Unraveling the Web of Lies: Bruce Lehrmann’s Defamation Trial Takes a Twist

Bruce Lehrmann photographed on a break during his defamation trial in Sydney. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

The ongoing defamation trial involving Bruce Lehrmann, the central figure in the aftermath of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations, has taken a dramatic turn as Lehrmann admitted to fabricating information under cross-examination. Lehrmann’s credibility came into question as he confessed to lying twice in a letter to his former boss and again during an interview with Seven’s Spotlight program.

The trial, now in its fourth day, delved into Lehrmann’s inconsistent accounts of events following his after-hours visit to Parliament House in 2019. His various versions of the incident faced intense scrutiny, raising doubts about the accuracy of his statements. The revelation that Lehrmann had requested cocaine on the night Higgins went public with her rape allegation added another layer of complexity to the proceedings.

Lehrmann’s admission that he was not truthful in a letter to his then-employer, Liberal minister Linda Reynolds, was a pivotal moment in the trial. In the letter, he had claimed to have “retreated to Queensland to see my mother,” a statement he now acknowledges as false. Additionally, Lehrmann lied about the reasons for being in the office early on a Saturday morning after a night of drinking in Canberra, further eroding his credibility.

Under cross-examination, Lehrmann conceded that he had not been completely honest with Reynolds, stating, “Well, yes,” when confronted about the inaccuracies. The court learned that Lehrmann ignored calls from Reynolds’ chief of staff, Fiona Brown, who attempted to discuss a security breach related to his actions at Parliament House. Subsequently, Lehrmann was fired for serious misconduct, having accessed the office after hours along with his junior colleague, Brittany Higgins.

As the proceedings continued, Lehrmann’s awareness of the rape allegation’s timeline was questioned. He denied knowing he was implicated until a reporter from The Australian contacted his employer, British American Tobacco, on the afternoon before The Project aired. Lehrmann also admitted to lying during an interview with Channel 7’s Spotlight program, citing concerns about national security implications.

The day concluded with text messages between Lehrmann and friends discussing the procurement of cocaine on the evening The Project interview aired. Lehrmann admitted to being in a “bad place” and acknowledged that he had spiraled quickly, leading him to request the substance.

The trial is set to continue with Lehrmann in the witness box on the following day, promising further revelations and a deeper exploration of the complex web of deceit surrounding this high-profile case.