Stunning last minute twist as Brittany Higgins questions whether she was ‘DRUGGED and raped’ in Parliament in court statement at 11am

Brittany Higgins has questioned whether she was allegedly drugged and raped at Parliament House, new court documents reveal.

The revelations were made in a statement written by barrister Nicholas Owen SC on behalf of Ms Higgins and tendered to the Federal Court on Tuesday in the defamation trial of Bruce Lehrmann.

In her remarks, Ms Higgins responded to questions about her controversial $2.4 million taxpayer-funded compensation package.

And she gave three main reasons why she says she didn’t lie when she gave evidence about her alleged rape.

Mr Lehrmann sued Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson over a 2021 episode of The Project in which Ms Higgins first alleged Mr Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House when they were both Liberal staffers in 2021.

Mr Lehrmann strongly denies the allegations. He was not named on the broadcast, but claims friends and relatives were able to identify him as the alleged rapist.

Judge Michael Lee invited Ms Higgins to submit a motion to ‘avoid any suggestion that she was denied procedural fairness’ before handing down judgment, now set for 10.15am on Monday.

Brittany Higgins (pictured) submitted submissions to the Federal Court on Thursday

“A number of allegations have been made following the evidence prior to the reopening, relating to the conduct of Ms Higgins in particular,” Judge Lee said on Thursday.

‘Certainly in relation to Ms Higgins it will be necessary for me to make findings.’

In her argument, Ms Higgins pointed out that she was only a witness in the defamation trial in December, and was not a party to the proceedings.

Ms Higgins said she would have examined some of the evidence presented to the court more rigorously, potentially calling her credibility into question.

‘Am I drugged?’

One example she used was a document called the ‘master chronology’, offered last Tuesday by former Channel Seven employee Taylor Auerbach, which included a note from Leanne Cross, a senior Australian federal police officer.

According to the document, that note was a record of a phone conversation Ms Cross had with Ms Higgins’ former bosses in April 2019, then Defense Industry Minister Linda Reynolds and her chief of staff Fiona Brown.

In Ms Higgins’ submission, Ms Cross said: ‘I am also concerned because of the information I have heard that this may have happened before or could happen again. (I was referring to information that the alleged victim may have been drugged).

β€œ(AFP officer Paul Sherring) – we need to speak to a whole range of people. The security staff cleaners may have information.”

Ms Higgins said in the document that she was not aware of any suggestion that she had been drugged, and said the subject had not been ‘raised or explored in these proceedings’.

“Although there is now evidence that there was ‘information’ that Ms Higgins had been drugged… the basis on which the concerns were raised was not investigated,” she said.

‘In the context of a serious challenge to the fairness and accuracy of Ms Higgins’ account of the events of the night in question, the possibility that her powers of perception and memory may have been impaired in some way other than alcohol and trauma is a issue that she would have wanted to explore.”

Brittany Higgins is pictured in white, next to Bruce Lehrmann in a light blue shirt, in the pub before her alleged rape

Brittany Higgins is pictured in white, next to Bruce Lehrmann in a light blue shirt, in the pub before her alleged rape

The $2.4 million damages claim

Ms Higgins said in her statement that the nature and purpose of her $2.4 million settlement agreement with the Commonwealth had not been examined by the court, and it would therefore be “extremely unfair” to use it against her.

Her civil claim against the Commonwealth was settled in December 2022 after just one day of mediation, and ten days after the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the sexual assault charge against Mr Lehrmann.

The claim related to her alleged treatment following her allegations of sexual abuse at Parliament House, despite the fact that the allegations were never proven.

The settlement agreement was released during the defamation trial in December. Ms Higgins had told the court that the Albanian government admitted liability and had ‘breached its duty of care and failed to undertake the correct processes’.

However, the deed specifically stated that all claims had been settled “without any admission of liability.”

It attracted criticism because there were significant discrepancies between the evidence she gave about her alleged rape in court and the evidence presented in the affidavit.

In her submission, Ms Higgins said the deed was settled shortly after the rape trial and that she had been hospitalized for mental health problems around that time.

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured outside the court.  He strongly denies raping Brittany Higgins

Bruce Lehrmann is pictured outside the court. He strongly denies raping Brittany Higgins

For that reason, she stated in her argument that there could be no ‘any finding of unfairness’ with regard to the content of the deed.

“There is no proper basis in the evidence in these proceedings upon which any finding can be made as to Ms Higgins’ subjective state of mind upon which any finding of dishonesty could be made in relation to the contents of the deed,” the report said .

Ms Higgins was not cross-examined about the contents of the deed and therefore did not have the opportunity to explain it or justify certain inclusions, she said.

Her argument also stated that Ms Higgins ‘is not a lawyer’ and is therefore not familiar with a ‘complex formal document in the same way that a lawyer is or would be’, and used the example of when she told the court wrongly told the government accepted liability.

“To suggest, for example, that her evidence that the Commonwealth ‘agreed that there was a breach of duty of care’ is unfair because the deed… says no liability was admitted… leads absolutely nowhere,” she said .

β€œFrom a non-attorney perspective, her claim was resolved in that sense by the payment of a significant amount of money. This attack is an extremely subtle point, which was never put to Ms Higgins in cross-examination.

‘There is simply no basis on which to say there is any dishonesty.

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured outside court) is also being sued by Mr Lehrmann over her TV interview with Ms Higgins

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured outside court) is also being sued by Mr Lehrmann over her TV interview with Ms Higgins

‘I didn’t lie’: Brittany’s three reasons

Ms Higgins also rejected Mr Lehrmann’s claims that she is dishonest, and gave three reasons why.

Her first reason was based on a submission from Mr Lehrmann asking why Ms Higgins had lied to Ms Brown, her former boss, about seeing a doctor in the days after her alleged assault.

Ms Higgins argued that she had provided ‘strong’ evidence to explain her ‘conflicted and traumatized response’ in the period following her alleged rape, suggesting this was ‘completely consistent with contemporary understanding of the response of victims of sexual assault’ .

Her second reason was based on the difference between making a dishonest statement and making a statement that is wrong, and referred to her own previous comments when she said, “She has not received any emails from Mr. Lehrmann before her work on the Monday after the weekend. of the incident’.

‘To suggest that a rape victim is dishonest because they failed to remember such a trivial matter in the immediate aftermath of their rape is to ignore both the trauma caused by the rape and the ordinary human experience of memory in relation to minor details. ‘

‘One thing that emerged very clearly from Ms Higgins’ evidence was her willingness to accept that something she honestly believed had happened did not happen in the light of objective evidence.’

In her statement, Ms Higgins said that on the night in question she was more drunk than ever before and had ‘tried her best to piece together what had happened to her’.

Her third reason was that ‘Mr Lehrmann’s allegations of dishonesty rarely exceed the finding of an inconsistency in Ms Higgins’ report’.

Justice Lee will deliver his ruling at 10.15am on Monday.