Why isn’t the Brittany Higgins trial conducted by Judge alone?

Oct 6, 2022 | Publication | 0 comments

The trial of Bruce Lehrmann who is charged with sexual intercourse with Brittany Higgins without consent commenced on 4 October before 16 jurors.

Given the significant media reporting over the allegations, the non-existence of provision for a judge alone trial in the ACT has drawn fresh criticism.

In the ACT, the law requires sexual assault trials to take place before a jury and does not provide an option for the parties to elect for there to be a judge alone trial. This is unlike in New South Wales.

In May 2022, the representatives for the accused, Mr Lehrmanm, brought an application for a permanent stay of proceedings on the basis that the intense and prolonged publicity would make it impossible to find 12 impartial jurors required for a fair trial.

The application was to permanently halt the proceedings, which is different to a temporary stay application which, if successful, would result in a trial being postponed until the impact of the unfair prejudice subsides.

Mr Lehrmann also applied for a take-down order requiring media outlets to delete reports about the case, as well as a non-publication order prohibiting the media from further publishing reports until the trial is concluded.

However, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum “concluded that all of the relief sought in the application must be refused”.

In May 2022, journalist Lisa Wilkinson won a Logie award for most outstanding news coverage or public affairs report for her work on the Higgins allegations and in her speech referred to her coverage of the Higgins story.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources. If you do not wish to receive newsletters from us, please let us know.

Latest Insights

How Vicissitudes Impact Future Economic Loss in Legal Cases

When it comes to calculating future economic loss in legal cases, one concept that often arises is "vicissitudes." But what exactly are vicissitudes, and how do they affect the compensation awarded to plaintiffs? In this article, we'll delve into the definition of...

Can you still make a claim?

Many claims have limitation periods. A limitation period is a set time frame within which an aggrieved person must commence proceedings in a Court. These limitation periods generally commence from the date of the injury and/or incident. Some claims however, such as...

Teacher convicted for failing to report sexual abuse of a child

Teacher, Mr Webb of Trinity College Perth, was unsuccessful in his appeal against his conviction of failing to report sexual abuse of a child in a decision delivered on 13 October 2021. In April 2017, a group of boys from the school went on a school rugby trip to...

Annual Dinner – Parramatta & District Regional Law Society

Western Sydney's legal profession gathered for the Annual Dinner of the Parramatta & District Regional Law Society at CommBank Stadium! We are particularly grateful to Dr Hugh McDermott MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General, Senior Vice...

What compensation can I get if I have been injured at work?

If you have a work-related injury or illness, you may be able to claim compensation for lost income, medical expenses, travel expenses, domestic assistance, pain and suffering and permanent impairment. All employers are required to have workers compensation insurance...

Court makes provision for son left out of father’s Will

The recent Supreme Court of New South Wales decision of Rathswohl v Court  NSWSC 356, involved 3 siblings disputing their entitlements to their late father’s estate. The defendant, Yvette, claimed she cared for her father for the last 18 months before he...

If I die without a Will what can happen?

If you die without a Will there can be many unintended consequences. Some of these consequences may be: A person who you do not intend could control your estate.  This could even be someone you do not know.  An executor is a person who controls an estate...