Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann has settled a defamation case with the ABC over the broadcast of a speech by his alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins.
Lehrmann’s high-profile defamation case over media reports began on Wednesday, with an 18-day hearing scheduled in the Federal Court.
The ABC’s barrister Dr Matthew Collins KC confirmed the settlement had been reached.
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“The matter has settled. The parties have signed or executed the deed of settlement,” he said.
Lehrmann sued the ABC over the live broadcast of a joint speech by Higgins and former Australian of the Year Grace Tame at the National Press Club in February 2022.
His defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson over a report on the sexual assault allegations, aired on The Project in June 2021, will still continue.
Lehrmann is seeking damages and aggravated damages, claiming the reports defamed him and destroyed his reputation.
Higgins claims Lehrmann sexually assaulted her in the Parliament House office of their then-boss, defence industry minister Linda Reynolds, in 2019, an allegation he denies.
The criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court over Higgins’ rape allegations was derailed by juror misconduct and prosecutors did not seek a second trial due to concerns over Higgins’ mental health.
A landmark report into the ACT legal system and the Higgins case was released in August, making damning findings against now ex-director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold over his conduct during the case.
Drumgold has filed his own legal challenge to overturn these findings.
Lehrmann has separately been accused of raping another woman twice in Toowoomba in October 2021.
That criminal case is still in the committal stage and he is yet to enter a plea, but his lawyers have indicated he denies the charges.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
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