Advertisement

Bombshell audio reveals key Lehrmann ‘lie’

LEHRMANN HIGGINS
Bruce Lehrmann is suing Channel 10 over Brittany Higgins’ The Project interview. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Adam Yip.

An audio recording of Bruce Lehrmann talking his way into Parliament House alongside Brittany Higgins has been released by a court, with the clip capturing what Channel 10’s lawyers describe as a “serious lie”.

The Federal Court on Monday released a trove of audio material and CCTV as part of Mr Lehrmann’s blockbuster defamation lawsuit against the broadcaster and journalist Lisa Wilkinson.

The former political staffer sued over Ms Higgins’ interview with The Project in which she alleged she was raped by Mr Lehrmann inside Parliament House, with Justice Michael Lee expected to hand down his judgment in the coming months.

The court on Monday uploaded CCTV of Ms Higgins, wearing a white cocktail dress, and Mr Lehrmann entering Parliament House in the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins entering Parliament House after a night out drinking with colleagues. Picture: Supplied.
LEHRMANN
Mr Lehrmann sued over Brittany Higgins’ interview with The Project. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Monique Harmer.

After a night out drinking with colleagues at two bars, the two staffers entered Parliament House just before 1.45am.

An audio recording released by the court captures the moment Mr Lehrmann buzzes an intercom and asks a security guard to let him in.

“Oh hi mate, Bruce Lehrmann here with Minister Linda Reynolds,” Mr Lehrmann says on the recording.

“We’ve been requested to pick up some documents. I’ve forgotten my pass.”

“Umm, just one second,” the security guard replies.

“Thanks mate, we’re just at the ministerial entrance,” Mr Lehrmann says.

An audio recording of Bruce Lehrmann talking to a security guard as he enters Parliament House which has been released by the Federal Court.

During the trial, Network 10 and Ms Wilkinson’s lawyers attacked the explanations given by Mr Lehrmann for entering Parliament House in the early morning.

In his evidence, he said he went back to Senator Reynolds’ office to collect his keys and while at his desk he made notes on ministerial briefings.

On the stand, he admitted that he lied to get past security.

Asked by his barrister Steve Whybrow SC why he didn’t explain that he had left his keys at his desk and needed them to get into his apartment over the weekend, he said: “I thought security would say ‘bugger off and come back next week’ and I needed to get home.”

But Channel 10’s lawyers attacked it as a “serious lie” that “implicated Senator Reynolds in his deceit”.

“If the true reason Mr Lehrmann sought access to the ministerial suite was to recover his keys, he could have explained to security that he had locked himself out of his apartment over the weekend,” the network’s lawyers said in closing submissions, which have been released by the court.

“He accepted that he could have said that to security but said that he did not tell security that reason because they would have thought it was a ‘minor thing’.”

Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
Mr Lehrmann and Ms Higgins pass through the security checkpoint. Picture: Supplied.

Central to the case is what happened behind closed doors in Senator Reynolds’ suite between 1.48am and 2.30am on the morning of March 23, 2019.

Ms Higgins has alleged that she passed out and woke on a couch to find Mr Lehrmann on top of her raping her.

Mr Lehrmann has denied having any sexual contact with Ms Higgins and says that when he entered the senator’s office he went to the left to his desk and she turned right and he did not see her again that morning.

Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
Ms Higgins took off her shoes as she entered parliament. Picture: Supplied
Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
She struggled to put them back on after passing through security. Picture: Supplied
Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
She could be seen briefly jogging to catch up to Mr Lehrmann. Picture: Supplied

CCTV released by the court on Monday shows Ms Higgins and Mr Lehrmann as they enter parliament about 1.45am and then leave separately some 7½ hours apart.

Security vision shows them approaching the security checkpoint and putting their belongings in a tray before they walk through.

Mr Lehrmann, in a blue shirt and black trousers, goes first, followed by Ms Higgins.

She goes through twice but is told to take off her shoes after she sets off the metal detector.

She struggles to put her shoes on and decides to venture on with her high heels in her hand and her bag under her arm.

Another angle shows Ms Higgins breaking into a brief light jog in an attempt to catch up to Mr Lehrmann, who had already walked off.

Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
The moment Ms Higgins and Mr Lehrmann enter Senator Reynolds’ office. Picture: Supplied

Further CCTV footage shows Mr Lehrmann and Ms Higgins being led through the halls of Parliament House by a security guard, Nikola Anderson.

Mr Lehrmann takes his phone out of his pocket and looks at it as they approach Senator Reynolds’ office and are escorted in.

They enter through the doors at 1.48am and 15 seconds, the CCTV reveals.

Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
Mr Lehrmann is captured leaving parliament just after 2.30am. Picture: Supplied
Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
CCTV of Mr Lehrmann leaving via an exit gate. Picture: Supplied
Assignment Freelance Picture CCTV vision of Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins inside Parliament\n House released by the Federal Court. Picture: Supplied.
Ms Higgins left later that morning. Picture: Supplied

What happened inside the senator’s office over the following 45 minutes is at the heart of the case.

Mr Lehrmann is seen leaving parliament at 2.33am, walking out via the security checkpoint before exiting via a gate.

Ms Higgins is seen on security camera footage leaving Parliament House via the security checkpoint just after 10am, wearing a jacket, which she took from a box inside the senator’s office, and waving to a security guard as she passes.