Here come the judge … was Lehrmann defamed?

Two weeks from today, at 10.15 am, April 4, 2024, Justice Lee of the Federal Court will hand down his judgement in one of the most consequential cases in contemporary Australia: the defamation case brought by Bruce Lehrmann against Network TEN and Lisa Wilkinson, in the carnage known as the Brittany Higgins case. 

When Higgins accused Lehrmann of raping her on the couch in Senator Reynolds parliamentary office in the early hours of March 23, 2019, the fuse was lit for what has become a bonfire of careers, reputations and political fortunes, in a cavalcade of intersecting legal cases, political turbulence and a wild media scrum.

Brittany Higgins & Bruce Lehrmann

Several lives have already been damaged, careers ended and reputations tarnished. Ironically, though, the allegation of rape has not been confirmed, after Lehrmann’s trial was aborted due to juror misconduct, and a retrial abandoned. The first major casualty was the Morrison coalition government, which took water and sank at the forthcoming election, due to the spreading negative impact of the rape allegation on the government. That was despite Morrison’s apology to Higgins on the floor of Parliament even before proceedings began.

The presumption of innocence was thus an early victim of the ever evolving case. This topic is certain to exercise the judge, given how often it was trampled upon by various participants in the saga.

Justice Lee

Justice Lee’s judgement will have direct and indirect impacts on other cases coming before the courts, including the Reynolds defamation case against Higgins and her partner David Sharaz; Lehrmann’s defamation case against former ACT DPP Shane Drumgold; the defamation case brought against Drumgold by five senior ACT police officers; and possibly even any investigation by the NACC (anti-corruption body) into the controversial, furtive payment of $2.44 million compensation by the Labor government to Higgins.

But its first impacts will be on the applicant Lehrmann and the respondents Wilkinson and TEN. The impacts will include what further financial costs are to be borne by the parties – legal costs incurred and any damages awarded.

There will no doubt follow some long-running fallout to haunt all the players.

DISCLOSURE: Andrew L. Urban has been invited to work with Bruce Lehrmann on the book about his experiences.


Drawing on transcripts, diaries, personal reflections and painful family recollections, PRESUMPTION OF EVIL is a journey into one man’s hell.

The 86 year old Noel Greenaway will be eligible for parole in five years. If he is still alive. For now, he is in a maximum security cell, convicted of sexual assaults against five teenagers – when he was in his 30s. The only evidence against him was testimony given by them – now middle aged women, then youngsters at the Parramatta Training School for Girls.

Child sex abuse is today’s crimen exceptum – a crime so exceptional that the established rules of justice need not be applied to it.

“an illuminating insight into a disquieting case” – Margaret Cunneen SC


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One Response to Here come the judge … was Lehrmann defamed?

  1. Owen Allen says:

    No replies.
    Owen is stressing(,I love to stress). I can not live with liars and rogues called Government. And corrupt bureaucrats, and police. Tasmania Police in particular.
    Protected by the scumbags, who laugh over their drinks at our expense.
    And Tasmanian public cower down because it still is, as it was, and as long as you have an inside contact life will be ok .,cronyism and nepotism will look after you.
    Has Tasmania imploded yet Election?

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