SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

CCTV reveals moment before Higgins allegation

Bruce Lehrmann, who previously faced a charge of allegedly raping political staff Brittany Higgins before it was dropped, will appear in his first TV interview. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Ben Appleton
Bruce Lehrmann, who previously faced a charge of allegedly raping political staff Brittany Higgins before it was dropped, will appear in his first TV interview. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Ben Appleton

Bruce Lehrmann has denied all accusations of raping or being intimate with former political staffer Brittany Higgins in his first televised interview.

The rape charge, which was dropped after Lehrmann’s trial was aborted due to jury misconduct, dated back to March 2019 while they both worked for former defence minister Linda Reynolds.

Mr Lehrmann has consistently denied the accusations made against him.

The Spotlight episode showed CCTV footage of Mr Lehrmann and Ms Higgins at a Canberra bar, The Dock, with colleagues on March 22, before they are seen entering Ms Reynolds’ office at 1.47am. Mr Lehrmann was recorded leaving Parliament House at 2.30am.

Screen grabs from Seven's Spotlight program, where Lehrmann is pictured in a blue shirt and Brittany Higgins in a white dress (right of Lehrmann). Picture: 7Spotlight
Screen grabs from Seven's Spotlight program, where Lehrmann is pictured in a blue shirt and Brittany Higgins in a white dress (right of Lehrmann). Picture: 7Spotlight
CCTV footage showed Brittany Higgins and Bruce Lehrmann entering Linda Reynold’s office at 1.47am. Picture: 7Spotlight
CCTV footage showed Brittany Higgins and Bruce Lehrmann entering Linda Reynold’s office at 1.47am. Picture: 7Spotlight
Lehrmann, pictured right, was seen leaving Parliament House at 2.30am. Picture: 7Spotlight.
Lehrmann, pictured right, was seen leaving Parliament House at 2.30am. Picture: 7Spotlight.

During the interview with 7Spotlight’s Liam Bartlett, Mr Lehrmann said he had been “kicked to a kerb” by colleagues.

“It just infuriates me,” he said.

“I’m seeing friends of mine block me on Facebook and remove me from group chats.

“That was one of the worst things to see, people were dropping me because I was politically inconvenient to be associated with.”

He said he has been forced to “dip into” his mum’s superannuation and is sometimes given money by his uncle. Asked by Bartlett whether his mum believes him, Mr Lehrmann said: “Yes”.

He went on to say his uncle would often give him cash.

“Every Saturday he tries to win on the horses and if he has a big win he’ll throw me some cash here and there (to) keep me afloat,” he said.

“So it’s been very tough.”

Lehrmann grilled on Higgins detail

A terse moment during the interview happened when Mr Lehrmann was grilled over why he returned to Parliament House, and why he didn’t check on Ms Higgins who was in Ms Reynolds’ office.

They had shared an Uber back to the office, with Mr Lehrmann claiming he had to return to fetch his keys.

“I had assumed that she (Brittany Higgins) was also there to do some work in her capacity as a media advisor,” Mr Lehrmann told Bartlett.

Never-before-seen CCTV footage of Brittany Higgins and Bruce Lehrmann. Picture: 7 News Spotlight
Never-before-seen CCTV footage of Brittany Higgins and Bruce Lehrmann. Picture: 7 News Spotlight
Brittany Higgins is seen walking through Parliament House while carrying her shoes. Pictures: Seven Picture - Seven News Spotlight
Brittany Higgins is seen walking through Parliament House while carrying her shoes. Pictures: Seven Picture - Seven News Spotlight

“My mind was focused on getting my keys, noting down what I needed to note down and getting back to my girlfriend who had called a number of times”.

Asked multiple times why he didn’t check on Ms Higgins who he claims had gone to Ms Reynold’s office, he maintained he was making notes to prepare for Question Time.

“If we follow your line about being a gentleman, I would have thought the least you could do is just pop your head, take your two seconds and say: ‘Are you right have you finished because I’m going… do you want to just be dropped off at home?’” Bartlett quizzed.

Bartlett also asked why he was working on notes for question time, when it was days away.

Defending his actions, Mr Lehrmann said: “It was her first question time that she was about to step into”.

Mr Lehrmann was asked multiple times why he didn’t check on Mr Higgins after they returned to Parliament House. He said he was focused on working. Picture: Channel 7 Spotlight
Mr Lehrmann was asked multiple times why he didn’t check on Mr Higgins after they returned to Parliament House. He said he was focused on working. Picture: Channel 7 Spotlight

Lehrmann lashes Higgins photo

The one-time staffer is also pressed on how Ms Higgins was found naked on Ms Reynold’s couch, given Mr Lehrmann has denied raping her or them being intimate together.

Mr Lehrmann said: “That is a great question. I mean, I don’t know. I can’t talk to her because I never saw her again. That was news to me, with the rest of the country.”

Bartlett countered his response, and said: “What, disrobing on her own? Is that how she ends up naked?”

“You can see the contradiction in this.

“She’s naked on a couch, but here you are acting like a Buddhist monk, making post-it note stickers for a minister.”

He’s also asked about a photo of a bruise which the court in Mr Lehrmann’s trial had heard Ms Higgins received.

Mr Lehrmann denied he was involved in the incident.

