Awkward Moment Lisa Wilkinson sits in SILENCE as The Project discusses the shocking end of Brittany Higgins’ rape trial – with TV bosses taking no risk on another legal blunder
- Lisa Wilkinson pursed lips on The Project as Waleed Aly discussed the rape trial
- TV host had the trial postponed for months because of her comments
- Brittany Higgins claims she was raped by Bruce Lehrmann in March 2019
- Ms Wilkinson got a set of lines from The Project in preparation to witness
Lisa Wilkinson kept her mouth shut on Thursday during The Project during a discussion about the mistrial of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rapist, Bruce Lehrmann.
Wilkinson was a vocal supporter of Ms. Higgins, but her comments earlier this year caused the trial to be postponed for months until October.
The TV host discussed the trial during her acceptance speech at Logies in June, sparking a legal row over claims she threatened Lehrmann’s chances of a fair trial.
She was given a hiatus in the aftermath of the feud and TV bosses at Ten laid out a strict set of rules to be followed on screen during this month’s trial to avoid further legal blunders.
While Waleed Aly discussed Thursday’s shocking annulment verdict, cameras kept clear of a shot of Wilkinson’s reaction or gave her a chance to speak.
And at the end of Thursday night’s segment, the show was immediately cut short without even a wide panel shot for fear of further legal trouble.
Waleed Aly (pictured) spoke to a reporter about Bruce Lehrmann’s mistrial that shook the nation on Thursday, while Mrs. Wilkinson kept her mouth shut
Ms. Wilkinson took the stage (pictured) and received the award in the Outstanding Reporting or Public Affairs category
When the trial was delayed by her earlier comments, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said: “What worries me most about this recent round is that the distinction between an impeachment and a finding of guilt has been completely erased…”
After that, the co-host was not allowed to read the headlines for the period the trial was in the news, and would not appear on the show on the days she was due to testify, the Australian‘s Media Diary column reported.
Her co-hosts were not allowed to discuss the process on the show other than reading the news headlines.
Ms Wilkinson was originally listed as one of 58 witnesses in the trial, but was never called.
The Supreme Court ACT jury in Lehrmann’s trial was sensationally fired Thursday morning after one of the 12 jurors brought an academic research paper on sexual assault into their conference room.
Ms Wilkinson (pictured, right) will continue to appear on the program Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings whenever she can
Lisa Wilkinson was given a set of rules earlier this month to be followed by The Project as the trial progressed (pictured, Ms Higgins leaves court after the mistrial on Thursday)
Judge McCallum dismissed the jury shortly after 10 a.m., saying it was an “unfortunate” outcome, indicating the trial will be rerun in February 2023.
Ms Higgins, a former Liberal staffer, alleges that her ex-colleague Bruce Lehrmann raped her in their boss’s office in the parliament building in March 2019.
Mr Lehrmann denied the allegations.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Channel 10 for comment.
Lehrmann was on trial before the ACT Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to a charge of unauthorized sexual intercourse.
The co-host won’t read the headlines for the time the trial is in the news, and won’t appear on the show the days she’s providing evidence
During the trial it was learned how Mrs. Higgins was approached by Mrs. Wilkinson, Peter FitzSimons, who suggested writing about her life in a $325,000 book deal.
Ms Higgins told the court that she met Ms Wilkinson and her husband Mr FitzSimons at an event in early 2021 when he told her, ‘You should write a book’.
‘[Mr FitzSimons said he] was going to act as my agent, and I said ‘sure’ and within a day he came back with offers,” she told the court.
Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) leaves the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra on Thursday