Lehrmann settles defamation suit against ABC over Press Club broadcast

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Former federal Liberal political staffer Bruce Lehrmann has settled his defamation case against the ABC over a Press Club broadcast he alleged defamed him by suggesting he raped Brittany Higgins in Parliament House.

Matt Collins, KC, acting for the ABC, told the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday, ahead of the start of the trial, that “the matter has settled and the parties have … executed a deed of settlement”.

Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann, left, on Wednesday.Credit: Louise Kennerley

Lehrmann’s case against Network Ten and high-profile journalist Lisa Wilkinson continues and the trial started in Sydney on Wednesday.

Lehrmann alleges an interview Wilkinson conducted with his former colleague Higgins on The Project, broadcast on February 15, 2021, defamed him by suggesting that he raped Higgins in then-defence industry minister Linda Reynolds’ office in March 2019.

Lisa Wilkinson, left, arriving at court on Wednesday.Credit: Louise Kennerley

Ten is seeking to rely in part on a truth defence. It has previously told the court the network would call 28 witnesses, including Higgins and Wilkinson.

Lehrmann was named in the media in August 2021, six months after the Ten interview, when he was charged with sexual intercourse without consent.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge. His trial was aborted in October last year due to juror misconduct.

The charge was later dropped altogether amid concerns about Higgins’ mental health. Lehrmann has always maintained his innocence.

More to come.

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