Brittany Higgins was so obsessed with pursuing Bruce Lehrmann over an alleged sexual assault that she refused to help Ten defend its defamation case unless they agreed not to settle, her lawyers say.
In a filing made public Friday, Lehrmann’s side argues that Ms. Higgins’ credibility is so poor that the court should reject her testimony entirely unless it is corroborated by some other source.
“Ms. Higgins cannot be trusted to understand her obligation to tell the truth under oath or on the most solemn occasions,” Lehrmann’s filing said.
Ms Higgins was “willing to tell lies” both to the federal government to obtain a nearly $2.5 million settlement that would “change her life” and to an ACT criminal court during a now-abandoned Lehrmann prosecution, the document said .
The former liberal media adviser had an “obsession” with seeking vindication against her alleged rapist through the courts, including in her defamation case against Network Ten, Lehrmann argued.
Lawyers for Bruce Lehrmann allege Brittany Higgins (pictured) demanded that Channel Ten not settle her defamation case with him.
Bruce Lehrmann’s legal team (pictured) claims that Higgins’ credibility is so poor that she “cannot be trusted.”
Lehrmann is suing Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson over a February 2021 report on The Project where Ms Higgins was interviewed about her alleged rape in Parliament.
She claims Lehrmann sexually assaulted her in the office of his then-boss, Senator Linda Reynolds, in March 2019.
In agreeing to help Ten defend the defamation case, Ms Higgins said the network should not make any offers to Lehrmann to pay her damages, retract articles, apologize or pay her legal costs.
“That is an extraordinary position for a witness,” Lehrmann’s filing said.
In the document, Lehrmann continued to deny that any sexual activity had taken place, saying there were “too many other plausible possibilities” about what happened and why Ms Higgins was later found naked in Senator Reynolds’ office.
Bruce Lehrmann is suing Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson (pictured)
She could have vomited on her dress and taken it off or taken it off because she was afraid of getting sick, according to the filing.
“The critical point is that there are a number of plausible explanations for why the alcohol-affected Mrs Higgins took off her dress and lay naked on the minister’s sofa.”
Even if the court rejected claims that nothing happened, it would still have to find that Ms. Higgins failed to give consent to prove the rape occurred, according to the filing.
Lehrmann also sued News Corp and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation over their coverage of Ms Higgins’ allegations.
Both cases were settled and the former Liberal staffer was awarded $445,000 in legal costs under the settlements.
The trial against Ten has concluded and sentencing will be handed down at a later date.
Lehrmann was charged in August 2021 over the alleged rape, but his criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court was derailed by jury misconduct.
Prosecutors did not seek a second trial, citing concerns about Ms. Higgins’ mental health.
Lehrmann is also before the Queensland courts accused of raping another woman twice in Toowoomba in October 2021.
He has not yet entered a plea, but his lawyers have indicated he denies the charges.