Bruce Lehrmann files appeal

Lehrmann has launched an appeal, according to legal documents he filed himself today. It’s not yet known if he has legal representation for the appeal.
Bruce Lehrmann files appeal

Bruce Lehrmann has filed an appeal after a Federal Court judge found it was ‘more likely than not’ that he raped Brittany Higgins.

The April decision dismissed a defamation case brought by Lehrmann against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson.

Lehrmann has now launched an appeal of this decision, according to legal documents he filed himself today. It’s not yet known if he has legal representation for the appeal.

Bruce Lehrmann

Lehrmann launched defamation proceedings last year over an interview broadcast on Ten’s ‘The Project’ in 2021.

During the interview, former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgin alleged Lehrmann raped her in Parliament House in March 2019.

He was not named in the interview but alleged his reputation was damaged because he was identifiable.

The case failed earlier this year. Lehrmann had until today to lodge an appeal.

Court ruling

In April, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee found even though Lehrmann was identifiable in an interview on ‘The Project’, the claims made by Wilkinson and Network Ten that Higgins was raped by him were, on the balance of probabilities, true.

Lehrmann maintained his innocence.

Earlier this month, Lee ordered Lehrmann to pay most of Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson’s legal costs — a figure expected to be in the millions.

Appeal filing

Today, Lehrmann filed a notice of appeal in the Federal Court. Online records show it was filed early this morning.

Generally, appeals of Federal Court decisions are heard by a ‘full bench’ of three or more judges who were not involved in the original case.

Appeals are argued based on the idea that the original judge made a mistake in their ruling, either in their interpretation of the evidence or the law. Typically, no new evidence is presented during an appeal.

What’s next?

A full bench of Federal Court judges only hears appeals a few times a year.

The next sessions are in August and November.

If Lehrmann’s appeal fails in the Federal Court, it’s possible he could apply to have an appeal heard in the High Court, Australia’s top court.

It’s not guaranteed that applications will be granted, however.

TDA’s editor-in-chief is Billi FitzSimons, Lisa Wilkinson’s daughter. Billi had no editorial oversight or involvement with this story or any post we’ve made about this story’s developments.

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