Brittany Higgins: Linda Reynolds breaks her silence in bombshell evidence

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In a gathering days after she was allegedly raped, Brittany Higgins advised her minister boss Linda Reynolds that she ‘could not keep in mind what occurred’ that evening, a courtroom has heard.

Senator Reynolds, who was Australia’s defence trade minister on the time, on Monday advised the ACT Supreme Courtroom her account of her assembly with Ms Higgins in her Parliament Home workplace on April 1, 2019.

The assembly was held in the identical workplace the place Ms Higgins claims Lehrmann allegedly raped her following a drunken evening out on March 23, 2019, a couple of week prior. 

Lehrmann has pleaded not responsible to 1 cost of sexual activity with out consent and is going through a jury trial.  

In a contemporary bombshell, Ms Reynolds – wearing a shiny colored jacket and sporting a contemporary blond bob – was sensationally accused in courtroom of making an attempt to ‘coach’ the defence lawyer, Steven Whybrow, throughout cross-examination, by sending him textual content messages in the course of the trial, whereas she was at a convention in Rwanda.

Ms Reynolds was referred to as as a witness for the prosecution, but admitted to texting the defence lawyer throughout Ms Higgins’ cross-examination on October 6.

She was additionally grilled over her companion sitting behind the courtroom in the course of the trial. 

A sequence of main bombshells dropped in the course of the proof of Australia’s former defence minister Linda Reynolds on Monday

The court heard Reynolds' partner was in the back of the courtroom as Brittany Higgins (above) was giving evidence

The courtroom heard Reynolds’ companion was behind the courtroom as Brittany Higgins (above) was giving proof

Assembly with Higgins 

On Monday afternoon, Ms Reynolds advised the courtroom she didn’t learn about Ms Higgins’ allegations when she held a gathering together with her and her chief of employees, Fiona Brown.

Ms Reynolds stated she believed Ms Higgins was extraordinarily upset concerning the safety breach that was triggered when she and Lehrmann ended up inside Parliament Home on March 23, 2019.

Ms Reynolds and Ms Brown held the assembly after the minister returned from a visit to Perth.

LINDA REYNOLDS’ TEXTS TO BRUCE LEHRMANN’S DEFENCE LAWYER

Prosecutor Shane Drumgold SC grilled former defence minister Linda Reynolds about textual content messages she despatched to defence lawyer, Steven Whybrow, throughout Ms Higgins’ cross-examination.

At 4.27pm on October 6, Ms Reynolds wrote: ‘Hello do you’ve got the each day transcripts.’

Two minutes later, she despatched one other message: ‘Additionally when you’ve got textual content messages between Brittany and Niki they might be revealing.’

‘Niki’ refers to Nicole Hamar, who was referred to as to the witness stand final week.

When requested why she sought the transcript, Ms Reynold advised the courtroom: ‘I had beforehand met with the defence counsel who requested for info related to the case and I knew Brittany and Niki had been buddies and I assumed they may have the ability to shed some mild to the matter.’

Ms Reynolds denied claims that she making an attempt to ‘coach’ the cross-examiner.

She was not given the transcripts. 

The previous defence industries minister advised the courtroom she didn’t ask her chief-of-staff whether or not the safety breach was the only real cause Ms Higgins was so upset.

When Ms Higgins entered her workplace, Ms Reynolds recalled: ‘I defined what the assembly was about … the safety breach. 

‘I requested Ms Higgins concerning the incident and she or he was very apologetic and embarrassed and she or he did apologise. 

‘She additionally indicated that she knew it was not the suitable factor to do and she or he didn’t wish to lose her job.’

She defined that Ms Higgins’s job was by no means in danger.  

Ms Reynolds stated Ms Higgins ‘defined in additional element over the course of the dialogue that she was ‘very drunk and couldn’t keep in mind what occurred.’

‘She stated she wakened the following morning and acquired dressed. it was at that time that she was just a little extra distressed and at that time I assumed, I am not the suitable particular person to be speaking. 

‘If she cant keep in mind what occurred, she’s distressed and getting dressed, I stated to her – I am not the particular person to be having this dialog.

‘I knew we had (Australian Federal Police agent) within the constructing so I advised to her that she may moderately have this dialog with somebody extra certified.

When talking about what she knew about Ms Higgins’ claims within the weeks following the alleged assault, Ms Reynolds advised the courtroom she discovered about many of the allegations on February 15, 2019 – when The Mission aired and a Information Corp article was printed.

‘I discovered plenty of details about that as a result of I beforehand hadn’t had any info – the cleansing, the safety guards, so all that was new information to me,’ she advised the courtroom.

