24 February, 2024
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Guards to give evidence in Lehrmann defamation trial

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More witnesses are set to give evidence at Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation trial as details emerge of his settlement with the ABC.

The trial will resume for a 10th day on Thursday in the Federal Court as Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson continue to defend claims they defamed Lehrmann through a February 2021 report on The Project.

Ms Wilkinson interviewed Ms Higgins about her allegation she was sexually assaulted by Lehrmann in the Parliament House office of their then-boss, Senator Linda Reynolds, in the early hours of March 23, 2019.

Lehrmann has denied this happened, claiming that no sexual contact or intimacy occurred between them.

He previously settled a defamation case with the ABC over the broadcast of a speech by Ms Higgins at the National Press Club in 2022.

A deed of settlement published by the court on Wednesday revealed the ABC agreed to pay a total of $150,000 towards Lehrmann’s legal costs.

The ABC agreed to remove a Facebook video of the joint speech given by Ms Higgins and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame.

The agreement also requires the ABC not to reinstate a YouTube video of the speech.

With both Lehrmann and Ms Higgins giving evidence in the trial for several days each, attention has now turned to other witnesses.

On Thursday, Nikola Anderson and Mark Fairweather, the security guards who let the two Liberal staffers into Parliament House at around 1.30am, will take the stand.

Following them will be Senator Reynolds’ former aide de camp Nikita Irvine, and Ms Higgins’ former close friend Ben Dillaway, who she confided in about the alleged rape.

Lehrmann was charged in August 2021 over the alleged rape, but his criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court was derailed by juror misconduct.

Prosecutors did not seek a second trial, citing concerns for Ms Higgins’ mental health.

Lehrmann is also before Queensland courts accused of raping another woman twice in Toowoomba in October 2021.

He has not yet entered a plea, but his lawyers have indicated he denies the charges.

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National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

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