Bruce Lehrmann, the man who was accused of sexually assaulting former political staffer Brittany Higgins in Parliament House, has shared his take in his first television interview with 7News Spotlight.
The rape charge against Lehrmann – which was eventually dropped – could be traced back to March 2019, when both Lehrmann and Higgins were working for Linda Reyonlds, a former defence minister.
In the time since, Lehrmann has repeatedly denied the accusations, and continued to do so while speaking to Spotlight’s Liam Bartlett.
According to Lehrmann, he was with Higgins and fellow Defence staff members for drinks on the night of the alleged rape, with Lehrmann suggesting that they should move their festivities to a different venue – a nearby club.
Their night out continued into the small hours of the next day, and Lehrmann noted that he had suggested sharing a ride home with Higgins, as they both apparently lived in the same direction from the party.
As he told Bartlett, he had to grab his keys – as well as file some notes – from the office en route, with the two arriving at Parliament House at around 2am. Lehrmann didn’t have his pass, claiming that he “probably just forgot it” as he “wasn’t expecting it to be a big night.”
And as he informed Bartlett, he remembered Higgins telling him that she needed to visit the office too, and claimed that he didn’t know why.
However, over the course of the rape trial, Lehrmann offered three different reasons as to why he’d had to visit Parliament House. The police were told that he needed his apartment keys, but Parliament House security were told that he had been asked to pick up some documents, and Reynolds’ then-chief of staff Fiona Brown was told that the two had gone into the office to share whiskey.
While that detail is unclear, the episode featured never-before-seen CCTV footage of Lehrmann and Higgins that confirmed the two had been together at both bar and Parliament House.
First, the two could be seen at Canberra’s The Dock bar with their colleagues. And then, at 1:47am, they were recorded entering Reynold’s office, before Lehrmann was spotted leaving Parliament House at 2:30am.
Lehrmann claimed that once they were let into the office, he and Higgins didn’t exchange any words, and instead parted ways. According to Lehrmann, that was the last he saw of her.
He told Bartlett that he hadn’t let Higgins know he was leaving, only for Bartlett to ask why they hadn’t gotten a ride home together.
“She didn’t tell me she needed to go home,” Lehrmann said. “She told me she also had to go to parliament.”
Bartlett questioned it further, wondering why Lehrmann hadn’t checked in on Higgins, but Lehrmann maintained that his mind “was focussed on getting my keys, noting down what I needed to note down.”
And when asked about Higgins being found naked in Reynold’s office, Lehrmann continued to deny the allegations, instead offering that he couldn’t “talk to her because I never saw her again. That was news to me, with the rest of the country.”
As Bartlett then pointed out, “you can then 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.”
Images: 7NEWS Spotlight / Seven
This article first appeared on Over60.