Prosecutors drop cost in Australia’s Parliament Home rape case


The case towards a political staffer who allegedly raped a colleague inside Australia’s Parliament Home has been ended by prosecutors involved about his accuser’s psychological well being.

Bruce Lehrmann went to trial in October on the cost of raping Brittany Higgins in March 2019 in a federal senator’s workplace within the nation’s capital, Canberra. A mistrial was declared resulting from juror misconduct when exterior materials associated to the case was discovered within the deliberation room.

Lehrmann had pleaded not responsible to the one cost of sexual activity with out consent. His retrial, which had been scheduled for subsequent 12 months, will now not proceed.

The director of public prosecutions for the Australian Capital Territory defined his determination Friday morning at a information convention in Canberra. Shane Drumgold mentioned that the fabric he obtained from two medical specialists satisfied him that the “trauma” of a retrial would current “a major and unacceptable threat to the lifetime of the complainant.”

Jury discharged in trial over alleged rape at Australia’s Parliament

Drumgold famous {that a} retrial would have required Higgins to testify about her alleged rape for a second time. He mentioned there was “an inexpensive prospect” of conviction however that “the security of the complainant in a sexual assault matter have to be paramount.”

“Ms. Higgins has confronted a degree of non-public assault that I’ve not seen in over 20 years of doing this work,” he mentioned. “She’s performed so with bravery, grace and dignity, and it’s my hope that this may now cease and Ms. Higgins will likely be allowed to heal.”

A buddy of Higgins told the Age newspaper on Friday that she was hospitalized. The lawyer for Lehrmann didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Higgins testified this fall that she and Lehrmann, who have been then of their mid-20s and dealing for the governing conservative get together, had been out consuming on a Friday evening as half of a bigger group and agreed to share a taxi once they left the bar about 1.45 a.m. Lehrmann had the motive force take them to Parliament Home, the place they went to their boss’s workplace. She mentioned she handed on the market and woke to him raping her.

Lehrmann advised police that each had gone again to complete work and that they entered the constructing after which went their separate methods. A safety guard testified that she noticed Higgins alone and bare on the sofa within the senator’s workplace shortly after 4 a.m. A protection lawyer mentioned she might need undressed herself and handed out, making up the allegation to save lots of face.

Higgins went public with the rape allegation in 2021. It was certainly one of a number of high-profile sexual assault claims intersecting with Australian federal politics that led to protests and widespread media consideration that 12 months. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. revealed a declare that, a long time earlier, the nation’s then-attorney basic, Christian Porter, raped a girl who later died by suicide. Porter denied the allegation.

A evaluate of federal Parliament’s employees discovered {that a} third of respondents mentioned that they had been sexually harassed on the job. About the identical quantity mentioned that they had been bullied.

Women march for justice in Australia as rape claims hit highest levels of office

The conservative Liberal Celebration’s remedy of girls in politics was seen as a major consider its election loss in Might.

Lawmakers within the territory the place the trial happened plan to debate adjustments wanted in statutes to permit courtroom recordings as proof in sexual assault retrials, the Canberra Occasions reported last month. Doing so would imply complainants wouldn’t must testify greater than as soon as.

“Our legal guidelines have to be reformed in order that survivors of assault can discover justice, with out discovering themselves on trial,” federal impartial lawmaker Allegra Spender posted on Twitter after the cost towards Lehrmann was dropped.

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