Bruce Lehrmann case inquiry launched by ACT

The ACT Government is launching an inquiry that will investigate the conduct of the prosecution, the defence and police involved in the botched case of Bruce Lermann, accused of raping Brittany Higgins inside Parliament, after the trial was aborted and the case dropped. 

The inquiry is announced in the wake of ongoing and profound, multi-layered criticism of the entire matter from several quarters and many commentators.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and ACT Police Minister Shane Rattenbury said in a joint statement announcing the inquiry: “The allegations made in recent weeks are serious. An independent review of the roles played by the criminal justice agencies involved is the most appropriate response.”

The high profile case ran for three and a half weeks before it was aborted on October 26 after a juror was discovered to have brought outside evidence into the jury room.

Higgins alleged Lehrmann raped her on the couch in the office of then cabinet minister Linda Reynolds after a night out drinking on March 23 in 2019. Mr Lehrmann has strenuously denied the allegations and the charges have been withdrawn.

The board of inquiry will examine the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions and ACT Policing regarding the prospect of charges being laid, the decision to proceed to trial and the decision not to proceed to a retrial.

The probe will also look at aspects of the conduct of the police investigation and the DPP, whether support given to Higgins aligned with the relevant statutory framework and the legal framework in the ACT for addressing juror misconduct.

The inquiry will hold hearings in public and have the powers to issue search warrants and compel documents.

Rattenbury said the inquiry would not revisit the Lehrmann trial or any of the evidence in the case and instead would look at the conduct of the agencies involved.

“It is expected that the inquiry will have regard to investigations which other bodies may be conducting regarding these matters,” he said.

In a further story today, The Australian reported: “Bruce Lehrmann has personally written to the ACT Bar Association with a letter of complaint outlining several elements of serious misconduct he alleges against ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC, The Australian understands.“A source close to Mr Lehrmann told The Australian that he would also welcome the opportunity to assist the newly-announced board of inquiry into the case in giving evidence at a public hearing into the actions and behaviour of the DPP as well as the conduct of the AFP during his interactions with them.

“Mr Lehrmann’s lawyer, Steve Whybrow SC, said: “We welcome an inquiry and hope the terms of reference will extend to an examination of all aspects of this matter, including decisions not to prosecute various individuals and the efforts taken by the DPP to ensure a fair trial.”

“The Australian understands Mr Lehrmann’s defence team is keen for the inquiry to examine whether pressure was applied not to prosecute Ms Higgins for contempt over remarks she made outside the court, following the collapse of the case due to juror misconduct.

“Ms Wilkinson’s speech referenced Brittany Higgins despite being warned by prosecutors that publicity about the former political staffer’s allegations of rape could lead to the trial being delayed.“ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum postponed the trial by several months as a result, “regrettably and with gritted teeth,” in order to ensure a fair trial.“Notwithstanding that clear and appropriate warning, upon receiving the award Ms Wilkinson gave a speech in which she openly referred to and praised the complainant in the present trial,” McCallum said.”


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19 Responses to Bruce Lehrmann case inquiry launched by ACT

  1. Klaus Arndt says:

    In my Opinion this case is not about rape, this is about corruption. The spin doctors of the Labor party have thrown out a fishing rod,with the bait of RAPE, to a disgruntled liberal staffer. Brittany was the third case after Christian Porter and Andrew Lambert to inflickt damage on the Liberal Party. None off them is true.To many inconcistencies.
    The Story started when Emma Webster, her “Girlfriend” now, told David Shiraz to look after Brittany. David is a staunch Labor supporter ( on his last wedding in 2018, every table at the reception was called after an ex Labor PM). Brittany fall for him. looked like Bruce , who let her down.
    Emma Webster accompany Brittany on the court dates is manager and director of a media company Hawker Britton ( or is it her twin sister?) is making sure that Brittany is not loosing it.
    First the DPP got pushed by the ACT government and the Labor party to start the trail, but now it becomes clear that Bruce will never be convicted based on evidence.
    The DPP calls it quits and blames the Police, but it was actually his own government and Labor, who pushed him.
    Bruce can hang in the air is better than that this plot gets exposed. The compensation claim so quickly after the missed trail speaks stories by itself. Not Only that.
    The ex liberal government was musselt due to the trail and also excluded by the compensation claim. I am sure there is much more to this story.

  2. Nola Scheele says:

    I agree there must be an investigation of how the case ended.

    But I have to point out one thing.
    If I was accused of Rape there is no way I would not sit silently, no matter what my solicitors said to me. His action speaks guilty.
    Isn’t the term innocent until proven guilty.
    I do not feel he is innocent nor guilty at this stage, and there should have been a re trial even now. As it is not fair on him or her.

