Two different stories. Two different diagrams of what happened in the ministerial suite 23, ground floor Parliament House on the night Brittany Higgins alleges she was raped by Bruce Lehrmann.
During the defamation trial that Justice Michael Lee is presiding over, Mr Lehrmann and Ms Higgins have been handed two different coloured pens and asked to mark up a map of the ministerial office.
In Mr Lehrmann’s recounting of that night, they walk into the office together after the security guard opens the door. The moment that they enter the room is recorded on CCTV.
He told the Federal Court that he turned left towards his desk. Ms Higgins he says turns right towards the minister’s private office, a room he told police he would not dare enter.
In his marking of the office diagram the minister’s suite is blank. He never entered the room. In Ms Higgins, she has marked up a couch in blue pen, with a stick figure of a person lying on it.
Mr Lehrmann buzzed the intercom to gain entry via the ministerial carpark about 1.40am.
“Hi mate, Bruce Lehrmann here with Minister Linda Reynolds. I have been requested to pick up some documents. I have forgotten my pass,” the court heard Mr Lehrmann saying in the audio.
The former Liberal staffer conceded in the defamation trial this week that reason wasn’t true. In fact, he needed to pick up his house keys to return home.
“You recall previously hearing that audio in the criminal trial?’’ Mr Lehrmann’s barrister, Steve Whybrow SC asked. “Was that statement accurate?”.
“No, it was not,’’ Mr Lehrmann replied.
At the security desk, CCTV captures Ms Higgins having to take off her shoes to get through the security checks. She struggles to get them back on before shrugging.
Mr Lehrmann stands watching while she grabs the shoes and runs ahead smiling. She is walking down the corridor barefoot in a white dress.
The security guard, Nikola Anderson is opening the door now. It’s 1.48am. The door closes.
Mr Lehrmann does not re-emerge until he left the office without her at 2.31am the same morning. He leaves through a back door of the office that is to the left of his desk on the diagram.
Monday, November 27
On Monday, former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann revealed that he “spiralled” and turned to cocaine on the night The Project interview with Brittany Higgins aired, telling mates “need bags.”
Earlier this year the Federal Court published messages between Mr Lehrmann and his ex-friend John Macgowan on the night the story broke.
Asked about the exchange by Ten’s barrister Matthew Collins KC on Monday, Mr Lehrmann agreed he was talking about cocaine.
“I was in a bad place,’’ Mr Lehrmann said.
“You decided to spend some time that night with some friends and that substance,’’ Dr Collins asked.
“Yes, Dr Collins. I spiralled pretty quickly,’’ Mr Lehrmann replied.
Mr Lehrmann received a text from a mate called Harry Hughes about the “pretty cooked allegation” that Brittany Higgins had been raped at Parliament House on the morning the story first broke, but insists he never knew the first story was about him.
Another former Liberal staffer John Macgowan also texted him to ask if he had any gossip on “who the Canberra rape guy is” but then later advised him not to “out” himself as the accused.
Harry Hughes, who is former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s nephew, and former Liberal strategist John Macgowan, who was giving him media advice.
“He’s a good friend of yours?’’ Dr Collins asked.
“Not anymore,’’ Mr Lehrmann replied.
A Cellebrite report of his phone that was released in March by the Federal Court shows that on that day Mr Lehrmann again texted a friend John Macgowan three times at 10.11pm, saying “Need bags” and “Let’s get it done” and “No one has work tomorrow.”
Shortly afterwards, he told Macgowan that a friend was paying.
“Lol so let’s get lit,” he said.
Tuesday, November 28,
Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann confirmed on Tuesday that Channel 7’s Spotlight program has been paying his rent for a year as part of an arrangement to deliver a “bombshell” interview with host Liam Bartlett.
Under the agreement he also agreed to provide “all information, documents, video and photographs” reasonably requested by Seven.
However, Mr Lehrmann said he did not do this and only provided an interview.
“And it was part of the agreement, isn’t it, that you were paid for 12 months of accommodation by Channel Seven?,’’ barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC asked.
“Yes,’’ Mr Lehrmann replied.
Asked how much the year’s rent was worth, Mr Lehrmann said he didn’t know because the “network handled the accommodation arrangements”.
Executive producer Mark Llewellyn told news.com.au in May that the Seven Network had not paid Mr Lehrmann for the exclusive interview.
Mr Lehrmann slammed Lisa Wilkinson’s Logies speech as “reckless” and Scott Morrison’s speech about Brittany Higgins as “stupid” and prejudicing his right to a fair trial.
Channel Ten’s barrister Matt Collins KC told the Federal Court on Tuesday that a toxicologist will be called to give evidence about Ms Higgins’ state on inebriation on the night in question.
