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Wilkinson ‘gobsmacked’ by Network Ten and its legal team

Former The Project host Lisa Wilkinson said it was “deeply unsatisfactory” for her former employer and its lawyers to ignore her legal needs in the lead-up to the Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial.

user iconNaomi Neilson 14 February 2024 Big Law
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The award-winning journalist told the Federal Court she was “gobsmacked” to learn Network Ten and its Thomson Geer legal team did not inform her directly she was being sued by Bruce Lehrmann for her controversial 2022 Logies speech.

Ms Wilkinson said she instead found out from media reports on the morning of 8 December, despite the legal team’s notice of the proceedings at just after 5pm on the afternoon before.

“I found it deeply unsatisfactory, and it indicated to me that I was never top of mind,” Ms Wilkinson said.


Ms Wilkinson appeared before Justice Michael Lee on Tuesday (13 February) to argue she was left alone to deal with the aftermath of the speech, which not only derailed Mr Lehrmann’s abandoned criminal trial but led to intense media scrutiny.

She told Justice Lee that despite what was being reported at the time, she took “significant steps to make sure I was legally responsible before I went anywhere near that [Logies] stage”.

Ms Wilkinson said this included making sure the speech had the approval of the “highest levels” of Network Ten, including its chief executive.

As the media continued to “trash” Ms Wilkinson, she said she turned to begging her former employer to issue a statement and make it public news that the speech had been looked over by its lawyers.

When this did not happen, Ms Wilkinson said her “main focus” then shifted to finding her own legal representation because Network Ten had demonstrated it had “no real interest” in helping her.

“My primary concerns at all times were that my legal interests were at the forefront of whomsoever I engaged as my independent legal team because it was becoming very apparent to me that Channel 10 and [Thomson Geer] were conflicted when it came to representing me in these defamation proceedings,” Ms Wilkinson said.

In a board of inquiry’s examination of Mr Lehrmann’s abandoned criminal trial – which is currently the subject of ACT Supreme Court proceedings – it became clear Ms Wilkinson also approached former Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, for advice.

While Mr Drumgold allegedly told Ms Wilkinson “any publicity could give rise to a stay”, she and Network Ten’s lawyers were under the impression Mr Drumgold never advised her not to give the speech.

Even when media turned to reporting Ms Wilkinson had instead ignored Mr Drumgold’s advice, she said the network “did nothing to address” the issue in any of their public statements.

YouTube account holder hit with possible contempt charge

At the end of last year’s hearings, Justice Lee ordered that YouTuber and owner of website Feminism Debunked, Glenn Logan, appear before the court for broadcasting parts of the defamation hearing.

Although he was ordered to show up at 9:30am, Mr Logan was nowhere to be seen, drawing the ire of Justice Lee.

“It’s not like tee time at a suburban golf club,” Justice Lee said.

“It is unsatisfactory, [and] I’m not going to wait for Mr Logan to arrive.”

Appearing in his absence, Mr Logan’s counsel, Patrick Schmidt, said his client was willing to waive a right to silence and make full admissions of breaching the court’s orders.

Mr Schmidt said Mr Logan’s actions were “not intentional” because he was not monitoring the broadcast when orders were made to shut down his own live stream and take down the videos.

However, a video posted to the Odysee website was played to the court, in which Mr Logan urged viewers to watch and “like” his YouTube videos because the platform kept taking them down.

Mr Logan claimed YouTube was run by “extreme feminists”.

Justice Lee has referred the matter to a registrar for the preparation of a statement of charge for contempt of court.