The wedding gift Brittany Higgins didn’t want: Inside the insane legal costs David Sharaz will have to cover as he settles defamation case with his fiancée’s former boss Linda Reynolds

David Sharaz faces financial ruin after a judge ordered him to pay Linda Reynolds’ legal costs, along with damages and interest, after he agreed to settle the defamation case against him.

Senator Reynolds launched two defamation proceedings in the WA Supreme Court against Mr Sharaz and his fiancé, Brittany Higgins, over social media posts published in 2022 and 2023 that she claimed damaged her reputation.

Mr Sharaz announced in April that he would bow out of the court battle because he could not afford to fund the proceedings, while the Liberal senator remortgaged her house to pay for the case.

On Friday, Justice Paul Tottle ordered Mr Sharaz be restrained from making social media posts similar to those that were alleged to have damaged Senator Reynolds’ reputation. 

Daily Mail Australia can also reveal that Mr Sharaz has been ordered to pay damages to Ms Reynolds, along with three per cent interest per annum from the date the social media posts were written to the date of judgement or until payment.

David Sharaz (pictured in Perth in March) is ordered to cover Senator Reynolds’ legal fees

Linda Reynolds is pictured outside court on Tuesday, with her lawyer Martin Bennett

Linda Reynolds is pictured outside court on Tuesday, with her lawyer Martin Bennett

He was also ordered to pay Ms Reynolds’ costs for running the case against him, which will be determined at the conclusion of her matter against Ms Higgins.

The senator will have until June 4 to make an application for additional costs.

Ms Reynolds said she was pleased with the judgement.

‘By consenting to judgment Mr Sharaz admits the conduct I rely on in claiming aggravated damages, and I am therefore confident that the award of damages I will obtain will be significant,’ she said.

At the hearing on Friday, Justice Tottle also allowed Ms Higgins’ defence team more time to comply with an application to accommodate for her wedding on June 1.

Daily Mail Australia revealed the wedding will be held in June at The Valley Estate – a $20million luxury venue on the Gold Coast.

Mr Sharaz, who has not had a job since early 2023, had attempted to resolve his matter, but those attempts were unsuccessful.

In the middle of court proceedings on April 30, he posted a statement on social media revealing he had settled his own matter and urged Senator Reynolds to drop the matter against Ms Higgins.  

Outside court after the hearing, Ms Reynolds’ lawyer Martin Bennett expressed confusion over Mr Sharaz’s lawyer Jason MacLaurin’s statement that his client had limited financial means.

Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz are pictured at an awards ceremony in December

Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz are pictured at an awards ceremony in December

David Sharaz released a statement during court proceedings (pictured)

David Sharaz released a statement during court proceedings (pictured)

Mr Bennett said: ‘He lives in a chateau in France. He hasn’t got a job and he’s got a QC and a junior solicitor, two solicitors representing him.’

Mr Sharaz and Ms Higgins moved to France in December, about a year after she was awarded $2.4million in compensation from the Commonwealth over the way her rape allegations were handled in 2019.

‘If he’s impecunious as he asserts in France, he’ll go bankrupt,’ Mr Bennett said.

‘He’ll have to ask his trustee in bankruptcy if you can live overseas or travel overseas – you can’t do it as a right if you’re bankrupt in Australia.’

Their house in Lunas, near Bordeaux in the south of France, is believed to have cost about $600,000. 

Ms Reynolds’ legal team have filed an application to see documents relating to Ms Higgins’ trust fund, which was set up in February last year, after she received her settlement with the Commonwealth.

Senator Reynolds wants to find out who the trustee is and who to sue if Ms Higgins is unable to pay damages from the defamation case that is yet to be determined.

David Sharaz and Brittany Higgins bought a house in France in December (pictured)

David Sharaz and Brittany Higgins bought a house in France in December (pictured)

The senator is suing Ms Higgins over a series of social media posts that she claims damaged her reputation by implying she pressured the former staffer not to proceed with a police complaint about her rape claims in 2019.

At the time, Ms Higgins was a junior Liberal staffer in Parliament House working for Ms Reynolds, who was the minister for defence industry. 

Ms Reynolds has continually denied that both she and her former chief-of-staff Fiona Brown tried to stop Ms Higgins from going to the police about her assault, and telling her that her employment would be at stake if she tried.

In December 2022, the Commonwealth awarded Ms Higgins $2.4million as compensation.

In her $2.4million settlement deed with the Commonwealth, there were a number of allegations against Ms Reynolds that were untested in a court, with the senator denied the opportunity to defend herself in the mediation room.

In April, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee found on a balance of probabilities that Brittany Higgins was raped by her former colleague Bruce Lehrmann in Ms Reynolds Parliament House office in March, 2019.

However, he also found that Ms Higgins made a series of false representations in her $2.4million settlement deed – specifically, he found Ms Reynolds and Ms Brown did not try to cover up the rape.

The defamation hearing is scheduled to begin on July 24.