WARNING: Distressing content
The man accused of raping Brittany Higgins in Parliament House has admitted he told three different stories to three different people when asked why he was in the office at the time the alleged rape took place.
In a 7NEWS Spotlight exclusive, Bruce Lehrmann has offered his version of events.
Watch Spotlight on Channel 7 and stream it for free on 7plus >>
The pair were employed by former minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 – Lehrmann as a political advisor and Higgins as a media advisor – when the rape allegedly occurred.
Charges against Lehrmann were dropped earlier this year when a retrial was abandoned over concerns for Higgins’ wellbeing.
That retrial was only necessary after the first trial was abandoned last October due to a juror’s misconduct in deliberations.
Lehrmann, who maintains his innocence, tells Spotlight’s Liam Bartlett he thought he was “a gentleman” on the night of the alleged rape.
On March 22, 2019, Higgins and other members of the Defence staff were having drinks as a “last hurrah” before the upcoming federal election.
As more than 20 people celebrated, Lehrmann suggested they carry on to a nearby club.
Festivities continued until the early hours of Saturday morning, when Lehrmann suggested he and Higgins share a ride home, telling Spotlight they both lived in the same direction.
But, he says, he had to stop by the office first to collect his keys and file some notes.
The pair arrived at Parliament House at 2am.
“I didn’t have my pass,” Lehrmann tells police in a recorded interview.
“I think I probably just forgot it that night … I didn’t have my keys and belongings because I wasn’t expecting it to be a big night.”
He tells Bartlett that “from my recollection” Higgins had also said she needed to go into the office. He says he didn’t ask why.
“I thought I was being a gentleman in assisting her to do that, in sharing an Uber.”
Lehrmann, throughout his trial, offered three conflicting reasons as to why he needed to go to Parliament House that morning.
The version he told police, that he needed his keys to his apartment, but had also learned information that night that he wanted to write down in Reynolds’ question time folders, is the truth.
But that wasn’t the story he told Parliament House security on arrival, nor the one he told Reynolds’ chief of staff at the time.
To security, he said he had been asked to collect documents.
“Well, coming into parliament is a bit of a process,” he tells Bartlett, defending what he says was a lie.
“So, I needed to ensure that we could get in first to get my keys at that time, because it was a late time. In order to do that, to gain access, I had to say that to get in.”
To chief of staff Fiona Brown, he said he and Higgins had gone into the office to drink whiskey.
Barlett puts to Lehrmann: “But you’ll admit then that doesn’t look good, does it, Bruce?”
He responds: “Of course not. But the fact of the matter is, the version I told the federal police is the truth.”
Once security let them into the office, Lehrmann says he and Higgins didn’t talk. Instead, he claims, they went their separate ways.
That’s the last he says he saw of Higgins.
Despite his stance that he felt he was a “gentleman” on the evening of the alleged rape, Lehrmann says he didn’t tell Higgins when he was leaving.
When questioned why he didn’t ask if she wanted to share a lift home, he says she never asked.
“But she didn’t tell me she needed to go home. She told me she also had to go to parliament.”
Bartlett asks: “But wouldn’t you, just out of curiosity, say, “Oh, Brittany, how long are you going to be?’”
Lehrmann says: “I suppose in hindsight, sure. But my mind was focused on getting my keys, noting down what I needed to note down.”
But when asked why he couldn’t just note it down on Monday morning, he says that it “stood to reason” that he do it while collecting his keys.
Whose reason, he’s asked?
“My reason, so I didn’t forget them.”
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your .
Source : 7news.com.au