She additionally advised the courtroom she didn’t know Ms Higgins slept in a single day in her workplace.

When requested if there was any ‘animosity’ when Ms Higgins left for Ms Money’s workplace, Ms Reynolds stated there was not. ‘She gave me a gorgeous huge bunch of flowers.’

Ms Reynolds additionally maintained that she advised Ms Higgins she can be supported if she selected to make a proper assertion to police about her allegations.

Bruce Lehrmann is standing trial accused of sexually assaulting Ms Higgins on March 23, 2019. He has pleaded not guilty

Bruce Lehrmann is standing trial accused of sexually assaulting Ms Higgins on March 23, 2019. He has pleaded not responsible

Linda Reynolds grilled 

Throughout a heated second in courtroom, prosecutor Shane Drumgold requested Ms Reynolds whether or not she had tried to acquire details about Ms Higgins’ trial by looking for to get transcripts of the proof from defence lawyer Steven Whybrow.

‘Have you ever sought the transcripts of Ms Higgins on this trial?’ she was requested. 

Ms Reynolds stated: ‘I used to be curious to know what had been stated however I used to be suggested that it was not applicable.’

Ms Reynolds then agreed that her companion had been sitting behind the courtroom throughout Ms Higgins’ proof.

‘My companion has been in courtroom,’ she stated.

When requested whether or not her companion had been reporting again to her, Ms Reynolds stated he had not. 

‘My lawyer was very clear with him to not focus on it with me,’ she advised the courtroom.

Ms Reynolds didn’t obtain the transcripts. 

Simply minutes after she despatched Mr Whybrow the primary message, she despatched one other that learn: ‘Additionally, when you’ve got textual content messages between Brittany and Niki, they might be revealing.’ 

Niki refers to Nicole Hamar, a witness final week.

Ms Reynolds stated: ‘I had beforehand met with the defence counsel who requested for info related to the case and I knew Brittany and Niki had been buddies and I assumed they may have the ability to shed some mild to the matter.’

Mr Drumgold replied: What’s your motive for making an attempt to educate the cross-examination?

Ms Reynolds responded: ‘That’ not what I used to be making an attempt to do.’

Once more, the prosecutor put to her: ‘You are alerting the defence lawyer two hours into cross-examination. You are injecting your self by making an attempt to help in cross-examination.’

The previous defence minister stated: ‘I have never been via his course of earlier than. Each of you’ve got talked to me about my assertion. 

‘Going via this mentally, I’ve executed nothing however for the final 18 months undergo all of this, and it appeared applicable.

Mr Drumgold stated: ‘You are in Rwanda and also you’re texting the defence lawyer about what he might cross look at about. You do not have higher issues to do in Rwanda?

Ms Reynolds replied: ‘Completely I used to be within the case.’

When Mr Drumgold put to Ms Reynolds that she was politically invested within the case in April 2019, Ms Reynolds stated: ‘Completely not. I categorically reject that assertion.’

Mr Drumgold then put to Ms Reynolds that her ‘dominant concern’ amid Ms Higgins’ allegations was the result of the election, which was referred to as for Could 18, 2019.

Ms Reynolds advised the prosecutor that she ‘categorically rejects’ that concern. 

The trial continues

Brittany Higgins bombshell as her outdated boss tells a courtroom she was ’embarrassed’ a narrative might break about her sneaking into Parliament together with her accused rapist in the course of evening – because it’s revealed she BLOCKED him on-line after the incident 

Brittany Higgins was ’embarrassed’ a narrative might come out about her sneaking into Parliament with Bruce Lehrmann, greater than a yr earlier than she went public accusing him of raping her that night, a courtroom has heard.

Senator Michaelia Money, the previous staffer’s ex-boss, advised Lehrmann’s ACT Supreme Courtroom rape trial on Monday that fellow minister Linda Reynolds’ workplace had acquired a media inquiry about Ms Higgins in October 2019.

Ms Higgins had labored for each politicians that yr – first for defence trade minister Ms Reynolds as an assistant media adviser, till transferring to Ms Money’s workplace that very same yr.

Ms Money advised the courtroom that Ms Higgins was involved the difficulty of the safety breach, in March 2019, can be made public as a result of the media enquiry was from a journalist from the Canberra Instances.

‘She was embarrassed as a result of it was in relation to herself and a safety problem,’ Ms Money stated.

‘She and one other employees member returned to the workplace after ingesting … They had been doubtlessly intoxicated.

‘Ms Higgins fell asleep on the sofa and I imagine safety discovered her the following day.’

