The head of the prime minister’s department has temporarily suspended his inquiry into the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins.
Phil Gaetjens was asked in February to report on who in Scott Morrison’s office knew about the former Liberal staffer’s alleged sexual assault in March 2019.
Mr Gaetjens said in a statement on Monday his department had confirmed with the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold that the continuation or finalisation of the inquiry could prejudice the criminal case now underway.
He then sought legal advice on the matter.
“On the basis of that legal advice received on August 27, I have suspended my inquiry until the conclusion of the criminal trial,” Mr Gaetjens said.
“This is to ensure that the inquiry can have no adverse impact on the criminal prosecution.
“The action I have taken is strictly in response to the legal advice I have received, and does not relate to any of the content of the inquiry.
“No inferences in relation to that content can be drawn from the legal advice nor my decision to suspend the inquiry.”
Mr Morrison has been informed of the decision.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.