Truth abandoned in Lehrmann hunt

by BETTINA ARNDT – THE Australian media pack went into a frenzy last week. 

They’d finally broken through the legal barriers protecting Bruce Lehrmann from being named as the “high profile” man who’d been accused of rape in Toowoomba, in Southern Queensland. 

The notoriously anti-male Queensland Labor Government fast-tracked a new law to name men accused of sexual assault as soon as police commence proceedings.

The Brittany Higgins media cheer squad was disappointed after gaps emerged in her story during cross-examination and on Channel 7’s Spotlight program, which exposed her scheme to use her rape allegations to bring down a government.

Her ultimate fall from grace came when she managed to receive up to $3m in compensation, all taxpayer’s money.


So, the media hounds have been running hot ever since they discovered last year that a Toowoomba woman had raised complaints against Mr Lehrmann, claiming an alleged sexual assault dating back to October 2021 – long after the Ms Higgins case hit the news.

The story of what has been happening in Toowoomba is astonishing, with many echoes of the Higgins affair – reluctant police apparently unconvinced by the alleged victim’s story, defence lawyers denied key evidence, and key players leaned on by the powers.

Oh yes, here too, there was political interference when the ideologues who run Queensland’s key institutions chose to get involved.

The notoriously anti-male Queensland Labor Government fast-tracked a new law to name men accused of sexual assault as soon as police commence proceedings.

But even before that law was enacted, a mighty legal battle commenced as Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers briefly achieved a temporary suppression order in the Supreme Court to avoid him being named.

Every key media company in Australia, except for Channel 7, joined forces to apply for that order to be lifted.

(Funnily enough, many of those on the coalface weren’t so keen on Mr Lehrmann being named. The police were initially supportive of a suppression order but just before the case was heard in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court, they changed position to oppose it.)

Note that early this week, a Brisbane Magistrate ruled the new law didn’t apply to a Channel 7 personality charged with multiple child sexual offences, citing the need to protect the woman’s mental health – precisely the reason used to call off the Higgins trial.

Very different rules for the girls, obviously.

The most revealing fact about the Toowoomba case is the timing.

Here’s a woman who has an intimate encounter with a man she meets at a local nightclub.

It is expected evidence will reveal that the next morning the couple appeared very chummy with each other as they left home to grab a coffee before Mr Lehrmann drove her home.

They exchanged messages on Snapchat for a week or so.

Six weeks later, the accuser googled the Higgins case and discovered the man she’d been with that night was Bruce Lehrmann.

It is understood her statement will reveal that she met with a Brisbane compensation lawyer in the days before reporting the matter to the police.

Her story, according to media reports, is they had sex once in the evening and twice the next morning.


She claims the first time was consensual, but she awoke the next morning to find Mr Lehrmann was not using a condom – new laws decree it is sexual assault to have sex without a condom unless you give permission for this to happen.

According to her, they had been intimate not once but twice without her giving permission to not use a condom.

Mr Lehrmann will plead not guilty to these charges.

It is understood he then drove her to the pharmacy to get the morning-after pill, where she signed the standard pharmacy form showing she had not been sexually assaulted.

Note that this case has been languishing on the police books since late November 2021, with the police showing no initial interest in pursuing the case.

Mr Lehrmann had no idea that another rape accusation had been made until well into 2022.

Over a year after the allegation was made to police, they rang Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers and informed them they would be commencing criminal proceedings against him – on the same day, the Queensland Government released a report critical of police handling of domestic violence.


This year, there’s been all sorts of high jinks over the complainant’s phone which police, for months, refused to hand over to prosecutors.

Then prosecutors also withheld the phone from Mr Lehrmann’s legal team for over two months whilst they undertook their own redactions.

Mr Lehrman’s lawyers finally received the heavily redacted phone records at the 11th hour the night before the appeal for the suppression order in the Supreme Court.

It was only two months ago that our country witnessed Commissioner Walter Sofronoff’s tear strips off Ms Higgins’ trial prosecutor, Shane Drumgold, for treating criminal litigation as “a poker game in which a prosecutor can hide the cards”, after the prosecutor failed to disclose key evidence to the defence.

But it seems Queenslanders are a law unto themselves.

This was on display last week when Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth decided to lift the suppression order, disregarding expert evidence from Mr Lehrmann’s long-time psychologist about possible “serious adverse consequences” to his mental health.

The psychologist had pointed to Mr Lehrmann’s extremely depressed state and the suicidal ideation he experienced after the Higgins case was made public in 2021, leading to his admission to a mental health facility.

The psychologist wrote: “For over two years, he has endured media hounding, public defamation of character, loss of friendships and support, relocating on numerous occasions, and a loss of a sense of safety and security in normal public places.”

He mentioned that the Sofronoff inquiry and the ongoing strain of constant legal battles has meant Mr Lehrmann’s mental health has fluctuated considerably this year but warned of the potentially serious psychological effects if he had further public shaming over the Toowoomba case.

But Justice Applegarth used Mr Lehrmann’s confident stance in the Spotlight interview to dismiss the psychologist’s assessment regarding the mental health risk.


“I hope that Channel 7 paid him or his solicitor a lot of money for the consequences it has had on this application, if nothing else,” the judge said, to the delight of the media who naturally were put out that Channel 7 secured the exclusive interview.

Mr Lehrmann was likely just putting on a brave face at the time of the Channel 7 interview, perhaps because the dark clouds had briefly lifted – the Higgins’ case had fallen apart leaving him legally an innocent man.

For a judge to dismiss the potential impact of another nationwide public shaming over the Toowoomba case is extraordinary.

As with the Higgins case, once again we are witnessing a disgraceful trial by media, as details of the Toowoomba case are leaked, many of which are allegedly contrary to the complainant’s own statement to police.

In our believe-the-victim culture, it seems that truth counts for very little.PC

Bettina Arndt

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Bruce Lehrmann. (courtesy The Guardian Australia)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on November 3, 2023. Re-used with the author’s permission.