Top prosecutor’s explosive claim on Bruce Lehrmann jury: Lawyer tells inquiry he knows which side jurors leaned on Brittany Higgins rape allegation
- Shane Drumgold SC led the prosecution case
- Believes jury slanted toward conviction, investigation found
The senior prosecutor who led the trial of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rapist “saw” that all but one juror would find Bruce Lehrmann guilty.
The extraordinary claim was made Wednesday by Shane Drumgold, ACT’s director of public prosecutors, at a hearing of the Board of Inquiry examining his case. performance at the jury trial of Mr Lehrmann in October last year.
The trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and rescheduled for February 2023.
However, the assault charge against Mr Lehrmann was dropped in December due to concerns about Ms Higgins’ mental health.
Brittany Higgins accused Bruce Lehrmann of raping her in Parliament House in March 2019. Lehrmann pleaded not guilty and the charges were dismissed
Lehrmann has always denied the allegations against him.
The inquiry revealed that during the period in which the trial had been rescheduled and not yet concluded, Mr. Drumgold SC wanted to hold a new trial because he believed a guilty verdict would follow.
During the investigation on Wednesday, Mr. Drumgold told Erin Lubbermans, counsel assisting the investigation, that he believed the trial was in the public interest and that he believed he would receive a conviction.
“I read the jury and the suggestion was that there was one person who was not in favor of it,” he said.
“It has to be a continuing reasonable prospect of conviction and every day you have to be convinced that there is a public interest in guiding it.”
In addition, Mr Drumgold said it was ‘likely’ that there was a wider conspiracy by the Australian Federal Police to drop charges against Mr Lehrmann.
“I hadn’t formed a solid opinion one way or another, but there were enough incidents to make it possible, if not likely,” he told the study.
Ms Longbottom said his allegations were ‘serious and made with the authority of your office’.
He said the AFP “pursued a passionate interest” in the case and did not want it to go ahead.
Mr Drumgold claimed it was ‘probable’ there was a wider conspiracy by the Australian Federal Police to drop charges against Mr Lehrmann
Mr Drumgold claimed that police pressured him to agree with them, rather than simply seeking his professional opinion on whether or not the trial should go ahead.
Mr Drumgold claimed that police opinions ‘escalated to saying Mrs Higgins was ‘manipulative, and we can’t continue if she is manipulative’.
Shane Drumgold, ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions, made the claim at a hearing Wednesday
Earlier on Wednesday, the prosecutor also said he was concerned about police interactions with Lehrmann’s lawyer Steven Whybrow during the trial.
Ms. Lubbermans then asked if he was concerned about the interaction because “the police did not want the case to go to court.”
“If a defense attorney talked on friendly terms with a police officer, it would warm my heart,” he said.
“But I may have a police officer who is determined to write inadmissible evidence and had very strong opinions, and tried to convey those views to counsel.”
“He is doing everything he can to give incorrect information in the hope of derailing the case.”
Retired judge Walter Sofronoff, who is leading the investigation, asked, “How can they do that?”
“How can the process be disrupted because the defense can do nothing but what is ethically and legally maintained. What do you care?’
Mr Drumgold said ‘so many unusual things had happened in this process’ that he tried to ‘keep it sterile’.