HomeWorldAustralian Parliament House Rape | Complainant testifies against Bruce Lehrman

Australian Parliament House Rape | Complainant testifies against Bruce Lehrman

The complainant said that she felt “trapped” during the alleged rape in the Australian Parliament House.

The complainant said that she felt “trapped” during the alleged rape in the Australian Parliament House.

A government employee testified about being raped by a colleague in the Australian Parliament House on 5 October and described her fear of not being trusted because of the inequality in her workplace situation.

Brittany Higgins became the first witness to testify against 27-year-old Bruce Lehrmann, who has pleaded not guilty to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory on charges of sexual intercourse without consent in a minister’s office in March 2019. He faces a possible 12 years in prison. Punishment if guilty.

Ms Higgins said she was a 24-year-old employee in an administrative role in the office of then Defense Industry Minister Linda Reynolds, while Mr Lehrmann had a more senior role as ministerial adviser.

The pair had gone back to the Parliament House on a Saturday morning after a heavy drink with their companions.

Ms Higgins said she thought Mr Lehrman wanted to collect documents from Reynolds’ office, where she slept on a couch and was woken up by Mr Lehrman raping her. Ms Higgins said she felt “trapped, not human” as Mr Lehrman hovered over her, grunting and making noises. He said that she started crying and asked him to stop but he continued.

Ms Higgins decided to indict Mr Lehrman last year and the jury heard her video-recorded police interview from February 2021 on Wednesday.

She told police that when she returned to work on Monday, two days after the alleged rape, she feared she would be fired because the two entering the minister’s office were marked as a security breach. “I knew what happened to me was wrong, I knew I didn’t consent,” she said.

She told police she didn’t think anyone would believe her story and felt that Mr Lehrman’s words carried more weight than her because of her more senior role.

“He was in the office on Monday. …he didn’t seem embarrassed (or) upset,” Ms Higgins said. “It didn’t feel like something he wanted to address.” She told police that when she identified the incident as sexual assault of her former chief of staff, “gears shifted.” “It became less about me and more political in a sense,” she said.

Defense attorney Steven Whybrow told the jury that Higgins’ allegations had not been tried or tested and that Lehrman had denied having sex with her.

Prosecutor Shane Drumgold has flagged more than 50 witnesses who may be called to testify during the trial, which is expected to last between four and six weeks.

Witnesses include Reynolds as well as former government ministers Michaelia Cash and Steven Siobo. The Associated Press Does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Ms Higgins has chosen to identify herself in the media.

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