Linda Reynolds and Brittany Higgins mediation talks unsuccessful – with defamation case set to go to trial

A pair of high-profile defamation cases pitting Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds against her former political staffer Brittany Higgins and her fiancé are likely to go to trial after mediation talks were unsuccessful.

The former defense secretary, who plans to retire from politics at the next election, is suing Ms Higgins and David Sharaz over a series of social media posts she claims have damaged her reputation.

Senator Reynolds said she was disappointed that the talks did not resolve the matter “for all those who have been damaged and injured by this saga over the past three years.”

David Sharaz is pictured with Brittany Higgins outside the WA Supreme Court in March

Linda Reynolds is photographed outside court with her lawyer Martin Bennett in March

Linda Reynolds is photographed outside court with her lawyer Martin Bennett in March

“I think it’s time for the truth, as Judge Lee has found in this matter, that all parties must accept all of his findings and all of us must find a way to move forward,” she told reporters outside. the WA Supreme Court in Perth on Tuesday.

‘Too many people have been irreparably damaged by this.’

As she arrived at the court for the talks, Senator Reynolds said it was time for her opponents “to admit they were wrong.”

Senator Reynolds also said that Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and Attorney General Mark Dreyfus should accept Judge Lee’s findings at the Federal Court.

Judge Lee’s judgment in Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson found that, on the balance of probabilities, he had raped Ms Higgins, but that the allegation of a political cover-up “contained objectively few facts, but many speculation’.

The parties in the WA case attended a closed-door mediation in March, but this was also unsuccessful.

Mr Sharaz tweeted in April that he would no longer fight the case because he could not afford to pay the legal fees associated with a trial in July.

Senator Reynolds is suing him over tweets he made and a Facebook comment in 2022.

One defamatory accusation against Mr Sharaz’s tweets was that Senator Reynolds pressured Ms Higgins not to make a genuine complaint to the police about rape in her ministerial office.

Other alleged allegations included that the senator “is a hypocrite in her advocacy for women’s interests and empowerment,” interfered in Lehrmann’s trial and bullied Ms. Higgins.

Ms Higgins is accused of posting defamatory material on her Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) accounts.

Lehrmann has always denied the allegations of sexual abuse. His trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and Ms Higgins’ mental health was cited as the reason for the lack of a retrial.