Former Defense Minister Linda Reynolds has been accused in the ACT Supreme Court of “coaching” lawyers acting for the accused during the trial of the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins.
Bruce Lerman is accused of sexually assaulting a former Liberal staffer in the office of Senator Linda Reynolds on the morning of March 23, 2019.
Mr. Lerman pleaded not guilty to any charge of non-consensual intercourse.
Giving evidence in the ACT Supreme CourtSenator Reynolds confirmed that on October 6 she texted Mr. Lerman’s lawyers demanding the transcript of Brittany Higgins’ testimony.
In court, prosecutor Shane Drumgold produced text messages to defense attorney Steve Whybrow in front of Senator Reynolds.
He said they were dispatched at 4.47pm on Thursday 6 October. Mr Drumgold also said Senator Reynolds’ partner sat in court throughout the trial.
“Did you know that Ms. Higgins has begun cross-examination?” Mr. Drumgold.
“You texted, ‘Hi, do you have the daily transcripts?’
Senator Reynolds told the court that was the right thing to do.
“Yes, I asked for them. But again, they explained to me that this is inappropriate,” she said.
Mr. Drumgold also told Senator Reynolds that she was offering cross-examination.
“What was your motive for trying to cross-examine?” he asked.
“That’s not what I wanted to do,” Senator Reynolds replied.
He said she advised: “Also, if you have text messages between Brittany and Nicky, they could be revealing,” Mr Drumgold said.
Nicky Hammer is a former press secretary for Senator Reynolds who worked with Ms Higgins in the office at the time of the alleged incident.
“You warn the lawyer two hours after the cross-examination. You give yourself an injection,” Mr Drumgold said.
Senator Reynolds told the court that “I have not been through this process before”.
“You are clearly politically engaged in the outcome of this trial,” Mr Drumgold said.
He initially assumed she was in Rwanda at the time.
“You are in Rwanda. Don’t you have anything to do in Rwanda?” he said.
But Senator Reynolds clarified that she was in fact in Perth.
Under intense questioning today, Mr Drumgold told the ACT Supreme Court today that Senator Reynolds’ partner was sitting in court during the trial.
He then confronted Senator Reynolds in court, claiming that she had demanded transcripts from the defense team.
“You were looking for the transcripts, weren’t you,” said Mr. Drumgold.
“Why? You arranged for your partner to sit in court.’
She did not obtain a transcript from Senator Reynolds because her attorney told her it was inappropriate.
“My lawyer was very clear,” she said.
Originally published as Bruce Lerman Trial: Linda Reynolds Confronted Over Brittany Higgins Transcript Demand