After Bruce Lehrmann’s rape trial was aborted on Thursday due to juror misconduct, his accuser Brittany Higgins addressed the media outside the ACT Supreme Court.
This is her full statement.
Brittany Higgins addresses the media outside the ACT Supreme Court.Credit:Rhett Wyman
“I chose to speak up. To speak up against rape, speak up against injustice, to speak up and share my experiences with others. I told the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unflattering, to the court.
“Today’s outcome does not change that truth. When I did speak up, I never fully understood how asymmetrical the criminal justice system is, but I do now.
“I was required to tell the truth under oath for over a week in the witness stand and was cross-examined at length. He was afforded the choice of staying silent in court, head down in a notebook, completely detached. He never faced one question in court about his story and the criminal charges.
“I was required to surrender my telephones, my passwords, messages, photos and my data to him. He was not required to produce his telephone, his passwords, messages, photos or his data.
“My life has been publicly scrutinised, open for the world to see. His was not. Many of you in the media have been called out for labelling the last few weeks ‘the Higgins trial’. But I don’t blame you because it’s very clear who has been on trial. He hasn’t had to be publicly accountable for his actions or any part of his story.
“This is the reality of how complainants in sexual assault cases are treated. Their lives are torn apart, their friends and families are called to the witness stand and the accused has the legal right to say absolutely nothing.
“Like all women who experience sexual violence, I knew the odds were stacked against me. The criminal justice system has long failed to deliver outcomes to victims of sexual assault.
“In the ACT during 2020, only 16 per cent of sexual offences reported to police resulted in a charge. Only half of that number again resulted in a conviction. That is to our national shame.
“I want to thank the other women who came forward and shared their own experiences. I believe you. You were with me every day I walked into that courtroom and faced him.
“I want to thank the people of Australia who have rallied behind me, those who chose to attend the March for Justice, and I want to thank the workers and Canberra’s healthcare system without whom I literally wouldn’t be here today.
“Again, thank you to the DPP, my family, my friends, my mum, Heidi Yates the ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner, Leon Zwier, who I have stolen from his family for a really long time, Emma Webster and my partner, David.
“Thank you to the court and its officers who treated me with such care and respect while I’ve been here.”
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