Bruce Lehrmann trial: Judgment date set in defamation trial on Brittany Higgins interview

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D-Day has finally arrived for Bruce Lehrmann – again.

Justice Michael Lee will on April 15 hand down his highly-awaited judgment in the fiercely-fought, high stakes defamation battle.

Mr Lehrmann sued Network 10 and journalist Lisa Wilkinson over her interview on The Project with Brittany Higgins, during which the former Liberal staffer alleged she was raped in Parliament House.

While Mr Lehrmann was not named during the program, he has claimed that he was nonetheless identified as the alleged rapist.

Justice Lee was due to hand down his judgment last week.

However Network 10 were given leave to reopen their case to hear fresh evidence from Seven Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach, who made bombshell claims in court on how the network secured its interview with Mr Lehrmann, and what material was provided.

And after two further days of evidence and submissions, Justice Lee once again reserved his judgment.

The Federal Court on Tuesday said Justice Lee would deliver his findings on Monday at 10.15am.

Mr Lehrmann stood trial in the ACT Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to sexually assaulting Ms Higgins, but the trial was aborted due to juror misconduct.

The charges were subsequently dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions due to concerns about Ms Higgins’ mental health before he sued Network 10 and Ms Wilkinson for defamation.

Mr Lehrmann has maintained his innocence after Ms Higgins alleged that she was sexually assaulted by her former colleague on a couch inside Senator Linda Reynolds’ office in Parliament House after a night out drinking in the early hours of Saturday March 23, 2019.

During his evidence he told the court he did not have any sexual contact with Ms Higgins that evening.

After the pair returned to Parliament House together, Mr Lehrmann told the court that once inside the Senator Linda Reynolds’ office, he went to the left and Ms Higgins went to the right, in the direction of the personal suites of the minister and her chief of staff.

He claims he never saw her again that night.

According to his version of events, he entered the office to retrieve his keys and while there he worked on ministerial briefs.

Ms Higgins, during her evidence, said she sat on a windowsill inside her Senators Reynolds’ office before she passed out.

She said she woke feeling a pain in her leg and with Mr Lehrmann on top of her.

The broadcaster and Ms Wilkinson sought to rely on the defences of truth and qualified privilege.