As per the information revealed during an inquiry about the trial of Bruce Lehrmann, 11 out of 12 jurors were inclined to convict the former political staffer. Lehrmann was accused of raping Brittany Higgins, a former colleague, inside Parliament House in 2019. This information came to light during the inquiry into the mistrial of Lehrmann.
The mistrial was declared in November 2021 after a Canberra Times article revealed the jury’s inclination, and the judge ruled that Lehrmann could not receive a fair trial due to the publication. The details of the mistrial were initially suppressed, but the ACT Supreme Court lifted the suppression order, allowing the information to be reported to the public.
During the inquiry, it was disclosed that the jurors were leaning towards convicting Lehrmann due to the strength of the evidence against him, including the testimony of Brittany Higgins. However, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision, and the mistrial was declared.
ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC expressed frustration over the mistrial, stating that the prosecution may have to start the trial process again, which would be emotionally taxing for the victim. Meanwhile, Lehrmann’s defense team is seeking to have the charges dropped.
Brittany Higgins has been advocating for changes in the political culture in Australia, particularly around the treatment of women. Her case has gained significant attention and has led to protests and calls for reform. Higgins has thanked her supporters and stated that she will continue to fight for justice.
The inquiry’s findings have raised concerns about the impartiality of jurors and the influence of media coverage on high-profile cases. It is crucial for the justice system to ensure that all defendants receive a fair trial, regardless of public opinion or media influence.