Network Ten to reopen Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial days before decision

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In a bombshell twist in the Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial, Network Ten is seeking to call new evidence, just days before the judge is due to deliver his decision.

Federal Court Justice Michael Lee was to hand down his decision in Mr Lehrmann’s case against Ten and presenter Lisa Wilkinson on Thursday.

On Sunday, the federal court revealed Justice Lee would hear “an urgent interlocutory application by Network Ten to reopen its case” on Tuesday at 5pm.

Justice Lee had adjourned the case in December, after five-week trial which included an extensive appearance by Brittany Higgins, who accused Mr Lehrmann of raping her inside their then-boss Linda Reynolds’ Parliament House office.

Justice Lee was to rule whether Mr Lehrmann was defamed by Wilkinson and Ten when The Project broadcast an interview with Ms Higgins in 2021 during which the former staffer made the allegations.

While he was not named in the report or Ms Higgins’ speech, Mr Lehrmann claims he was still identified by the media companies and that there were four defamatory meanings in their publication implying he raped Ms Higgins at Parliament House in March 2019.

He vehemently denies the allegations, and Ms Higgins’ rape trial was aborted with no findings made against him.

Justice Lee said he would begin writing his judgment the day after the trial ended, and had to consider more than 15,000 pages of transcript and 1000 separate exhibits including extensive CCTV footage and audio and video recordings.

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