A photo of a large bruise on Brittany Higgins’ leg was taken 11 days after she alleged she was raped by Bruce Lehrmann, the former political staffer said in a statutory declaration exclusively obtained by Daily Mail Australia.
Ms Higgins’ signed the sworn document as part of The Project’s newsgathering process ahead of her interview with Lisa Wilkinson airing on February 15, 2021, when she levelled her allegations against Mr Lehrmann for the first time, without naming him.
The statutory declaration emerged after Mr Lehrmann spoke out for the first time on Channel Seven’s Spotlight program on Sunday night, during which he claimed the photo was a ‘fabrication’.
At trial last year, Ms Higgins was grilled about the photo of the bruise on her upper right thigh, and firmly denied that she fabricated her allegations against Mr Lehrmann, saying: ‘I’m not a monster.’
In her statutory declaration, Ms Higgins said that the bruise was caused by Mr Lehrmann when he allegedly raped her in the early hours of March 23, 2019. He has always denied the allegations.
Brittany Higgins is pictured during her interview on The Project in February 2021 – when she first went public with her allegations against Bruce Lehrmann
This photo of a bruise on Ms Higgins’ leg was aired on The Project in February 2021. Mr Lehrmann claimed the image was ‘fabricated’ or ‘a bruise from much later’
In the declaration – which was certified by a Justice of the Peace in Brisbane on February 10, 2021 – Ms Higgins said she took the photo of her bruised thigh on April 3, 2019 – 11 days after the alleged assault.
Ms Higgins initialed the document in two places, and signed her name at the bottom.
The statement said: ‘The photograph of the bruise on my leg, as I referred to in the interview, is also annexed to and forms the part of my statutory declaration.
‘The photograph at annexure B shows the bruise on my leg that was caused by Bruce Lehrmann during the rape and sexual assault that occurred in Minister Reynolds’ office on March 22-23, 2019.
‘I took the photograph with my iPhone at annexure B on April 3, 2019.’
Anyone who intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration can face up to four years in jail.
Ms Higgins said in the statutory declaration that she did not lie or misrepresent the truth at any stage of the interview.
Pictured: A statutory declaration Ms Higgins signed on February 10, 2021 – claiming the bruise photo was taken 11 days after the alleged assault
Further, the same photo was shown to the ACT Supreme Court last year during Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial – after investigating officers extracted the contents of her phone to conduct a metadata analysis.
The court heard experts were unable find evidence of the photo on her phone prior to January 2021 – just weeks before her television interview was recorded. Experts also said she didn’t mention the image in any messages prior to February 2021.
The photo of the bruise was also shown on an extended episode of 7News Spotlight on Sunday night, during which Mr Lehrmann broke his media silence about the alleged assault.
Spotlight host Liam Bartlett said to Mr Lehrmann: ‘This bruise suggested in no uncertain terms that you had pinned her down.’
Mr Lehrmann interjected: ‘Well, it was fabricated.’
‘That’s the only explanation, is that it was fabricated or it’s a bruise from much later.’
During Mr Lehrmann’s trial last year, Ms Higgins responded to cross-examination by Mr Lehrmann’s defence barrister Steven Whybrow, who put to her that she invented the rape claim, and asked why she didn’t mention the photo to police.
He told the court the photo didn’t come up until police did ‘extractions’ of her phones in January 2021. ‘In those extractions there is no reference to this bruise before January 2021,’ he put to Ms Higgins.
She replied: ‘I don’t think I sent it to anyone. I sent to to [News Corp journalist] Samantha Maiden and Lisa Wilkinson… but until I was making a police complaint, why would I send that around?’
Mr Whybrow: ‘I put to you that the bruises and injury you sustained is a fabrication.’
Ms Higgins replied: ‘I reject that completely.’
Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) broke his silence in a TV interview two years after Brittany Higgins accused him of raping her in Parliament House. He denies the allegation
Mr Whybrow said: ‘You did what you thought was necessary to have people believe you had been [sexually assaulted].’
Ms Higgins replied: ‘I’m not a monster. I would never do something like that.’
She has not publicly commented on Mr Lehrmann’s interview, but her fiancé David Sharaz retweeted a post on Monday morning condemning the TV piece.
It read: ‘No woman in her right mind would face what Miss Higgins has gone through for any reason other than peace of mind.
‘No amount of money would be worth the nightmare of reporting (allegations of) rape.’
Mr Lehrmann was tried in a 12-day hearing in the ACT Supreme Court in October last year.
He had pleaded not guilty, but a mistrial was declared after a jury member brought banned reading material into the court.
Shane Drumgold, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, dropped the case altogether in December due to concerns over Ms Higgins’ mental health.
Daily Mail Australia approached Ms Higgins for comment on Monday.
BRUISE PHOTO TIMELINE
March 23, 2019: Brittany Higgins alleged her former colleague, Bruce Lehrmann, raped her in Parliament House after a night out.
April 3, 2019: Ms Higgins says she took a photo of a large bruise on her upper right thigh – which she alleged was caused by Mr Lehrmann’s knee pinning her to the couch during the alleged assault.
February 10, 2021: Ms Higgins signed a statutory declaration ahead of her interview on The Project, when she aired her rape allegations for the first time.
February 15, 2021: The Project interview airs and the bruise photo is shown on TV.
October 2022: A digital forensic investigator told the ACT Supreme Court that he was unable to pinpoint when the image was taken, but could not find evidence of the photo on Ms Higgins’ phone prior to January 2021.
She didn’t mention the photo in any text messages prior to February 2021.
June 4, 2023: Mr Lehrmann slammed the photo as ‘fabricated’ in a Spotlight interview.