Ms Higgins didn’t publicly accuse Lehrmann of raping her that night till February 2021. Lehrmann has pleaded not responsible to a single cost of sexual activity with out consent.

Brittany Higgins blocked Bruce Lehrmann on social media in the wake of the incident, the ACT Supreme Court has heard

Brittany Higgins blocked Bruce Lehrmann on social media within the wake of the incident, the ACT Supreme Courtroom has heard

Former attorney-general Michaelia Cash (pictured with Ms Higgins) was one of the first witnesses at court on Monday

Former attorney-general Michaelia Money (pictured with Ms Higgins) was one of many first witnesses at courtroom on Monday

In courtroom on Monday, Ms Money denied figuring out about any sexual assault allegations previous to February 5, 2021. 

Prosecutor Shane Drumgold grilled Senator Money about whether or not she knew concerning the alleged rape or not, and put to her that she was denying any information ‘as a result of it could politically embarrassing’.

Senator Money replied: ‘Completely not … I do not perceive the political connection to this.’

Mr Drumgold continued: ‘I am suggesting, as early as October 2019, that Ms Higgins had a conversations concerning the sexual factor of what she stated occurred to her in Senator Reynolds’ workplace.’

Ms Money replied: ‘Not a sexual factor. The primary time she talked about that was in a dialog on February 5, 2021.’

The senator advised the courtroom the one time she spoke with Ms Higgins concerning the night of March 22, 2019, was in October 2019 – explaining that the dialog was solely concerning the safety breach.

Ms Money stated the one different time they spoke concerning the alleged assault was on February 5, 2021 – every week after Ms Higgins tendered her resignation.

Mr Drumgold then requested whether or not Ms Money was ready to maintain Ms Higgins employment, even after she heard concerning the allegations.

Ms Money responded: ‘Completely. Completely. She was an excellent worker.’

Defence lawyer Steven Whybrow then requested Senator Money whether or not it could be ‘political suicide’ to cowl up an alleged assault, to which she replied: ‘Right … Precisely.’

Bruce Lehrmann arrives at the ACT Supreme Court on Monday, where he is standing trial accused of allegedly raping Ms Higgins in March 2019

Bruce Lehrmann arrives on the ACT Supreme Courtroom on Monday, the place he’s standing trial accused of allegedly raping Ms Higgins in March 2019 

Ms Money’s chief of employees, Daniel Attempt, advised the courtroom he was notified by Ms Reynolds’ workplace that there had been a media enquiry about Ms Higgins in October 2019, and that they might ship somebody round to speak to Ms Higgins.

Mr Attempt advised the courtroom the previous defence minister didn’t go into element, however she did say ‘it was not Brittany’s fault’.

He introduced Ms Higgins right into a board room and somebody from Ms Reynolds’ workplace got here to talk with Ms Higgins. 

Mr Attempt left the assembly room throughout that assembly, however famous Ms Higgins was upset when he returned.

Mr Attempt then introduced Ms Higgins into a gathering with Ms Money. Ms Higgins did not go into element, however she stated it was a couple of safety problem that was handled on the time.

‘Brittany was fairly upset and I did not assume it was applicable to press her for particulars,’ Mr attempt stated.

The office of former defence minister Linda Reynolds (pictured) received a media enquiry about Ms Higgins in October 2019

The workplace of former defence minister Linda Reynolds (pictured) acquired a media enquiry about Ms Higgins in October 2019

‘I simply wished to assist her as finest we might. It turned clear a number of days later there hadn’t been any comply with ups. My understanding initially was they weren’t planning to say something.’

On January 28 2021, the day earlier than Ms Higgins resigned from Ms Money’s workplace, she went into Mr Attempt’s workplace and indicated ‘the incident was upsetting her once more’.

‘She stated she’d been to a psychologist the day earlier than , or she was going to a psychologist the day earlier than. 

‘I used to be shocked she was so upset. She seemed to be very upset – she was crying. I do not assume I would ever seen Brittany cry a lot earlier than.’

Mr Attempt advised the courtroom that the following time he heard concerning the alleged incident was in mid-2020 when Ms Higgins advised him she noticed Lehrmann in Canberra and grew involved that he would enter Parliament.

‘She puzzled if he had a parliamentary cross as a result of she did not wish to see him within the constructing, and I made enquires and he did not have one.

Ms Higgins (pictured) alleges Bruce Lehrmann raped her inside Parliament House in March 2019. Ms Higgins did not appear in the courtroom on Monday

Ms Higgins (pictured) alleges Bruce Lehrmann raped her inside Parliament Home in March 2019. Ms Higgins didn’t seem within the courtroom on Monday

‘I assumed it had associated to the incident in 2019, however I knew it was clearly a delicate matter – he was the opposite particular person concerned so I did not assume it was an unreasonable request.’

