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Lehrmann settlement amounts released

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Bruce Lehrmann is suing Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson for defamation. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw.

News Life Media and the ABC have lost a bid to keep the details of their settlement with Bruce Lehrmann kept confidential.

Mr Lehrmann is suing Network 10 and journalist Lisa Wilkinson in the Federal Court, alleging he was defamed by a The Project interview with Brittany Higgins in which she alleged she was raped by her former colleague in Parliament House.

In May this year, Mr Lehrmann settled his defamation claim against News Life Media, the publisher of news.com.au, and journalist Samantha Maiden - who first broke the story in February 2021.

No compensation was paid to Mr Lehrmann however the company did agree to pay part of Mr Lehrmann’s legal costs relating to the suit before it was abandoned.

Mr Lehrmann also sued the ABC over Ms Higgins’ National Press Club speech.

The matter was set to be heard alongside the Network 10 proceedings, but on the opening day of the trial last month the court heard the matter had been settled.

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Bruce Lehrmann previously settled his defamation proceedings with News Life Media and the ABC. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone.

In the Federal Court on Wednesday, News Life Media asked the amount paid towards Mr Lehrmann’s legal fees should be subject to a non-publication order.

The ABC sought broader orders, that the entirety of the public broadcaster’s settlement should be suppressed.

Barrister Dauid Sibtain SC, appearing for both media companies, argued he was seeking the orders on the basis that it was necessary for the “proper administration of justice”.

He argued that should the details of the confidential settlements be released, it would act as a dissentive for media companies in similar positions to resolve their claims.

“These parties and future parties will not be inclined to participate in a settlement process,” Mr Sibtain argued.

However Justice Michael Lee said that both arguments fells short of establishing “necessity” as he dismissed the application.

“I do not believe that either order should be made,” Justice Lee said.

In documents released by the Federal Court on Wednesday night, it was revealed the ABC has agreed to pay $150,000 in a settlement sum, including $143,000 as contribution towards Mr Lehrmann’s costs of the proceedings and $7,000 for solicitors acting for Laura Tingle.

The payment was to be made within 14 days of settlement.

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Journalist Lisa Wilkinson and Network 10 are defending the matter. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone.

The national broadcaster also agreed to publish a statement in correcting and clarifying its actions, and remove the Facebook video showing the press club address.

It also agreed not to republish the video to YouTube after it was removed in April this year.

Mr Lehrmann’s case was dropped against News Life Media in May after he and the media company came to an agreement outside of court.

In documents released by the court on Wednesday, it was revealed the company paid Mr Lehrman $295,000 towards his legal costs within seven days of the settlement.

News Life Media also had to place an Editor’s Note on the articles immediately, but did not have to make an apology to Mr Lehrmann.

No damages were paid and the two articles of concern remain online.