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Brittany Higgins, Bruce Lehrmann trial: Higgins weeps as she watches moment pair reached Parliament

Brittany Higgins has wept in court as the trial of her accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann was shown the moment the pair arrived at Parliament House on the night of the alleged assault.

Video shown to the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday featured Ms Higgins, now 27, and Mr Lehrmann walking through metal detectors twice and taking off her black stilettos that March 2019 evening.

Ms Higgins broke down as the footage was shown to the jury. Sitting in the witness box, Ms Higgins said she didn’t remember ‘any of it’. 

Footage showed that Ms Higgins – who the court earlier heard was ‘Schoolies drunk’ that night – struggled to buckle her shoes up after walking through security again.

She then walked barefoot in a white cocktail dress through the corridors, carrying her shoes in her hand, according to the clip.

Ms Higgins told the court she kept the white cocktail dress in a plastic bag under her bed for about six months. 

Brittany Higgins arrives in ACT Supreme Court in Canberra before taking to the witness stand in the trial of her alleged rapist on Thursday

Pictured: Brittany Higgins arriving at court in Canberra for Bruce Lehrmann's rape trial

Pictured: Brittany Higgins arriving at court in Canberra for Bruce Lehrmann’s rape trial

She told the court that, once it was clear she couldn’t report the alleged assault without losing her job, she ‘very symbolically washed the dress’.

‘I wore it once more but I never wore it again after that.’

Ms Higgins was also shown photographs of the office where she allegedly raped, including the grey leather couch. 

The couch faced Ms Reynolds’ old desk, next to an Australian flag. She held it together as the pictures were shown.

However, her voice trembled as she described the way she was positioned on the couch during the alleged rape.

Ms Higgins told the court her head was on a while decorative cushion, facing the window.

‘I was jammed up into the corner [of the couch]. My head was right in the corner, between the head rest and the arm rest,’ she said.

When prosecutor Prosecutor Shane Drumgold SC asked where her legs were, Ms Higgins replied: ‘Spread open.’

‘My left leg was pinned down between his knee and the couch … and my other one was bent and open so I was completely exposed.

‘I was like a prop pinned into that corner.

Ms Higgins arrived at court on Thursday dressed in black. She is expected to be cross-examined by Lehrmann’s lawyer, possibly as early as today. 

Pictured: Bruce Lehrmann heading to ACT Supreme Court on Thursday morning for day three of the trial

Pictured: Bruce Lehrmann heading to ACT Supreme Court on Thursday morning for day three of the trial

Ms Higgins had been visibly emotional at the end of yesterday’s trial after watching CCTV footage of herself at a bar in Canberra.

The footage, which was played for the court, showed Ms Higgins arriving at venue The Dock in Kingston at 7.24pm – where she drank 11 vodkas over a four-hour period.

She said in a police interview in 2021, which was also shown in court on Wednesday, that she was ‘schoolies drunk’ that evening, and had never been so intoxicated.

The rest of the security tape will be shown to the court on Thursday, and will feature footage from the time she spent at nightclub, 88mph, and the moment she and Mr Lehrmann got inside Parliament House.

The pair worked as political staffers for then-minister Linda Reynolds.

Ms Higgins alleges after the two of them entered Senator Reynolds’ office she fell asleep on a couch and woke up to Lehrmann having sex with her.

Recounting the alleged rape, Ms Higgins said she felt “trapped” and “not human” as Lehrmann hovered over her.

“It didn’t feel like it was about me at all,” she said.

Later in a text message to her ex-boyfriend Ben Dillaway, Ms Higgins said she had been “barely lucid”.

“I really don’t feel like it was consensual at all,” she said.

She also expressed concern at the story becoming public knowledge and later told police she feared damaging the Liberal Party with the allegations.

The trial continues.

Earlier in the trial  

In the initial police interview, recorded in February 2021 and played to the court on Wednesday, Ms Higgins said she remembered dancing alone in the crowd at the Canberra night spot 88mph on that Friday evening in March 2019.