Brittany Higgins was likely five times the legal limit to drive – 0.23 – on the night she was allegedly raped and she weighed just over 60 kilos, the Federal Court has heard.
Ms Higgins was in the witness box for the first time on Tuesday during the defamation trial after Mr Lehrmann concluded his evidence.
Dr Collins commenced by asking her a “strange question” which was how much she weighed at the time of the alleged rape.
“I was much thinner at the time. Early 60 kilos,’’ she said. Ms Higgins said she was around 5 foot 7 tall.
Justice Michael Lee, who is presiding over the case, has already heard evidence that Ms Higgins drank 12 vodkas and no non-alcoholic drinks.
Ms Higgins later gave evidence she didn’t drink tonic water because “it had calories.”.
Mr Lehrmann initially told the federal court he could not remember buying her drinks but later conceded the CCTV suggested he had.
Wednesday, November 29
Brittany Higgins revealed she “turned up the contrast” in a photo of a bruise she originally claimed was sustained during an alleged rape.
But in evidence to the Federal Court, she has now conceded it could also be from falling over on the night when she was drunk.
The bruise photograph was first published by media outlets when former Liberal staffer Ms Higgins went public with her story in 2021.
Ms Higgins was asked how the injury was sustained.
“I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought it could have been either the assault or tripping up the stairs,’’ she said.
Ms Higgins earlier revealed in court her shock and distress at learning from a male colleague that she had been found naked in the ministerial office and the moment he bluntly asked: “Were you raped?”
Ms Higgins wept as she delivered a graphic account of her alleged rape in a ministerial office, telling the Federal Court she woke up and “he was on top of me”.
“I told him ‘No’, on a loop,” Ms Higgins said. “I don’t know how many times I said it. I told him to stop. I couldn’t scream for some reason.
“I was just like trapped in my throat. I couldn’t do it. And I felt really waterlogged and heavy and I couldn’t, I couldn’t move.
“I was spread open and exposed. My legs were pinned open so he was on top of me, one leg was kind of pinned against the side of the couch and the other one was pinned open.
“And all of a sudden … he stopped and he got off me.”
Thursday, November 30
Brittany Higgins had admitted lying about attending a doctor in the week after her alleged rape.
During her cross examination on Thursday, she told the Federal Court that she lied to police, her boss and her former boyfriend Ben Dillaway about going to the doctor.
“I wasn’t looking after myself. I hadn’t gone to a doctor,’’ Ms Higgins said.
“I kept making appointments. But I didn’t do it.”
Ms Higgins said she was “terrified” and too scared to go to a doctor.
However, Mr Whybrow said the claim she was going to a doctor when she asked her chief of staff for a day off was “another lie”.
“And you didn’t have sex with anybody that night. You passed out drunk.”
Friday, December 1
In an extract of the a five-hour recording of a pre-interview conducted by Channel 10 with Ms Higgins was played where Lisa Wilkinson describing Anthony Albanese as a “dead duck”.
The pre-interview for The Project was recorded by producer Angus Llewellyn on January 27, 2021 prior to the taped interview that was recorded later and broadcast on February 15.
In an extract of audio played to the Federal Court, Ms Higgins partner David Sharaz can be heard discussing why he wanted the story to break during a sitting week in Parliament when questions could be asked about how the government supported Ms Higgins.
Ms Wilkinson suggested Mr Albanese could be helpful, but then suggested he was “a bit of a dead duck at the moment”.
Ms Wilkinson then suggested “Tanya Plibersek, definitely”, to which Mr Sharaz said: “Yeah”.
Mr Sharaz told the group: “I’ve got a friend in Labor, Katy Gallagher on the Labor side, who will probe and continue it going.”
Ms Higgins was also asked about why she cleaned the white dress she alleges she was raped in and took it to Perth before wearing it again after telling police it was stored under her bed.
“Do you have any recollection of your thought processes in wearing the dress that you say you were sexually assaulted in to the birthday party of the person you say for the last several weeks had been isolating you and treating you poorly?’” Mr Whybrow said.
Ms Higgins replied that she was trying to “reclaim” the dress from memories of the alleged rape.
“Yeah, of course. It was my favourite dress. I used to wear it all the time and I guess I was trying to reclaim it,’’ she said.
“I couldn’t. So I never wore it after this event.”
“But it was my favourite dress and I thought maybe I could disassociate it from the night.”
Mr Whybrow asked if she had texted an ex boyfriend, Ben Dillaway, who she was trying to rekindle a relationship with.
“We were rekindling things. I was trying to be flirty, I guess,’’ she said.