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Bruce Lehrmann threatens to sue ABC over Brittany Higgins National Press Club speech with Grace Tame

Bruce Lehrmann gives the ABC 28 days to delete a ‘malicious’ YouTube video – after suing Channel 10 and over Brittany Higgins’ allegations

  • Bruce Lehrmann demanding ABC delete a video
  • It is Brittany Higgins’ full National Press Club address 
  • His lawyers claim the video is  ‘grossly defamatory’

Bruce Lehrmann has given the ABC 28 days to delete a video of Brittany Higgins’ National Press Club address from its YouTube channel and issue an apology to him before he launches legal action.

Ms Higgins addressed the National Press Club in February, 2022 alongside 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame to advocate for sexual assault reform.

While Ms Higgins did not name the former Liberal staffer in her speech, Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers, Mark O’Brien Legal, claim their client was identifiable to viewers due to extensive reporting around Ms Higgins’ rape allegations against him.

His lawyers claim the broadcast of the address was ‘a malicious and an apparent contemptuous attempt by the ABC to prejudice the jury’.

Ms Higgins alleged Mr Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House in March, 2019. 

Mr Lehrmann repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations and an ACT Supreme Court trial centered on Ms Higgins’ claim was aborted in October last year after a jury member brought materials from outside the trial into the deliberation room. 

Bruce Lehrmann (above) has threatened to sue the ABC if it doesn’t delete its YouTube video of Brittany Higgins’ National Press Club speech from last February

Mr Lehrmann had pleaded not guilty and the charges against him were dropped after prosecutors determined a second trial would pose too high a risk to Ms Higgins’ mental health. 

The National Press Club address was shared widely across media outlets in Australia but the ABC was the only publication to share it in full.

Mr Lehrmann is also demanding the ABC apologises for sharing the video and pay compensation. 

The notice to the ABC cites specific claims made by Ms Higgins during her address, including: ‘I was [allegedly] raped on a couch in what I thought was the safest and most secure building in Australia. 

‘In a workplace that has a police and security presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The parliament of Australia is safe, it is secure, except if you’re a woman.’ 

His lawyers said Ms Higgins’ claim was ‘grossly and indefensibly defamatory’.

‘Furthermore, publication to such large numbers of persons had the effect of seriously harming the reputation of (Mr Lehrmann) in the ACT among potential jurors by communicating to them that he was guilty of the very offence with which he was charged,’ they said.

Brittany Higgins (pictured Grace Tame at the National Press Club) alleges Mr Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House in March, 2019

Brittany Higgins (pictured Grace Tame at the National Press Club) alleges Mr Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House in March, 2019

It is understood Mr Lehrmann was not notified about Ms Higgins’ claims and was not given the chance to respond to her allegations. 

He has given the ABC 28 days to delete the video before he ‘immediately institutes proceedings’.

As of Thursday morning, the video remains available on the ABC’s channel and has clocked more than 126,000 views in the 11 months it’s been live.

The notice comes just one day after Mr Lehrmann filed defamation claims against Channel 10 and in the Federal Court.

The two media giants were the first publications to detail Ms Higgins’ allegations. 

There are two cases – one is against Network 10 over an interview aired on The Project in February 2021 – where Ms Higgins claimed to host Lisa Wilkinson that she was allegedly raped by ‘a male colleague’ in Parliament House in 2019.

The second is against News Life Media, an umbrella company of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which runs, over coverage which featured the same allegations by Ms Higgins.

Mr Lehrmann wasn’t named during the TV show nor was he publicly identified as Ms Higgins’ alleged rapist until August, 2021, when he was formally charged with sexual assault. 


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