Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation trial started on Tuesday with a ruling from Justice Michael Lee to say Brittany Higgins could be cross-examined about her speech outside the ACT Supreme Court last year.
Ms Higgins made the speech on October 27 last year – just after the jury in Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial was dismissed.
She generally spoke as though she was a proven victim of sexual assault rather than an alleged victim.
She said: ‘I chose to speak up. To speak up against rape, speak up against injustice, to speak up and share my experiences with others. I told the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unflattering, to the court.
‘Today’s outcome does not change that truth. When I did speak up, I never fully understood how asymmetrical the criminal justice system is, but I do now.’
At that time, Bruce Lehrmann was charged with sexual assault and had a new trial date set down for February 2023.
The ACT Chief Justice had warned media and individuals not to publish anything about the forthcoming trial to ensure Mr Lehrmann got a fair trial.
Ms Higgins told the court on Friday that she knew that she should not comment on Bruce Lehrmann’s rape trial, but gave her speech anyway.
In his ruling on Tuesday, Justice Lee brought up a five-hour recorded meeting Ms Higgins had with her now-fiance David Sharaz, Lisa Wilkinson and a Channel Ten producer.
During that meeting, recorded in January 2021 – a few weeks before her allegations were televised on The Project – Ms Higgins could be heard saying she thought she could win a civil case against Mr Lehrmann.
She then noted that she didn’t think he could be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal trial.