Monday May 29, 2023

Trial of man accused of raping Brittany Higgins delayed



The trial of the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins may be delayed by up to three weeks after his barrister pulled out days before it was due to start.

Bruce Lehrmann, charged with sexual intercourse without consent, has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Ms Higgins at Parliament House in Canberra.

He was previously expected to face a six-week trial starting on Monday.

But days before the trial was due to begin, it emerged in court his barrister was unable to appear for him.

Mr Lehrmann’s lawyer told the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday that a replacement had been found, but they needed more time to be briefed.

The court heard the trial would have to start before June 27, to allow the trial enough time.

ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum postponed the trial to a date not before June 20.

Mr Lehrmann’s legal team will return to court next Wednesday to discuss how the case is progressing.

Mr Lehrmann denies raping Ms Higgins in the ministerial office of Linda Reynolds in March 2019.

Chief Justice McCallum refused an application by Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers for a permanent or temporary stay of the trial in late April.

The trial is expected to last four weeks.



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