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Lehrmann accused of ‘fabricating’ submarine evidence

A number of Bruce Lehrmann’s conflicting accounts have been scrutinised in court, including a claim he went to Parliament House on the night of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape because he had received sensitive information about the French submarine deal.

user iconNaomi Neilson 28 November 2023 Big Law
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Grilled on Monday (27 November) about what could have been so important he needed to attend the Department of Defence’s suite of offices around 2am on 23 March 2019, Mr Lehrmann told the Federal Court he had been told something about the now abandoned French submarine deal and Linda Reynolds’ “political interests” in the contract.

In February 2019, Ms Higgins alleged to two media outlets she had been raped in Ms Reynolds’ office by Mr Lehrmann.

Mr Lehrmann has denied the charges and is now suing Channel 10 and journalist Lisa Wilkinson for an interview on The Project.

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In security footage shared to the court late last week, the pair was shown entering the office in the early hours. They had been drinking at The Dock and nightclub 88mph prior to the alleged incident.

Late last week, Mr Lehrmann denied having sexual intercourse with Ms Higgins and denied encouraging her to get drunk.

Barrister for Network Ten, Matthew Collins KC, clarified with Mr Lehrmann that he had been at these bars with Ms Higgins and with aides-de-camp, who he described had “low-level administrative roles”.

Dr Collins questioned how Mr Lehrmann could have been having these conversations with people he described as “handbag carriers”.

“They spend the majority of time with ministers,” Mr Lehrmann said.

Dr Collins then put to him there was no discussion about the French submarine contract and that his evidence he needed to write this information down at around 2am was fabricated.

Mr Lehrmann denied this.

During the cross-examination, Mr Lehrmann said he was concerned about national security because he had question time documents on his desk. He believed this concerned others in the office.

Moving onto the News-dot-com article, written by journalist Samantha Maiden, Dr Collins questioned Mr Lehrmann about his first impressions. Mr Lehrmann claimed on Monday that none of the details in the article led him to believe he may be the subject of it.

However, Dr Collins took him to evidence he gave to his own barrister, Steven Whybrow, in March this year that he “immediately knew” the allegations in the article were about him.

“When I put those exact same questions [to you], you gave a completely irreconcilable answer,” Dr Collins accused.

Mr Lehrmann denied this.

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