Ms Higgins didn’t seem at courtroom on Monday morning. The trial additionally heard proof from a detective investigating Ms Higgins’ rape, a digital forensic investigator. 

Earlier, the courtroom heard particulars of the police investigation into an image of a bruise that was allegedly on Ms Higgins’ leg. 

Digital forensic examiner Peter Reid was solely capable of finding a photograph of a big bruise on her thigh on a Google Drive account.

Mr Reid advised the courtroom the picture had no metadata, location or time, as a result of it had was not one of many 8000 images saved on her telephone.  

Mr Reid was supplied with two extra telephones on July 22, 2021, however the ‘pin numbers supplied had been unsuccessful’.

‘I wasn’t capable of extract any information from these telephones,’ he advised the courtroom.

The courtroom is later anticipated to listen to proof from Linda Reynolds – the defence minister, who was later her boss – on Tuesday.

The trial continues. 

Learn the grovelling apology electronic mail the political staffer accused of raping Brittany Higgins despatched to his minister boss after she threatened to sack him: ‘I do really feel I’ve failed… You will have been the most effective’ 

The person accused of raping Brittany Higgins stated he felt ’embarrassed, ashamed and deeply remorseful’ in an apology letter to a federal minister who wished to sack him for code of conduct breaches, a courtroom has heard.

Bruce Lehrmann, 26, is accused of sexually assaulting the previous Liberal staffer within the parliamentary workplace of then-defence trade minister Linda Reynolds within the early hours of March 23, 2019.

Lehrmann, who labored with Ms Higgins on the time, has pleaded not responsible to 1 depend of sexual activity with out consent within the ACT Supreme Courtroom.

On Tuesday, Ms Reynolds’ former performing chief-of-staff Fiona Brown gave proof, telling the courtroom that Lehrmann was sacked – lower than two weeks after the alleged rape – over three conduct breaches.

Two of the breaches concerned coming into Parliament Home whereas inebriated about 1.45am on March 23, 2019 – he was with Ms Higgins on the time – and for falsely telling safety they had been there for ‘pressing work functions’.

The third breach was a previous incident regarding the ‘mishandling’ of a ‘protected code-worded doc’.

Ms Brown’s proof and Lehrmann’s letter of apology can solely now be revealed resulting from a courtroom order banning publication till Ms Higgins had completed giving proof. 

Letters and emails tendered to the courtroom this week confirmed an change between Lehrmann, Ms Brown and Ms Reynolds in April 2019.

The primary was a letter from Ms Reynolds on April 4 acknowledged her intention to terminate Lehrmann’s job except he might persuade her he shouldn’t be sacked.

The second was Lehrmann’s prolonged electronic mail response the next day, spanning virtually two A4 pages.

Scroll all the way down to learn the e-mail Lehrmann despatched Linda Reynolds and chief of employees Fiona Brown

In the letter, Lehrmann apologised profusely for 'entering the office' at Parliament House after hours, the night he is accused of raping Brittany Higgins. Ms Higgins is seen above on Friday

Within the letter, Lehrmann apologised profusely for ‘coming into the workplace’ at Parliament Home after hours, the evening he’s accused of raping Brittany Higgins. Ms Higgins is seen above on Friday 

In his response Lehrmann apologised profusely for ‘coming into the workplace after hours’ and advised the minister she was ‘the most effective’ boss he’d ever had.

He then detailed how he grew up on welfare with a single mom as a result of his father had died when he was two.

‘I reply feeling embarrassed, ashamed and deeply remorseful,’ he wrote. 

‘I provide no excuses and settle for that coming into the workplace after hours is a breach it doesn’t matter what the rationale.

‘I wish to take the chance to apologise to you and Fiona [Brown] instantly for the place I’ve put you each in due to it… Minister, at no time was I performing with malice, ill-will or intent to trigger oblique or direct harm to you, your workplace or your employees.’

He stated he got here again to the workplace to drink some whiskey

What then-acting chief of employees Fiona Brown advised the courtroom, about Bruce Lehrmann’s causes for returning to Parliament Home

Throughout her proof, Ms Brown advised the courtroom she had a gathering with Lehrmann on March 26 – three days after the alleged rape – to handle the mishandling of the delicate doc.

She advised the courtroom it was a ‘sackable offence’ in itself, nonetheless, she famous his intention, previous to the breaches, had been to depart parliament and search employment elsewhere. His final day would have been that coming Friday, March 29.

