There was no proof to back up claims Brittany Higgins would lose her job at Parliament House if she filed a police complaint about her alleged rape by Bruce Lehrmann, a court has heard.
Network Ten producer Angus Llewellyn made the admission on Wednesday as he gave evidence to the Federal Court.
Lehrmann is suing for defamation over a February 2021 report on The Project regarding Higgins’ claims.
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“Are you saying that at the time the program was broadcast, you had — to use your words — no proof of an allegation that she was being told that if she proceeded with police charges … she’d lose her job,” Justice Michael Lee asked.
“I didn’t have proof,” Llewellyn said.
“Does that mean the answer to my question is yes?” the judge pressed.
“Yes,” Llewellyn responded.
Higgins alleges she was raped by Lehrmann in the Parliament House office of their then-boss, Senator Linda Reynolds, in March 2019.
A TV producer said he had no proof Brittany Higgins would lose her job by filing a rape complaint. Credit: AAP
He denies the allegation, insisting no sexual contact occurred.
High-profile journalist Lisa Wilkinson will take the stand after Llewellyn’s questioning wraps up.
Both have been called by Ten as part of its defence of qualified privilege under which it attempts to prove to the court it had a duty or interest in publishing the story and its audience had an interest in viewing it.
Lehrmann was charged in August 2021 over the alleged rape, but his criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court was derailed by juror misconduct.
Prosecutors did not seek a second trial, citing concerns for Higgins’ mental health.
Lehrmann is also before Queensland courts accused of raping another woman twice in Toowoomba in October 2021.
He has not entered a plea, but his lawyers have indicated he denies the charges.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.