Thursday, June 8Welcome

Brittany Higgins: The rape case that rocked Australian politics

Sydney, Australia

Australian prosecutors have closed a high-profile case against a former government employee accused of raping a colleague inside the parliament building, saying a retrial poses a “significant and unacceptable risk” to the woman’s life.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Attorney General Shane Drumgold told reporters on Friday that the mental health risks to Brittany Higgins must outweigh the need to resolve the case. said.

Higgins, a former federal government employee, claims she was raped by former colleague Bruce Lehrman in the office of the then-Australian Defense Minister in 2019.

Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to non-consensual intercourse and maintains that he never had intercourse with Higgins, consensual or otherwise.

The charge has now been withdrawn.

Dragold said it had received “compelling evidence” from two independent medical experts that “the ongoing trauma associated with this indictment poses a significant and unacceptable risk to Higgins’ life.” rice field.

“The evidence makes it clear that this is not limited to the harm of submitting evidence in a witness box,” he said.

The case went to trial in Canberra in October, but a judge ordered a new trial, citing juror misconduct. A retrial was scheduled for February 2023.

But Drumgold told reporters on Friday that the retrial was no longer in the public interest.

“This left me with no choice but to file a notice refusing to proceed with a retrial in this matter which I did this morning. This ends the prosecution,” Drumgold said.

Higgins is currently hospitalized, according to a statement by her friend Emma Webster on Friday.

“The last few years have been difficult and unforgiving,” said Webster. “Brittany is very appreciative of all the support she has received, especially from her mental health practitioners.”

Brittany Higgins will appear in court on October 14, 2022.

In the original trial, the judge dismissed the 12 jurors deliberating the rape verdict after it was revealed that the jury investigated the allegations and took the information to the jury room.

Higgins alleged Railman raped her after the two shared a taxi to the Capitol after spending a night in the capital with a colleague in 2019.

Higgins contacted police shortly after the incident, but did not file a formal complaint, citing concerns that furthering the matter could damage her career.

But in 2021, she spoke to the media not only about the location of the alleged attack, but also because of Higgins’ claims that she was discouraged from coming forward to avoid political repercussions before the 2019 election. The incident made headlines.

Lehrmann was arrested and charged last year, but the trial was postponed. There were also concerns that the case would become widely known and that a fair trial would not be held.

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