For that cause, Ms Brown advised the courtroom there was no disciplinary motion taken in opposition to Lehrmann. 

She merely requested him to go dwelling that night to go searching his workplace and return some other paperwork.

Later that morning, she was knowledgeable concerning the safety breach when Lehrmann and Ms Higgins entered Parliament Home whereas intoxicated, claiming they’d ‘pressing’ work to take care of.

Ms Brown referred to as one other assembly with Lehrmann and requested what he had been doing at work so early within the morning.

‘[Lehrmann] did not agree that he was inebriated,’ she advised the courtroom. 

‘He stated he got here again to the workplace to drink some whiskey.’

Some of the highlights of Bruce Lehrmann's apology message to Linda Reynolds and acting chief of staff Fiona Brown

A few of the highlights of Bruce Lehrmann’s apology message to Linda Reynolds and performing chief of employees Fiona Brown

When requested if she knew how a lot he drank on the workplace, Ms Brown advised the courtroom: ‘My recollection was that it was two glasses.’   

The courtroom heard Ms Brown was significantly involved as a result of he was beforehand caught mishandling paperwork, after which arrived at parliament whereas inebriated claiming he had work to do.

She requested whether or not he had taken any paperwork from the constructing, and gave him quarter-hour to gather his belongings and go away the workplace instantly.

Ms Brown advised the courtroom she wished to stroll him out, primarily to watch that he wasn’t carrying any paperwork – nonetheless, when she went to verify on him about 5 minutes later, he was gone. 

In his apology letter, despatched greater than every week later, Lehrmann didn’t instantly deal with claims that he advised Ms Brown he was in parliament to drink whiskey, he solely refuted the declare that he advised safety he was at work for official functions.

‘This insinuates that I used to be performing underneath the authority from [Ms Reynolds] and this was under no circumstances the case and I actually didn’t make that inference,’ he stated.

Lehrmann wrote the email to his boss, minister Linda Reynolds (above, in the Federal Senate) and acting chief-of-staff Fiona Brown. 'Working for you has been a particular highlight of mine,' he said

Lehrmann wrote the e-mail to his boss, minister Linda Reynolds (above, within the Federal Senate) and performing chief-of-staff Fiona Brown. ‘Working for you has been a specific spotlight of mine,’ he stated

‘This motion was the results of a critical lack of judgement on my half and I apologise and remorse it taking place.’

Nevertheless, he did apologise to Ms Brown for leaving abruptly on his final day.

‘I do provide an additional apology to Fiona for not returning on my last day,’ he wrote.

‘This was a very tough day for me the place I merely spiralled down a darkish path and to see my some 5 years plus come to an finish so rapidly was very stunning for me.

‘This previous week has been very tough and I’ve not been in the suitable thoughts to even take into consideration issues on Capital Hill. That’s the reason I retreated to Queensland to see my mom who has been sick for a lot of months now.’

Lehrmann went on to element his childhood, rising up with a mom who relied on welfare and ‘gave up her desires and aspirations to see her two kids succeed’.

He added, ‘I do really feel I’ve failed’, and stated watching his mom’s sickness had an impression on his decision-making expertise.

The previous political staffer then went on to reward Ms Reynolds for being ‘the most effective’ boss he had throughout his 5 years in parliament, throughout which period he labored underneath six ministers.

‘Not solely are you the primary minister I’ve labored for that truly takes a deep and abiding curiosity within the portfolios you maintain however you genuinely care how one can make the nation a greater place to stay, and it isn’t simply phrases,’ he stated.

‘It’s nothing however an honour to work for any senator, MP or minister however working for you has been a specific spotlight of mine.’

Within the final two paragraphs of his letter, Lehrmann apologised once more for his actions, re-stating that they had been ‘utterly out of character for me and the results of poor resolution making’.

‘I’m sorry to you and Fiona for the place I’ve compelled you in to. I’ve allow you to down significantly and for that I really feel horrible. I’ll settle for the result of your issues,’ he wrote.

The letters tendered to the courtroom confirmed Lehrmann spoke with Ms Brown after sending his electronic mail response, nonetheless, he later acquired one other letter from Ms Reynolds on April 5 notifying that his employment can be terminated.

‘I do stay of the view that your actions contributed to critical breaches of the Ministerial Assertion of Requirements which constitutes critical misconduct,’ Ms Reynolds wrote.

‘This letter is formal notification that your employment can be terminated efficient right now.’

Ms Brown advised the courtroom she didn’t have any additional contact with Lehrmann after April 5.

The trial continues.

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