Former Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has been accused in the ACT Supreme Court of offering “cross examination tips” to lawyers acting for the accused during the trial.
Bruce Lehrmann is accused of sexually assaulting the former Liberal staffer in Senator Linda Reynolds’ office in the early hours of March 23, 2019.
Mr Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent.
In evidence to the ACT Supreme Court, Senator Reynolds has confirmed she texted defence lawyers for Mr seeking transcripts of Brittany Higgins’ evidence on October 6.
Prosecutor Shane Drumgold confronted Senator Reynolds with the text messages to defence barrister Steve Whybrow in court.
He said they were sent at 4.47 pm Thursday October 6. Mr Drumgold also revealed that Senator Reynolds’ partner was sitting in court throughout the trial.
“You were aware Ms Higgins had started her cross examination?’’ Mr Drumgold.
“You sent a text, “Hi do you have the daily transcripts.’”
Senator Reynolds told the court this was correct.
“Yes I did ask for them. But again it was explained to me that wasn’t appropriate,’’ she said.
Mr Drumgold also put it to Senator Reynolds that she offered suggestions for the cross examination.
He said she had advised, “Also if you have text messages between Brittany and Nicky they may be revealing,’’ Mr Drumgold said.
Nicky Hamer is a former press secretary to Senator Reynolds who worked with Ms Higgins at the office at the time of the alleged incident.
“You are alerting the defence lawyer two hours into the cross examination. You are injecting yourself,’’ Mr Drumgold said.
Senator Reynolds told the court that, “I haven’t been through this process before.”
“You are clearly politically invested in the outcome of this trial,’’ Mr Drumgold said.
Initially, he suggested she was in Rwanda at the time.
“You are in Rwanda.You’ve not got better things to do in Rwanda?”,’’ he said.
But Senator Reynolds clarified she was actually in Perth.
During a tense examination today, Mr Drumgold told the ACT Supreme Court today that Senator Reynolds’ partner has been sitting in the court during the trial.
He then confronted Senator Reynolds in court with a claim she had sought transcripts from the defence team.
“You have sought the transcripts haven’t you,’’ Mr Drumgold said.
“Why? You arranged for your partner to be sitting in the court.”
The court was told that Senator Reynolds was in Rwanda and her partner was in court taking notes.
Senator Reynolds she had not secured the transcripts because her lawyer told her it would not be appropriate.
“My lawyer was very clear,’’ she said.