She told police she took shots after already drinking for some time. ‘I was really intoxicated and it was really weird,’ she said. 

‘I drink socially but I don’t usually get obliterated, but I was at 100. I hit 100. 

‘As drunk as I’ve ever been in my life … Beyond schoolies drunk.’

Higgins then went into detail about the moment she woke up to Lehrmann allegedly having sex with her.

She claimed he ‘seemed sweaty’, was ‘grunting’ and she was ‘jammed in the corner’ of the couch.

Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann leaves the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday after his former colleague and alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins gave evidence

Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann leaves the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday after his former colleague and alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins gave evidence

Brittany Higgins sent her ex a series of texts in 2019 to say her Friday night had not gone as expected after she was allegedly raped in a Parliament House office. CoS stands for chief of staff, a key position in a parliamentary office

Brittany Higgins sent her ex a series of texts in 2019 to say her Friday night had not gone as expected after she was allegedly raped in a Parliament House office. CoS stands for chief of staff, a key position in a parliamentary office

‘I told him no, I told him to stop,’ she told police in the interview, the court heard. ‘It felt like it had been going on for awhile …. I was an afterthought.’

‘It felt quite rough… It was quite forceful. Everything about it was forceful. [I felt] trapped, not human. It didn’t feel like it was about me at all.’ 

The court heard Higgins wasn’t screaming, but she did start crying and saying ‘no’ from the moment she woke up. 

After the alleged attack concluded, Higgins said: ‘I remember he got up and looked at me and it was a strange moment of eye contact. 

‘At that point, I didn’t say anything to him anymore’.

Higgins said didn’t leave the office, and was woken the following morning by a female security guard who asked if everything was OK – to which the young woman said she was ‘fine’, despite her dress being bunched around her waist.

The court heard she threw up in the former minister’s bathroom, before she made her way into a small room near Ms Reynolds’ former office, which had no windows, found a box of Roses chocolates and ate it while crying.

‘I pulled myself together – I was quite dishevelled. I borrowed one of the minister’s jackets to cover my cocktail dress,’ she said in the police interview.

The following Monday, Ms Higgins told officers that she went to work and saw Mr Lehrmann but they did not talk about the night of the alleged incident – instead, he bought her coffee.

Earlier in the day, Brittany Higgins was flanked by her legal team and supporters as she arrived at court for the first day in the trial of her accused rapist

Earlier in the day, Brittany Higgins was flanked by her legal team and supporters as she arrived at court for the first day in the trial of her accused rapist

‘I was trying to overcompensate to make it feel normal – we didn’t discuss it,’ she said.

After the alleged rape, Ms Higgins texted her ex to say her Friday night had not gone as expected – and that ‘I really don’t think it was consensual at all’. 

According to messages, shown to the jury, Ms Higgins’s old flame Mr Dillaway asked her: ‘Was it just you and Bruce who went back there or a group of people? 

‘Did you hook up in there or did someone take advantage of you?’

She replied: ‘Yes, it was just Bruce and I from what I recall. I was barely lucid. 

‘I really don’t feel like it was consensual at all. If he thought it was OK why would he just leave me there like that?’

Ms Higgins told police in the interview she had already had to fend off Lehrmann when he made an attempt to kiss her in her first week in the job at a team dinner.

‘Bruce made a pass at me and tried to kiss me,’ she said. ‘I didn’t think about it all that much because I rebuffed it. 

‘I didn’t think it would be a bit deal at the time. It was fine – he took it and left.’

She added: ‘I had just broken up with Ben … We never talked about it again.’

‘It was just the two of us. He leaned forward to my face, but at the same time I’d had other people in politics make passes at me before. 

‘I didn’t want to embarrass him. Mixed signal type thing.’

Of the messages, Ms Higgins told police: ‘It was me starting to go through the process – he was the first person I spoke to about it – the fact that I was raped. 

‘It was hard because he was the only person I trusted but we had a previous relationship. I was softer in my language.’

The trial continues. 

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