Bruce Lehrmann had a big win in court on Friday (28/4/23) because, in an extremely strange judgment, Justice Michael Lee made a finding of fact Bruce Lehrmann is a liar yet Justice Lee still found in Lehrmann’s favour. Be that as it may, the judgment is almost certain to turn out to be a poison chalice as Justice Lee flagged forcing Lehrmann to file an affidavit with his version of events surrounding the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins.
In this article I will also try to address 2 key questions the public have been asking, 1. Why hasn’t Lehrmann sued Brittany Higgins for defamation and 2. Who’s protecting Lehrmann?
Bruce Lehrmann has spent the last couple of years avoiding giving a sworn account of the alleged rape so being forced to do so in an affidavit might mean he decides to discontinue his defamation cases. But then again Lehrmann might believe he has nothing to lose and decide to run the gauntlet.
In Bruce Lehrmann’s affidavit, and in the witness stand under oath at November’s scheduled final hearing, Lehrmann will have to explain some evidence that was tendered in court at the rape trial which I think can’t be justified.
For example, why Lehrmann told the AFP he went back to parliament house to do some urgent work, but he told his boss he went back to parliament house to keep on drinking alcohol. His boss gave evidence at the rape trial that there was no urgent work to do and there was no alcohol in the office.
Justice Lee’s judgement (28/4/23)
Bruce Lehrmann filed his defamation claims against the respondents Network Ten, Lisa Wilkinson, News Life Media (News Corp) and Samantha Maiden outside the 12-month time limit which meant he needed permission of the court to do so.
Bruce Lehrmann gave evidence on the witness stand under oath on the 23rd of March 2023 and told the court he received legal advice from a criminal lawyer on the 15th of February 2021, the day the media reported the alleged rape, not to file any defamation claims until the criminal allegation had been dealt.
But Bruce Lehrmann’s text messages from the 15th of February showed Bruce Lehrmann telling his girlfriend, friend and work colleague that either it wasn’t him and/or that he had spoken to a defamation lawyer, and he would sue and get $millions. (Bruce Lehrmann was only questioned on issues that related to him filing his defamation claim late. He was not questioned about issues relating to the alleged rape)
At paragraph 107 of Justice Lee’s judgment, he says:
107 Consistently with his oral evidence, Mr Lehrmann was fashioning some of his comments to suit the perceived exigencies of the moment. It was understandably put to Mr Lehrmann on several occasions that the logic of his evidence was that he had been “fabricating” advice and “lying” to his interlocutors. In large part, these characterisations were accepted. Mr Lehrmann’s senior counsel downplayed these false messages as “white lies”. It is unnecessary for present purposes to describe the conduct in any particular way. It is also unnecessary to reach a definite conclusion as to whether handwritten notes were taken at the conference by Mr Korn, being notes that are no longer in existence (and whether Mr Lehrmann’s somewhat inconsistent evidence on this topic can be explained away by faulty recollection). What presently matters is that I am satisfied Mr Lehrmann was being untruthful when he recounted advice criminal liability was off the table, and the only real issue was defamation and how much he obtains in damages. (Click here to read the judgment summary or click here to read the full judgment)
Update 2/5/23: I have just published the below video on YouTube which also answers questions about some of the lies being told about Bruce Lehrmann on social media:
Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer fails to give evidence in court. Did Bruce & his lawyer go on a Coke binge?
Bruce Lehrmann was not scheduled to give evidence on the 23rd of March, his former lawyer Warwick (Rick) Korn was. But a few days before Rick Korn was meant to give evidence text messages were released by the court showing Bruce Lehrmann trying to buy cocaine when he was with Rick Korn seeking legal advice on the day the rape allegations were made public (15/2/21).
Rick Korn wasn’t called as a witness as previously scheduled, and once the judge started striking out a lot of the evidence Bruce Lehrmann relied on, Lehrmann decided to jump on the witness stand. I published a video on my YouTube channel just after Lehrmann gave evidence titled “Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer fails to give evidence in court. Did Bruce & his lawyer go on a Coke binge?” as per below:
Bruce Lehrmann’s admits that he lied to his girlfriend, friend and work colleague about the alleged rape and legal advice he received on the 15th of February 2021 and one has to suspect he lied to many others in the days, weeks and months following that.
Lehrmann also either lied to the AFP or his boss or both about why he went back to parliament house on the night of the alleged rape. Lehrmann is not exactly a reliable witness.
(Above is Bruce Lehrmann and some of the messages Bruce sent on the 15/2/21 that he now says are lies. The judge believed Bruce that they are lies.)
Bruce Lehrmann sues the ABC
Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation matters against the respondents Network Ten, Lisa Wilkinson, News Life Media (News Corp) and Samantha Maiden are all being heard together. He has also recently sued the ABC because of “the ABC’s broadcast of a National Press Club address in February 2022, which featured Ms Higgins and former Australian of the Year Grace Tame.” (Click here to read more) At this point it is being heard separately but is also in Justice Lee’s docket. It is a possibility in the next few weeks it will be decided if it will be heard at final hearing with the other defamation cases.
Why didn’t he sue Brittany Higgins?
Bruce Lehrmann hasn’t sued Brittany Higgins because he knew she would defend it using the truth defence.
When Lehrmann and his ambulance chasing lawyers instituted defamation proceedings against Network Ten, Lisa Wilkinson, News Life Media (News Corp) and Samantha Maiden it was just after the rape trial had been discontinued to protect Brittany Higgins mental health.
So, Lehrmann and his lawyers weren’t expecting the respondents to be able to run the truth defence because they thought Brittany Higgins wouldn’t give evidence which would greatly undermine the respondent’s ability to use the truth defence.
But Brittany Higgins has agreed to give evidence to support the truth defence and the reality is she had little choice because if she refused to do so and Lehrmann won the defamation case Lehrmann and others would accuse Higgins of being a liar for the rest of her life.
Lehrmann and his lawyers bit off more than they could chew and now they are busy chewing like hell trying to work their way out of the mess they have created for themselves. The writing was on the wall for Lehrmann to see, but he was blinded by the $$$ signs, as his law firm Mark O’Brien Legal are the same clowns that helped Ben Roberts-Smith dig a hole for himself half way to China that he can never get out of.
Who’s protecting Bruce Lehrmann?
There is no secret person protecting Lehrmann. The Liberal Party wanted the alleged rape swept under the carpet because it happened only a couple of months before the 2019 federal election and they thought it would be bad for votes. Brittany Higgins has said she felt pressured to not follow through with the complaint to the Police which she initially made then dropped.
The concealment of a crime is a crime in itself so at that point, if the rape allegation was true, numerous Liberal Party staff and politicians, and likely former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, were guilty of the concealment of a serious indictable offence (Yes, the link is NSW law but the ACT would have a similar law).
If Bruce Lehrmann was found guilty of rape it would have been easy to charge others, based on the public evidence we know about the cover-up, with the concealment which gave numerous politicians incentive to try to make sure that Lehrmann was never charged and after he was charged that he got off.
The cover-up spiralled out of control and hence the ACT police cover-up inquiry that starts public hearings on Monday (1/5/23) and the likely NACC Inquiry which has already started at the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) as outlined in my previous article.
Bruce Lehrmann would have thought he had a big win on Friday but I think he would have been better off losing and cutting his loses now instead of later as I can’t see him winning the defamation cases.
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