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Speech journo Brittany Higgins story MONTHS before Lisa Wilkinson Logies ‘matter before courts’

Lisa Wilkinson’s Logies performance last weekend delayed the rape trial, but months ago another woman showed how to give a speech on the same subject.

The story of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape was revealed in February 2021 – by Samantha Maiden in print and on Channel 10’s The Project by Wilkinson.

Maiden and Wilkinson both won awards for their work, but their acceptance speech was in stark contrast.

Wilkinson’s thanks to Higgins for her “courage” caused the high-profile rape case to be postponed, but Maiden made it clear “this is a court case and … there is a man who has pleaded not guilty.”

Lisa Wilkinson is pictured holding the Logie Award she won last Sunday.  Her speech at the awards ceremony delayed a rape trial and raised concerns about contempt

Lisa Wilkinson is pictured holding the Logie Award she won last Sunday. Her speech at the awards ceremony delayed a rape trial and raised concerns about contempt

In June 2021 Maiden won a Our watch award, she won a Kennedy Award last November and the prestigious Gold Walkley in February.

She didn’t expect to win and didn’t prepare a speech, but was very careful about speaking off the cuff when her name was called.

Maiden’s speech was a model of what and, more importantly, what not to say when accepting an award for a story that resulted in a high-profile lawsuit.

She said she had to say something ‘that everyone in this room knows, which is that this is a court case and there is a man who has pleaded not guilty.

“And as flawed and imperfect as the justice system is, I believe in it and I don’t want to say anything that affects it,” she said.

Maiden said she was surprised at the impact the story of the alleged rape of Mrs Higgins by Bruce Lehrmann – who has pleaded innocent – had.

“I remember sitting in my living room saying, ‘Would anyone care about this story?’

“Well, I think this award tonight shows that people cared,” she said.

Samantha Maiden is pictured giving a speech after she won the Gold Walkley award for her coverage of Brittany Higgins' rape allegations

Samantha Maiden is pictured giving a speech after she won the Gold Walkley award for her coverage of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations

“So I’ll try to say something a little less emotional. I want to thank our lawyers.’

This was followed by a huge roar of approval from the assembled journalists in the room. Maiden then thanked her bosses at News, her family, friends and colleagues.

“There’s someone else I want to thank… Brittany Higgins for trusting me to tell her story. I am so grateful,” she said.

Like Maiden, Wilkinson also thought she wouldn’t win the award she was nominated for, but prepared a speech anyway.

Lisa Wilkinson (left) is pictured with Brittany Higgins.  Ms Higgins' accused rapist trial has been postponed due to Wilkinson's speech after winning a Logie award

Lisa Wilkinson (left) is pictured with Brittany Higgins. Ms Higgins’ accused rapist trial has been postponed due to Wilkinson’s speech after winning a Logie award

Lisa Wilkinson was pictured at the Logie Awards last weekend where she delivered a controversial speech

Lisa Wilkinson was pictured at the Logie Awards last weekend where she delivered a controversial speech

“I don’t think I’ll get it because it’s run by a rival network,” she told Shane Drumgold, the ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on June 15.

The project’s host met with the DPP to discuss its evidence at Lehrmann’s trial.

In his notes, Mr. Drumgold noted that “At the end, Lisa was asked if she had any questions.”

She told him she had been nominated for a Logie and read the first line of her speech, but was stopped by the DPP who said, “We are not editors.

Former political aide Brittany Higgins (right) pictured on a plane with her partner David Sharaz

Former political aide Brittany Higgins (right) pictured on a plane with her partner David Sharaz

“We have no authority to approve or prohibit public comments that are the role of the court.”

However, Mr Drumgold advised that Lehrmann’s legal team could “renew a suspension request in the event of publicity” regarding the speech.

The speech failed spectacularly, with Lucy McCallum, chief justice of the ACT Supreme Court, postponing the trial of Lehrmann, which was due to begin next week.

On Thursday, the trial was moved to begin October 4. Justice McCallum said she “robbed Peter to pay Paul” to ensure the trial would go ahead this year.

“This week’s publicity focused heavily on the overlooked fact that a man is on trial for a serious crime and that he has the right to the presumption of innocence,” she said.

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