  3. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich says:

    M/s Wilkinson’s speech in public which she knew would get much publicity and sympathy for the alleged rape victim was biased and deliberately flauted the prosecution warning not to publically comment on the alleged rape case. Why has no punative legal action been taken against M/s Wilkinson ?

  4. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Regarding / A unified,valid community– Please don’t forget Friday Feb 17-2023.-A victory for common sense -423 years ago George Brown was burnt (upside down). For refusing to recant his silly belief– “The Moronic Round Earth Society”–The Church has acknowledged ( after 400 years)–NOT that he wasn’t guilty ! But that he didn’t get a fair trial ! We all know the earth is flat- dammit–Giordano just flatley wouldn’t recant –shades of Derek Bromley If a State Government DPP appointed expert proclaims DNA on ya boats and in ya boot- and drowning times -You better believe it . Enough shenanigans- you recalcitrants– have faith in the properly qualified Fountains of wisdom–The dingoe bite expert from Londinium–Recant you swine–Our science is good science– your science is just an attempt at the corruption of a moral society–Its the duty of the “System” to protect us from the evil Pervayers of a fair go–Running dogs of the fairies at the bottom of the garden–The Appeals Courts will do you slowly–a marshmallow on George Bruno’s pyre !

  5. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich says:

    Why would anyone go after hours to an empty Parliament House ? I have no sympathy for any female who gets drunk. I object to the alleged large taxpayers’ money used to compensate Miss Higgins for something which has never been proved !

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      Exactly CAMVS, why, apart from being misled by an apparently then trusted male, who possibly indicated that he may have been interested in her physical welfare, and then misused his authority to gain access to a known conduit and facility, our nations home of legal, lawful jurisdiction, and authority after hours, for his own gain and desires?
      You have a right to moralise about female behaviour, but realistically those views are not considered relevant within the scope of accepted community values, and irrespective of the given the meagre amount paid to the female in this case, it is politically, obviously a very small price to pay to keep the issue shut down, and elected parliamentarians from having to provide evidence under oath I believe..

      • Father Ted Whalensky says:

        Young Deaf Mute Darryl Beamish– that’s a gift GOD gave him–Then GOD gave Darryl the WA police force–lucky boy ! Was sentenced to hang by the neck–you know– rope around neck–If they get it wrong– ya head comes off–They gives it to his mother in a plastic bag- a gift from the WA Policeymens–gave up burning around 1788– What the oh hell does he need money for ? Only DPPs. need drive a Government Mercedes– In an act of WA. Justice System Overly Generous largesse–$450 thousand after waiting 50 years–Say “thankyou”–Darryl–and apologise for the trouble you caused ! Confessing like that–

    • Nola Scheele says:

      The money should not have been paid, regardless.
      But whether she was drunk or not for goodness sake what century are you living in.

  6. Poppa says:

    I note that one respondent voicing their thinking about the Britanny Higgins/Bruce Lehrmann case, puts up the forever banal and inane, what surely are rhetorical questions:-
    Did rape take place?
    Was it consensual?
    Did anything happen?
    Why would she make it up?

    The answer to the first three is……..Only both parties know what is TRUE. No matter what they each say, that alone cannot be used to judge their respective veracity.
    Getting an answer to the :”Why would she make the Complaint”? (If it did not happen) is open to conjecture and may better be determined by forensic psychiatric investigation into the mind of Britanny Higgins as it could be due to one or more unrelated CAUSES.
    Mental Dysfunction. Personality Disorder. Vengeful Misandry. Attention seeking. Monetary reward incentive. Unresolved family issues of sexual misconduct. Dislike and or Jealousy of the Accused.
    * If you can determine THE REAL CAUSE for something ONLY THEN can you justify and validate making judgements of any kind.
    IMHO, the greatest failing in the way the EAJS and Police deal with sole person allegations of sex crime is that they don’t subject both parties to forensic psychiatric assessment to determine their mental acuity, any mental dysfunction, ANY and all traumatic life experiences which might predispose them to adopting particular attitudes & behaviours. Their online postings and what they reveal about them.
    To my mind if that results in finding upfront the kind of adverse mental acuity subsequently demonstrated by Britanny Higgins and it posing a possible threat to her well-being and her ability or otherwise to meaningfully contribute to Trial proceedings, that would have saved Taxpayers the enormous cost of a Trial doomed to foreclosure.
    Police have a tunnel visioned mindset of “Believe the self-claimed victim” to be A VICTIM and the Accused A PERPETRATOR. The Judiciary and Prison Service endorse that and treat the Accused as guilty before trial.
    I know that to be true because my own son was put through the whole experience as a Victim Of False Allegations.
    Merry Christmas !

    • andrew says:

      It is also possible, given what is known about the night, such as Higgins’ extreme intoxication, that in fact she DOESN’T KNOW what really happened in total; she may be jumping to conclusions or assuming what happened – but still believing it (at least eventually). There are other possible motivations … which readers do not need me to articulate, but which mothers of sons who are victims of false allegations may know very well.

