Prosecutors in the Bruce Lehrmann trial texted each other criticizing the behavior of police officers investigating Brittany Higgins’ allegations, according to documents filed for an investigation.
The series of text messages sent by Prosecutor Shane Drumgold and Crown Prosecutor Skye Jerome on the evening of May 11, 2022, were released by the ACT Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.
Mr Drumgold offered the messages as part of his statement to the inquiry detailing how relations between his office and the police broke down during the case.
In the statement, he said the conversation between colleagues was intended to “find out whether the AFP’s behavior could be explained by “plain corruption” or “stupidity at the atomic level.”
Mr Drumgold sent Ms Jerome a diary entry made by Detective Scott Moller on June 17, 2021, which was included as part of the officer’s statement.
Texts between Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold (pictured) and Crown Prosecutor Skye Jerome were released by the ACT Commission of Inquiry
The messages were used to outline the fractured relationship between prosecutors and police. Pictured: Crown Prosecutor Skye Jerome
Detective Moller’s note recalled a conversation he had with then Deputy Chief of Police Michael Chew about the investigation.
DCPO said he met with DPP, who stated they would recommend prosecution. DCPO stated ‘if it was my choice I wouldn’t continue, but it (sic) is not my choice,’ the note read.
“There is (sic) a lot of political interference.
“I said, ‘That’s inappropriate because I don’t think there’s enough evidence.'”
The entry in the diary prompted Ms. Jerome to ask her colleague ‘why should you record that thought process’.
“They both need a lesson on reasonable suspicion,” she said.
A major sticking point in the investigation for Mr Drumgold was the perception that Detective Moller and Detective Marcus Boorman did not want him to prosecute.
He claimed in the posts that the file note sheds light on his perception.
“It is quite clear that people at the top did not want this to continue,” the DPP wrote to Ms Jerome.
The real question is why? It is highly unusual for a DCPO to get involved in a fairly basic (sic) sexual affair!
He continued: “I am still switching between unsophisticated corruption and stupidity on an atomic level
“Why would you put that in your notebook? ….To document your cover-up?’
In his statement to the inquiry, Mr Drumgold rejected suggestions that his advice to prosecute had been made because he was placed under ‘political pressure’.
“I can state categorically that at no time before June 17, 2021, or ever, was there any political pressure exerted on me in relation to the prosecution – other than what I saw as a campaign of pressure from the police to agree with them that the case should not proceed to charges and other police conduct as set forth in this statement,” he wrote.
Mr Drumgold first expressed concern about ‘political and policing’ in a letter he sent to the ACT’s chief of police in the days following the mistrial, which eventually led to the investigation.
Prosecutors in the Bruce Lehrmann trial texted each other criticizing the behavior of police officers investigating Brittany Higgins’ (pictured) allegations, according to documents filed for an investigation.
Mr Lehrmann (pictured) pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault against his former colleague Ms Higgins before the trial was aborted due to jury misconduct
The DPP gave evidence last week and said a series of “strange events” led it to believe there was political pressure to “make the matter go away.”
But just a day later, he brushed off that claim.
The DPP told the inquiry that it wrongly suspected interference and after reading police statements accompanying the inquiry had concluded that a ‘skills deficiency’ was more likely to blame.
Defense solicitor Steven Whybrow SC told the inquiry that he disagreed with the suggestion that police had been angry with Mr Drumgold throughout the case.
“I don’t mean they were loving and kind,” he said.
“My impression was that Mr. Drumgold was hostile to the police.”
A diary entry from Detective Scott Moller on June 17, 2021 said, ‘There is (sic) a lot of political interference’
Detective Moller will be the first witness called before the investigation when it reconvenes next week.
Mr Lehrmann pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault against his former colleague Ms Higgins before the trial was aborted due to jury misconduct.
Mr Lehrmann has consistently denied the allegation and the DPP declined to pursue a second trial over concerns over Ms Higgins’ mental health and dropped the charges.
The inquiry, chaired by retired Judge Walter Sofronoff, is due to report to the ACT government by July 31.