Australians are divided over Bruce Lehrmann’s upcoming televised interview – some say it’s unethical to record an alleged rapist, but others think he deserves to tell his story.
Mr. Lehrmann will break his two-year silence on Sunday at 7pm on a feature-length episode of 7News Spotlight.
The feature, which network producers say has not been paid for, promises to shed light on his life after Brittany Higgins accused him of raping her in Parliament House in March 2019.
So far, the side of the story of Mr. Lehrmann only told through his trial in the ACT Supreme Court last year, when his police interview was played before a jury.
The former staffer strongly denied any sexual contact with Ms. Higgins during that interview, but he never revealed his version of events to the media.
Channel Seven announced the interview on Tuesday night, sparking a flurry of tweets from Australians expressing differing opinions.
Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) will break his two-year silence in a televised interview on Sunday
Melbourne-based activist and former political worker Sally Rugg wrote, “Bruce Lehrmann is free to speak publicly and media companies are free to use him to do so.”
“I wonder how many companies advertising in prime time will be happy to have their brand linked to this interview? Will we see companies pull their ads?’
Artist Christie Whelan Browne, who accused actor Craig McLachlan of sexual assault in 2014, responded: “Seen this before. It’s horrible.’
McLachlan was cleared of all charges by a magistrate in December 2020.
Another Twitter user said: ‘The depths of moral decay and despair know no bounds at Channel 7’, while others falsely claimed that Mr Lehrmann refused to tell his side of the story in court.
Mr. Lehrmann’s police interview was played in court, in which he told his version of events. He was not called as a witness during the trial.
However, some jumped to Mr. Lehrmann’s defense, pointing out that he had never been found guilty of a crime.
Australians were divided over Bruce Lehrmann’s upcoming Channel 7 interview (tweets pictured)
“A court is there to find out beyond a reasonable doubt whether a crime has been committed,” another user wrote.
“Bruce Lehrmann or someone charged with a crime doesn’t have to take his side, because it’s up to the prosecutors to prove guilt.”
A third user said, “I don’t know if Bruce Lehrmann is guilty or not, but he deserves the presumption of innocence until he is.”
Meanwhile, someone else gave unsolicited advice to the angry masses: “If you don’t agree with Bruce Lehrmann’s interview with Channel Seven, here’s a new idea – don’t watch it.”
According to a Channel Seven press release, Mr Lehrmann will ‘answer questions about what happened when he entered a ministerial suite with Brittany Higgins in the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 2019’.
“Nothing is off limits,” it said.
It is clear that Mr. Lehrman will be addressing a myriad of topics, including how he felt when Ms. Higgins first made her accusations against him in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project in February 2021.
Brittany Higgins (left) first voiced her allegations against Mr Lehrmann during a TV interview with Lisa Wilkinson (right)
He is also expected to speak about when former Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologized to Ms Higgins for the allegations.
Despite speculation that Mr Lehrmann was being paid to do the interview, a network spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that was not the case.
“7NEWS Spotlight did not pay Bruce Lehrmann for the interview, but the program helped with accommodation as part of filming the report,” they said.
Mr Lehrmann was tried in October last year at a 12-day hearing, but was overturned after a juror brought banned literature to the court.
Shane Drumgold, ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions, dropped the case altogether in December over concerns about Ms Higgins’ mental health.