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      Your 4th paragraph Poppa. reads somewhat like a mirror of the criteria required, along with the inadequacies and real characteristics of delusional policing force recruits.
      “Mental Dysfunction. Personality Disorder. Vengeful Misandry. Attention seeking. Monetary reward incentive. Unresolved family issues of sexual misconduct. Dislike and or Jealousy of the Accused”. You neglected to include the active and well accepted culture of functional alcoholism, a preference to be heavily tattooed, and be patently narcissistic.
      Economic enlistment through the desire for a consistent “Monetary reward”, coupled with “Attention seeking”, more than adequately fill the void of no original consolidating education or beneficial, recognised training, to reinforce the opportunities for an enhanced secure future. Add to that the obviously failed but still practiced opportunities associated with an “in house” promotional system, that in reality has no comparable links to civilian standards in professionalism or skill, ethics, and morals, and we are eventually confronted with boondoggling, obsequious, conforming, drongos rising to the heights of leadership and decision making.
      You ask “did rape take place”? “Was it consensual”? I have great difficulty attempting to balance the concept of both questions; rape is the sexual penetration of a person, without their consent. Being reduced to a state of absolute drunkenness, incoherent, and dysfunctionality induced inebriation, in my mind, does not set the stage for balanced, agreed communication, but, alternatively, sexual exploitation through rape. driven by an opportunistic desire.
      The inquiry will investigate the legal parties associated, and the police. Good thing, sadly our policing forces cannot be entrusted to act either honestly, impartially, or professionally, and much of the long term problems relate, I have long believed, to the paucity of the gene pool of recruits, and of the deceitful, delusional, discredited cultures that they are originally drawn from.

  7. Keith says:

    Contrast this response to that of the Tasmanian government with their aim to protect the integrity of the police and legal system.
    The ACT A-G should be applauded for putting Elise Archer to shame.

  8. Josh says:

    It’s just that it isn’t for the Police to be saying?.

  9. John S says:

    I welcome the inquiry, provided it doesn’t simply look to justify the current situation (that it’s premeditated).

    It’s still patently obvious that the ACT DPP erred against sage advice from the AFP. Now that the case has been withdrawn against Lehrmann, the DPP can’t bring himself to conclude that the AFP made the right call, instead blaming them!

    Perversely, the matter may still take another amazing turn: that a new trial is ordered! I doubt it, but in this day and age of amazingly stunning madness, anything is possible! Remember when Donald Trump became US President on an episode of The Simpsons, and we though it was a joke! Stop laughing, it may happen again!

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      It may well be patently obvious to you JS, that the DPP obviously erred, but to me and I concur, probably thousands across and around Australia, would never willingly add weight to your patently officious claims.
      The well recognised excessively pedantic, piss ant culture of not only the incredible AFP, an organisation that has an extensive history of criminally founded duplicitous cultures, and blatant unprofessionalism and hypocrisy, ranging from illicit substance import by executives,and dealing, to child sex offences recorded among its recruited officers, is most probably among the least respected of all policing services in our nation.
      To investigate them now on this issue may not be politically palatable to that organisation alone, but sooner or later the time must come and the glass house of obstruction and protection will eventually be shattered.

    • Brian Johnston says:

      I’m not laughing I am hoping Trump comes back.

      Back to the story:
      Did rape take place?
      Was it consensual?
      Did anything happen?
      Why would she make it up?

  10. Robert Greenshields says:

    Yet, again, another case in another state or territory questioning the honesty, impartiality, and professionalism of authoritative institutions and fundamental policing practices.
    Apart from the seemingly obvious injustices and inadequacies evidently exposed through the legal processes so far in relation to this, another diabolical supposedly legitimate procedure, yet resultant failed case, that can only regress community respect and values further, if we are expected to believe proven institutional and accepted serving venal policing officers are again going to be supplementarily investigated by other police officers. Talk about keeping them, the corruption and processes potentially “in house”!
    Each and everyone of these instances of possible/probable, policing interference and obstructive influences serves to highlight the insufficiency, along with the paucity of professional standards across all of our nations policing organisations and administrations.
    Australia is in a state of unceasing ethical and moral deterioration, and has been ground down to levels of a fundamental lack of trust and disrespect for many much needed echelon based authorities, due solely to the actively known criminal behaviour undeniably practiced and sanctioned within the ranks of policing organisations, from top to the bottom, accompanied by the substratums that additionally support it.
    Hopefully as an outcome, the psychological anguish perpetrated through pretended and professed institutions, and their cowardly obedient agents, becomes a more widely recognised factor among all Australian citizens post this inquiry. The maintenance of the calibre of the long term accepted status quo, with regard to institutionalised policing cultures, is no longer an acceptable quality, if we are ever to progress as a unified and valid global community.

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