Australia

Brittany Higgins says she was ‘terrified’ police passed details of her alleged rape to Peter Dutton

Warning: The story below contains references to allegations of rape.
Brittany Higgins says she was terrified the-then Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was getting updates from police on her alleged rape, as it was considered a politically-sensitive matter.
The former Liberal staffer was being cross-examined on Friday in the Supreme Court in Canberra by defence barrister Steven Whybrow on her reluctance to hand her phone over to police, when she resumed police action two years after her alleged assault.
Her former colleague Bruce Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to sexual intercourse without consent in the office of then-Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds, in 2019, where they both worked.
Ms Higgins told the court she was afraid to hand over her phone to police in 2021, because she did not want to lose evidence that she had collected herself, including audio recordings of conversations with government ministers.

“You thought the police might suppress them?” Mr Whybrow asked.

Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann arrives at the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra on Friday. Source: AAP / AAP

“There is a provision that any politically-sensitive matter … gets reported to the Home Affairs minister … Peter Dutton came out and said he had a baseline outline of the complaint … before I gave an evidence-in-chief interview,” Ms Higgins responded, referring to her later formal recorded interviews with police.

Ms Higgins broke down in tears as she continued to say she was seeking legal advice “to know her rights” because she was “terrified.”
Earlier, Ms Higgins told the court she deleted images of her former boss, Senator Reynolds, from her phone in 2021, as she wanted to “scrub out that time of my life”.
“I didn’t want to scroll through my camera roll and see her face,” Ms Higgins told the court.
“She’s not a bad person … it is, what it is,” she continued.
“It wasn’t with the intent of keeping things from police … I didn’t want to look at politicians in my camera roll anymore … I wanted them gone.”
If allegations set out in this story raise issues for you, or you or someone you know needs support – you can seek 24-hour help by calling 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visiting . In an emergency, call 000.
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