The ACT Government has announced it will hold an inquiry into how the territory’s criminal justice authorities handled the investigation and trial of Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins.
The trial was declared a mistrial following an incident of juror misconduct. Subsequently, the planned re-trial was dropped.
Lehrmann denies the allegations.
What will it do?
The inquiry will consider whether police, public prosecutors, and the Victims of Crime Commissioner performed their duties “with appropriate rigour, impartiality, and independence”.
It will specifically consider how the Department of Public Prosecution and the police engaged with one another.
The inquiry comes after numerous media reports suggesting disagreements between police and the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold.
Drumgold has accused police of pressuring him not to proceed with the case and trying to undermine it. The police union has called the accusation a “smear”.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the concerns raised about the handling of the trial were “serious” and that an independent review was “the most appropriate response”.
ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury emphasised the inquiry would not “revisit” the trial, its evidence, or its outcome.