Linda Reynolds says all parties including AG must ‘admit they were wrong’ in Brittany Higgins defamation case

Rebecca Le May
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Second round of mediation talks in the defamation case between Sen. Linda Reynolds, Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz at David Malcolm Justice Centre in Perth. Pictured - Sen. Linda Reynolds arrives Daniel Wilkins
Second round of mediation talks in the defamation case between Sen. Linda Reynolds, Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz at David Malcolm Justice Centre in Perth. Pictured - Sen. Linda Reynolds arrives Daniel Wilkins Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Linda Reynolds has come out swinging in her defamation battle with Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz, suggesting the recent Federal Court judgment shows the Albanese Government was wrong to pay the former staffer compensation.

Justice Michael Lee last month ruled he was convinced, to a civil standard, that the former junior media adviser had told the truth when she claimed she was raped by ex-parliamentary colleague Bruce Lehrmann, in her interview with The Project in 2021.

The case was a defamation claim by Mr Lehrmann, which Mr Lee threw out.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

But Mr Lee also made another crucial finding, that the other claim in the Network Ten story — of a political cover-up involving the outgoing Senator and others — was not true.

After mediation talks between Senator Reynolds, Ms Higgins and her fiance David Sharaz in March failed to stave off a trial — set down for six weeks from July 24 — a second round of discussions was held at Perth’s David Malcolm Justice Centre on Tuesday.

Senator Reynolds spoke to reporters as she arrived, saying she was “always very hopeful” of a pre-trial resolution but took aim at Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

Mr Dreyfus last year said a $2.4 million payment to Ms Higgins over the rape — which she alleged occurred in Senator Reynolds’ office after hours — was made “to the letter of the law”.

Senator Reynolds paused with Mr Bennett outside court to speak briefly with media.
Senator Reynolds paused with Mr Bennett outside court to speak briefly with media. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

“What I would like to say today is that I would like to commend Justice Lee on all of his findings,” she said.

“And I think it is time that all parties in this accept all of his judgments, and that includes the finance minister, the Attorney General and the Attorney General’s department — it’s time for them to admit they got it wrong.”

Asked if Ms Higgins should be able to keep the money after Mr Lee dismissed claims of a political cover-up, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton last month said that the Albanese Government had “quickly settled”.

“But I don’t think the problem in relation to the payout is on Brittany’s side, I think it’s on the Government’s side,” he told ABC’s Insiders.

Jason MacLaurin, representing Mr Sharaz, did not speak as he entered court while Ms Higgins’ counsel is expected to appear via videolink.

Senator Reynolds’ action is over a series of social media posts the now France-based pair published in 2022 and 2023, amid the fallout from her shocking claims.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 14-06-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 14 June 202414 June 2024

Tesla investors deliver Elon Musk an 11-cylinder salary.