Channel Ten jumps to the defence of Lisa Wilkinson after Brittany Higgins Logies speech
Channel 10 has pledged support for high-profile presenter Lisa Wilkinson after she derailed Brittany Higgins’ rape trial with her rogue Logies speech.
The veteran journalist won an award at the star-studded ceremony on Monday for her work uncovering Ms Higgins’ allegations that she was raped in the parliament building in 2019 by former Liberal aide Bruce Lehrmann.
Mr Lehrmann has always protested his innocence.
However, ACT chief justice Lucy McCallum told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that recent media publicity had undermined Lehrmann’s right to a fair trial — moving next week’s long hearing to October.
While Wilkinson could be charged with contempt of court for her actions, the network jumped in its defense.
Lisa Wilkinson’s Logie acceptance speech, in which she referred to Brittany Higgins, could see her facing legal charges after Bruce Lehrmann delays rape trial
TV host Lisa Wilkinson (left) pictured with former political staffer Brittany Higgins (right)
A network spokesperson said: “Network 10 acknowledges Chief Justice McCallum’s ruling and fully supports Lisa Wilkinson.”
“Both Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson take their legal obligations very seriously, including in the preparation and delivery of her speech at the Logies event.
“In light of the ongoing proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Dr Matthew Collins, chairman of the Australian Bar Association, told Sunrise on Wednesday that it is a “serious possibility” that authorities will charge Wilkinson for contempt of court.
Contempt of court is when a person called to testify engages in willful conduct that is considered disrespectful to the court or magistrate.
Lehrmann’s trial is likely to take place later this year after Chief Justice Lucy McCallum agreed to postpone the trial after Lehrmann’s lawyers alleged that Ms. Wilkinson’s actions threatened a fair trial.
He said Wilkinson could find herself in hot water because her comments “tended to disrupt the administration of justice.”
“It is certainly possible that the authorities will look at the speech she gave to the Lodge and judge that speech by the standard applicable in this branch of the law and that standard does everything it does tends to to meddle in the administration of justice,” he said.
“The whole point is that every person in our community faced with a charge like this has a right to the presumption of innocence.
“That means if you go to court there should be no bias somehow so that the jury can focus very sharply on the evidence as it unfolds on the witness stand and it clears their minds what they might be in.” the media have seen…’
Sky News Outsiders presenter Rohan Dean also weighed in, asking whether Channel 10 will reject Wilkinson over her comments, as media had previously been warned by the judge not to comment on the Brittany Higgins case.
“As the judge has told the media not to comment on the Brittany Higgins case, Lisa Wilkinson is now charged with contempt of court and suspended from Channel 10?
dr. Matthew Collins, president of the Australian Bar Association, said Wilkinson may be in legal trouble because her comments tended to disrupt the administration of justice.
“Or is it one rule for leftist celebrities and another for the rest of us?” asked Mr. Dean.
The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions declined to comment on whether The Project host will be prosecuted after inquiries from Daily Mail Australia.
“The director will not comment on cases currently pending in court, including those related to pending proceedings,” a spokesperson said.
dr. Collins said Wilkinson’s comments and the media coverage the case has received have made it exponentially more difficult for jurors to apply the presumption of innocence and focus solely on the evidence given in the trial.
“The problem arises when the material is in the nature of sensationalism, very close to the start of a trial, because it can be difficult to distinguish between what is happening in the courtroom and what is happening outside,” he said. .
“One way judges can prevent this type of material from coming to the attention of jurors is by imposing a media blackout.”
dr. Collins said one option going forward is for the court to impose an injunction to prevent the media from talking about the issues in the case.
“You, the mainstream media, understand the risk inherent in talking about cases about to go to court, especially serious high-profile cases. This was clearly unwise,” he said.
In Wilkinson’s Logie acceptance speech, she referred to Brittany Higgins and her story to just one million viewers.
As a result of the speech, Bruce Lehrmann’s case was temporarily held in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday after his attorney said a jury trial would be “unsustainable” following The Project host’s speech.
No date has been set for the trial, which was originally scheduled to begin on Monday, June 27, at the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra.
However, ACT chief justice Lucy McCallum said that while she was sadly forced to postpone the proceedings, a listing in October will likely provide enough time for the publicity surrounding the case to subside.