Lehrmann makes suicide admission

Mr Lehrmann also spoke about the day the first media article was published on news.com.au by political journalist Samantha Maiden. While he was not identified, he said he was called into the office of his boss at British American Tobacco – where Mr Lehrmann was working in a government relations capacity – and suspended “pending an internal review”.

“(My boss) said that she’d heard from government sources that I was the alleged rapist,” he said.

Mr Lehrmann said he hit his lowest point after The Project aired its interview with Brittany Higgins.
Mr Lehrmann said he hit his lowest point after The Project aired its interview with Brittany Higgins.

He also spoke about getting suicidal ideations, after Ms Higgins’ interview with Lisa Wilkinson aired on The Project.

“I went I went off the deep end so to speak, in sort of 24 to 48 hours after afterwards,” he said.

Asked why he didn’t want to fight the allegations, Mr Lehrmann felt like he had already been convicted by the media.

“I’ve made arrangements to go. My mum was going to be okay, she (was going to) get my superannuation,” he said.

Mr Lehrmann described it as a “low point but a turning point”. He ended up checking into the Royal North Shore Hospital, where he received “clinical help”.

“I just thought that’s a pretty weak way to go to go. I think I should have a stab at trying to fight this.”

‘Why don’t you sue her personally for defamation?’

Barlett also asked whether Mr Lehrmann would sue Ms Higgins for defamation, which he said was “a possibility”.

“I’m not afraid of it. I haven’t ruled it out,” he said.

“But I’m not cognisant of the fact it’s not a good look. (To) kick someone when they’re down.”

In the final moments of Mr Lehrmann’s interview, he revealed his lawyers didn’t want him to appear on Spotlight.

Jury Meets To Consider Verdict In Bruce Lehrmann Trial
Barlett also asked whether Mr Lehrmann would sue Ms Higgins for defamation, which he said was “a possibility”

However, he told Bartlett he was “going to shy away from having my say,” and claimed it wouldn’t be the “last time” people heard from him.

“I know the lawyers don’t want me to say anything but we’ve had the trial, the charge has been dropped, and I think we’ve had enough sh*t shoved down our throats.

“It’s time for a bit of setting the story straight I suppose.”

Mr Lehrmann concluded the interview, and said there was a “bit more to come yet”.

“I think the fire has just been burning so much that I think it’s beware the man who’s got nothing to lose.”

Lisa Wilkinson’s secret lunch

Audio tapes recorded during a secret meeting between Lisa Wilkinson, Channel 10 producer Angus Llewellyn, Brittany Higgins and her boyfriend David Sharaz were aired during the special.

During the meeting, which spanned five hours and happened in the lead up to the sit down interview broadcast on February 15, 2021 where she aired her rape allegations, Mr Sharaz asked Ms Wilkinson what she wanted out of the interview.

Lisa Wilkinson is pictured with Brittany Higgins Picture: Instagram
Lisa Wilkinson is pictured with Brittany Higgins Picture: Instagram

“The inequality that exists out there, whether it’s white privilege, whether it’s male domination, whether it’s you know criminal activity that is suppressed,” she said.

“I’m a girl from the western suburbs of Sydney. I’ll always be motivated by exactly the same thing. People who deserve to be heard, not being heard.”

At one point during the discussion Ms Wilkinson was heard saying to Ms Higgins she does not want “to put words in your mouth” but wanted her to discuss the culture of Parliament House.

“I have every confidence that you will answer that very eloquently, but it’s one you just need to really think about,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but if you can enunciate the fact that this place is all about suppression of people’s natural sense of justice.”

Ms Higgins also spoke about her concern about the prospects of conviction during the lunch.

“If he wants to go after me, like on a civil basis, I think, on the balance of probabilities, I think I could win. I think it’s, if the onus of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, I think that would be different. I don’t think I could win that,” Ms Higgins said.

Mr Lehrmann’s trial in the ACT Supreme Court was aborted in 2022 because of juror misconduct. The Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently dropped the charge of sexual assault.

Lehrmann ‘breaks his silence’

The segment was billed as the former Liberal staffer “breaking his silence” after he faced a charge of raping Ms Higgins inside the office of former defence minister Linda Reynolds. The high-profile trial was aborted due to jury misconduct and the charge was subsequently dropped.

Bruce Lehrmann will speak on Channel Seven’s Spotlight, in his first televised interview, since his sexual assault charge was dropped. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Ben Appleton
Bruce Lehrmann will speak on Channel Seven’s Spotlight, in his first televised interview, since his sexual assault charge was dropped. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Ben Appleton

On Tuesday, Mr Lehrmann discontinued defamation action against News Life media and news.com.au journalist Samantha Maiden following a resolution being reached between the parties. The other defendants remain in the case.

Mr Lehrmann was not named in the reports but claims he was nevertheless identified by the media companies.

Mr Lehrmann’s first media interview was with The Australian in March this year, where he said he was studying law, and had intentions of becoming a criminal barrister.

“I’m hellbent on, you know, I don’t want to stuff around being a solicitor, I want to get there to the Bar and be a barrister and help some of these people out there who have been done over the system,” he said.

“There’s so many aspects legally speaking that lawyers fundamentally, if they go back to their learnings in law school, they should be absolutely climbing the wall and be outraged.”