‘All hers, all hers’ – Lehrmann plied Brittany Higgins with spirits, but denies he was out to get her drunk

Ex-Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann has denied encouraging Brittany Higgins to get drunk at a bar before her alleged rape in a Parliament House office.

Nov 24, 2023, updated Nov 24, 2023
Bruce Lehrmann arrives at the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney.  (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

Bruce Lehrmann arrives at the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

Facing questioning for the third day in his defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson, Lehrmann watched CCTV footage from Canberra bar The Dock taken on a Friday in March 2019.

The footage showed Lehrmann buying drinks for Ms Higgins twice and separately placing a glass of alcohol in her hands and arranging three drinks before her on the table.

“You were encouraging Ms Higgins to get drunk,” Ten’s barrister Matthew Collins KC said during cross-examination on Friday.

“No,” Lehrmann replied.

The former tobacco lobbyist also denied the barrister’s suggestion that he had ensured Ms Higgins had a glass of spirits in her hands at every moment.

In arranging the three drinks on the table, Dr Collins suggested that Lehrmann had said “all hers, all hers” to one of his colleagues.

“I disagree with that,” Lehrmann replied.

Bank and credit-card statements provided by the law student to the court show only one $16 purchase at The Dock that night.

Lehrmann could not explain how he had twice paid for Ms Higgins’ drinks despite CCTV showing him handing a bank card to the bartender.

He has denied having another, undisclosed card.

Lisa Wilkinson (left) arrives at court with Sue Chrysanthou
Lehmann is suing Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson (left) for defamation over a report on The Project. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)
Lehrmann was also unable to say why he told the court on Wednesday that he had not bought drinks for anyone else at The Dock other than one round of beers for a friend.

“I must have been confused about where we were,” he told Justice Michael Lee.

Taking a break after telling the court his “mind was blank”, he acknowledged he had bought drinks for Ms Higgins at least once.

Ms Higgins claims Lehrmann sexually assaulted her in the office of their then-boss, former defence industry minister Linda Reynolds, in the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Lehrmann has consistently denied the allegations.

Earlier in the day, Lehrmann admitted he gave a false account to police about why he and Brittany Higgins returned to Parliament House on the night she was allegedly raped.

Three days after the alleged sexual assault, during a meeting with Senator Reynolds’ then-chief of staff Fiona Brown over a “security incident” on the weekend, Lehrmann said he returned to the office to have two glasses of whiskey.

During an April 2021 interview with federal police, he denied that drinking whiskey was the excuse he gave to Ms Brown about why he was back at Parliament House after hours.

Bruce Lehrmann arrives at the Federal Court
Lehrmann took a break after telling the court his “mind was blank”. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)
“Those answers to the Australian Federal Police were false?” Dr Collins asked.

“Yes,” Lehrmann replied.

“And you knew them to be false?” Dr Collins asked.

“Not at the time,” Lehrmann said.

He is suing Ten and Wilkinson for defamation over a February 2021 report on The Project featuring an interview with Ms Higgins about the alleged sexual assault.

Lehrmann has settled separate defamation proceedings he brought against and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation over their reports about Ms Higgins’ allegations.

The criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court over Ms Higgins’ alleged rape was derailed by juror misconduct and prosecutors did not seek a second trial because of concerns over her mental health.

A landmark report into the ACT legal system and the Higgins case was released in August, making damning findings against now ex-director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold over his conduct during the case.

Lehrmann has separately been accused of raping another woman twice in Toowoomba in October 2021.

That criminal case is still in the committal stage and he is yet to enter a plea, but his lawyers have indicated that he denies the charges.

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