was accused of raping Mrs Higgins (pictured in March 2019 in the House of Parliament of Minister Linda Reynolds – an allegation he has consistently denied.
The release of the sensitive material led Mr Drumgold to label it a ‘serious’ problem and demanded that the police retrieve it.
He asked Inspector Moller to ensure that the USB was investigated to verify claims made by Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers at the time that they did not have access to the information.
He notes that he is still in possession of highly sensitive and protected information. Is he going to return the memory stick to the AFP?’ said Mr Drumgold.
“It seems the least the AFP can do is send someone to collect it. And my suggestion is that if and when you get it back, have the metadata examined to make sure sensitive documents haven’t been opened or copied.”
Police believed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) after he was charged with sexual assault by Brittany Higgins, according to senior police officer diary entries on the case
Bruce Lehrmann was spotted talking on the phone at Sydney Airport in his first public appearance since his assault charge was dropped on Friday.
He wore a black face mask, a Ralph Lauren vest, dark pants and brown boots as he wheeled his luggage through the airport on Friday.
He was seen without his usual glasses while talking on the phone while carrying a brown bag and black briefcase.