16 September 2021

Brittany Higgins' alleged abuser Bruce Lehrmann will fight rape charge

| Albert McKnight
Brittany Higgins

Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in Parliament House in 2019. Photo: Facebook.

The man accused of raping former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins at Parliament House will fight his sexual assault charge.

The ACT Magistrates Court was packed with about 10 journalists on Thursday (16 September), the first time the case against Bruce Lehrmann was heard in court, although the 26-year-old did not appear in person, or by phone or audio-visual link.

Earlier this year, ACT Policing alleged Mr Lehrmann had sexual intercourse with Ms Higgins without her consent at Parliament House on 23 March 2019.

Police received the first report of the matter in April 2019, a formal complaint was made in February 2021 and last month Mr Lehrmann was issued a summons to appear in court.

READ ALSO Man charged over alleged rape at Parliament House

His lawyer, Warwick Korn, told the court his client would plead not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC said the brief of court documents had already been served to the defence, so Magistrate Beth Campbell said Mr Korn had the option of committing the case to the Supreme Court for trial that day.

However, Mr Korn asked for a four-week adjournment to check the documents and send the case to the higher court afterwards.

READ ALSO Parliamentarians, hundreds of staff step forward for Parliament culture review

Magistrate Campbell, who said Mr Lehrmann was in Queensland, told the court he could appear virtually when the case was next heard on 14 October, but he did have to appear in some way.

Region Media has obtained consent to name Ms Higgins as the alleged victim in the matter.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.