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ACT flags inquiry into Bruce Lehrmann rape trial

Rape allegations against Bruce Lehrmann abandoned

Bruce Lehrmann’s rape trial could be picked apart in two high-level investigations as police and prosecutors blame each other over the handling of Brittany Higgins’ sexual assault allegations.

The ACT’s attorney-general Shane Rattenbury admitted he was concerned about conduct through the trial and could yet launch an inquiry, just days after the Commonwealth’s law enforcement integrity body announced it would examine how police handled things.

Mr Lehrmann denies all allegations he raped Ms Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.

The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold has raised concerns about “political and police conduct” in the case.

Mr Drumgold even wrote to the territory’s police chief, accusing his members of pressuring him not to prosecute Mr Lehrmann.

Shane Rattenbury holds concerns both about the Bruce Lehrmann investigation and trial.

In a statement released on Monday, Mr Rattenbury said his government was concerned by the allegations made about the investigation and conduct throughout the trial.

“I note that the matter has been referred to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity,” he said.

“The ACT government is currently considering whether further investigations are warranted.”

It is not yet clear what form any investigation launched by the ACT government would take.

Mr Drumgold, who called for a public inquiry at the end of the trial, has also accused former Coalition minister Linda Reynolds of behaving “disturbingly” throughout the trial.

The Guardian reported Mr Drumgold sent a letter to the ACT’s police chief, Neil Gaughan, on November 1 after Senator Reynolds allegedly coached the defence team and tried to get transcripts of evidence from previous witnesses.

“During the conduct of the trial, a number of disturbing events have occurred, including prosecution witness (redacted) firstly giving evidence directly contradictory to her chief of staff, then directly soliciting transcripts of other evidence to tailor her evidence direct from the defence barrister Steven Whybrow,” Mr Drumgold wrote.

“She further engaged in direct coaching of the defence cross-examination of the complainant by directing them to evidence she should not have access to.”

Senator Reynolds has been contacted for comment.

Mr Lehrmann had faced criminal charges over the alleged rape and was due to face court for a retrial in February.

He denied the allegations and maintained the pair never had any sexual interaction. His first trial was derailed on October 27 because of juror misconduct.

AAP

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