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Scott Moller, top cop in Brittany Higgins inquiry, gives powerful speech about his own abuse


A top cop who led the police investigation into Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation against Bruce Lehrmann has told an inquiry that he was inspired to become a detective because he is a victim of sexual assault.

Chief Inspector Scott Moller conceded forcefully to a board of inquiry on Wednesday afternoon, as he was questioned by his own lawyer about why he felt motivated to become a cop.

The inquiry examines the way Mr Lehrmann’s rape trial was handled by police and prosecutors before, during and after the criminal trial. He was accused of raping Ms Higgins in 2019. He has always maintained his innocence.

Supt Moller’s lawyer asked, “You have been asked questions about your attitude when looking at the credibility of complainants in sex crime matters – is there any particular life experience that informs your approach?”

Mark Tedeschi – the attorney for Shane Drumgold, ACT’s director of prosecutions – tried to object to the question, but it was overruled by retired Judge Walter Sofronoff, who oversees the investigation.

Supt Moller replied, “I am a survivor.”

Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said he became a police officer because he is a victim of sexual assault

“I lived with that for 45 years and it fueled my desire to work with the police and work with victims.

“That has driven my desire and my will to make sure this never happens to anyone else in the community.”

Supt Moller then referred to questions at the inquiry earlier this month, when Mr Drumgold accused police of attributing stereotypes to Ms Higgins, based on what they think an alleged rape victim would or would not do.

Mr Sofronoff described the stereotypes as ‘rape myths’.

Supt Moller said on Wednesday: “It’s offensive when I hear allegations about rape myths because it’s hard and I’ve lived with it.

“There are other police officers who draw on other life experiences, but that is what drives me and that has been my constant commitment until retirement.”

Supt Moller was questioned for three days about his conduct during the trial.

The last question before he was released from the investigation came from Mr Sofronoff, who asked if he believed the police officers who led the investigation into Mr Lehrmann had lost objectivity.

Supt Moller explained that his colleagues had their own ‘deep-seated views’ regarding the fact that they believed there was not enough evidence to prosecute Mr Lehrmann, but he said they were pressing ahead with the charges regardless.

“Members of the investigative team felt sick when they found out we were going to move forward to attack, but they still did and they were still processing the charges because that’s what we do.

“Yes, opinions were highly regarded, but I’m proud of them for having those opinions, I’m proud that they voiced their opinions, but I’m more proud that they moved forward — they followed the process and have continued with prosecution. ‘

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Brittany Higgins is pictured outside the ACT Supreme Court in October last year

Supt Moller was questioned for his key role in the investigation and in connection with a report sent to his bosses that was not disclosed to the defense at trial – which became known as the Moller Report.

The report described Ms Higgins as ‘evasive, uncooperative and manipulative’ and said there was ‘limited’ evidence to support her rape allegations.

During the investigation this week, Supt Moller said, “These were the pertinent matters at the time that I thought my commanding officer should be aware of.”

He was challenged by Mark Tedeschi, representing Mr Drumgold, over the omissions in the report.

Mr Tedeschi said Supt Moller had ignored any analysis of the four different reasons Mr Lehrmann had given to different people for why he went to the parliament building.

“I hadn’t mentioned that, no,” Supt Moller admitted.

Earlier on Wednesday, Supt Moller was questioned by Peggy Dwyer, who represents Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates. She asked him about Mrs Higgins’ second police questioning in May 2021.

During that interview, Ms Higgins was shown CCTV footage of her and Mr Lehrmann entering the House of Parliament on the night she claimed she had been raped.

Bruce Lehrmann and his lawyer Steven Whybrow leave the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra in October

Bruce Lehrmann and his lawyer Steven Whybrow leave the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra in October

Supt Moller agreed saying to Ms Higgins during that interview, “There should be no more contact with the media, stop talking to the media, if you start talking to the media and it can’t go on, it will be all have been for nothing.’

“I was honest about the problems caused by the media coverage,” he told the inquiry.

Dr. Dwyer told the inquiry that Ms Higgins was in a room with five police officers when he warned her about the media.

She added that Ms Higgins had viewed footage from the night she was allegedly assaulted, her veracity had been questioned by officers and she was “visibly shaken and crying”.

Dr. Dwyer said, “There’s five cops in the room right now if you give her that advice and she might think you’re scolding her.”

Supt Moller said, ‘She could have, yes.’

He explained that he was referring to the possible prosecution of Mr Lehrmann when he made those comments, not Ms Higgins’ ability to campaign against sexual assault.

“We were fixated on prosecution … and moving this case to a prosecution and doing everything we could,” he said.

“The media had the potential to undermine anything we were trying to do – to prosecute.”

The investigation will resume on Thursday.

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