Brittany Higgins will sue former federal ministers Linda Reynolds and Michaelia Cash and the Commonwealth for $3 million as the fallout from one of Australia’s most high-profile rape trials continues.
Lawyers for the former liberal associate have announced they will file a civil lawsuit this month after the sexual assault case in which she was a prosecutor was sensationally abandoned on Friday.
Senator Reynolds has since confirmed that she was notified by Higgins’ attorneys of their intent to file a damages claim that same day.
Bruce Lehrmann, 27, was accused of sexually assaulting his former colleague Ms Higgins, 28, in Parliament House in March 2019 – an allegation he has strongly denied.
The first trial was halted in October when a juror brought in banned literature during deliberations – an investigation into false rape allegations.
The case was set for a second trial next year before being dropped by the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions amid fears a new trial would adversely affect Ms Higgins’ mental health after she was recently hospitalized .
It is also revealed that Lehrmann could also demand monetary compensation as he is now ‘broke’ and considering selling his story to the highest bidder.
Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins (pictured at recent trial) will seek $3 million in compensation
Ms Higgins will sue the Commonwealth and her two former bosses, Senators Linda Reynolds (right) and Michaelia Cash (left)
Ms. Higgins was working for then Secretary of Defense Senator Reynolds at the time of the alleged incident before leaving to take a position with Senator Cash.
Blumers Personal Injury Lawyers has indicated that it will continue with the compensation claim for Ms. Higgins.
The Canberra-based company has sent documents to both their client’s former bosses and the Commonwealth outlining its intent to sue for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, negligence and victimization.
An official claim has yet to be filed as the parties involved prepare to enter into mediation talks.
Senator Reynolds confirmed that she was advised on Friday by Ms. Higgins’ lawyers of their intentions to pursue the claim. The age reported.
“I confirm that in March of this year I was notified by the law firm of Blumers, acting for Brittany Higgins, of a civil claim brought by Ms. Higgins against me and other parties,” said Ms. Reynolds.
“However, there is still a procedure to be initiated. Blumers informed me Friday that their client intends to pursue the civil action this month.”
Sources who have seen the legal document claim Ms. Higgins will seek compensation for lost income, future income and home support.
It includes $2.5 million for future economic loss, up to $100,000 for past economic loss, $100,000 for general damages, $20,000 for future household chores, and $150,000 for past and future out-of-pocket expenses.
Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) considers selling his story to the highest bidder after the sexual assault charges against him were dropped
A date has been set for mediation between the parties on December 13.
Sources close to Reynolds said she agreed to a time extension that would expire on Tuesday, meaning Higgins’ lawyers must file their case in court by then.
It is clear that Noor Blumer, one of the founders of Blumers Advocaten, has been quietly negotiating the claim since February.
She has declined to comment on the matter or any mediation talks.
Ms Higgins’ lawyer, Leon Zwier, who represented Higgins during the Canberra criminal case, is aware of the claim.
Ms Higgins was in hospital on Friday when prosecutors confirmed the second trial would not take place.
She broke her silence on Instagram on Sunday to repeat the same statement she made outside a Canberra court in October after a juror called for a mistrial.
A second criminal trial was halted by the ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions over fears that a new trial would negatively affect Ms Higgins’ mental health after she was recently hospitalized
The post was flooded with messages of public support, including her close friend, sexual abuse advocate Grace Tame.
Ms. Higgins thanked the court and its officers for “treating me with such respect while I was there.”
“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.
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
Ms Higgins (pictured) has not worked full-time since she released her account of the alleged incident at Parliament House in February 2021.
Ms Higgins has not worked full-time since she made her account of the alleged incident public almost two years later 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.
Mr. Lehrmann previously earned up to $200,000 a year as a senior adviser to the Liberal Party before being fired in 2021.
Since being accused of rape, he is now reportedly “broke” and unable to get a job.
He was taken off welfare during the trial because he was unable to meet Centrelink’s mutual obligations.
To try and make ends meet, the former staffer is now chopping wood for a friend’s father on an estate in Tasmania and looking for more work, reports news.com.au.
According to the publication, Mr. Lehrmann is also considering doing paid TV interviews to try to scrape together money to pay back some of his legal fees.
Some networks have contacted him for a paid TV interview since charges against him were dropped.
Mr Lehrmann is considering taking legal action for alleged defamation at trial and filing an unfair dismissal claim against the Liberal Party.
Several media outlets, along with the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, could be in the firing line as his legal team looks to issue defamation notices.