28 February 2022

Possibility of permanent stay application raised in case against Brittany Higgins' accused rapist

| Albert McKnight
Brittany Higgins

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

The possibility of an application for a permanent stay of legal proceedings has been raised in the case against the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins.

ACT Policing alleged 26-year-old Bruce Lehrmann had sexual intercourse with Ms Higgins without her consent at Parliament House on 23 March 2019.

He has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and his case was committed to trial late last year.

Mr Lehrmann did not appear in the ACT Supreme Court in person when his case was briefly mentioned on Monday (28 February), during which Justice Michael Elkaim said it was his understanding there was to be an application for a permanent stay.

This refers to the court’s ability to stop legal proceedings.

Defence barrister John Korn said there was no such application for a variety of reasons, but that was not to say there wouldn’t be one and that “hopefully there will be”.

He added he would not appear in such an application himself and another legal team would do so instead if it were to take place.

Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC said it was the first he heard of such an application and Justice Elkaim told Mr Korn if there was to be one then it had to be made by mid-March.

He adjourned the matter to 10 March and Mr Korn said he hoped to be able to let the court know about the state of such an application then.

Mr Lehrmann’s trial is currently scheduled to begin on 6 June and is estimated to run for about five weeks.

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