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Ten ‘legalled’ controversial Logies speech: Wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson says she begged Network Ten to publicly admit it cleared her Logies speech that delayed Bruce Lehrmann's criminal trial for rape.

Lisa Wilkinson says she begged Network Ten to publicly admit it cleared her Logies speech that delayed Bruce Lehrmann's criminal trial for rape. Photo: AAP

Journalist Lisa Wilkinson has accused Network Ten of failing to publicly clarify her controversial Logies speech on Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape had been cleared by top executives and legal counsel.

The 2022 speech led to Wilkinson being widely condemned in the media after the rape trial of ex-Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann’s was delayed as a result.

Wilkinson told a Federal Court defamation trial on Tuesday that she understood her employer’s statements at the time had been “very legally considered”.

That was despite her “begging them” to clarify their role in the speech, she said.

“They had asked me to make that speech, they had been involved in legalling that speech right up until … the afternoon of the Logies,” she said.

Wilkinson said she was “trashed” by the media following the speech and accused of derailing the trial of Lehrmann, who was accused of raping Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.

The speech resulted in ACT Supreme Court proceedings being postponed to protect Lehrmann’s right to a fair trial.

“The media believed that I had gotten up on that stage and given a speech pretty much off the top of my head,” Wilkinson said.

“That was completely incorrect. I was being blamed for giving that speech and all the blame was falling on me.”

Lehrmann is suing Ten and Wilkinson for defamation over a February 2021 report on The Project that aired Higgins’ rape claims.

Wilkinson has launched a cross-claim against the broadcaster to recoup legal costs after retaining her own legal representation.

The journalist was cross-examined by Ten lawyer Robert Dick SC on Tuesday, when he put to her that her motivation for retaining a separate lawyer was to protect or advance her public image.

“It was becoming very apparent to me that Channel Ten … [was] conflicted when it came to representing me in these defamation proceedings,” Wilkinson said.

She said she was not informed by Ten about the legal action against the network, and found out through the media.

“I found it deeply unsatisfactory,” Wilkinson said.

The court earlier heard YouTuber Glenn Logan, who claims to “debunk” feminist issues, admitted to flouting a ban on publishing video of the trial. Logan’s lawyer, Patrick Schmidt, told the hearing his client was unaware of the order.

“While his actions were not intentional, they were reckless,” he said.

Justice Michael Lee previously ordered Logan to appear to explain his actions before deciding whether to charge him with contempt of court.

But Logan failed to appear as required on Tuesday. Schmidt said his client was flying in from Melbourne and was running late.

Lee called Logan’s non-appearance “unacceptable” and said he would refer the matter to court authorities so contempt proceedings could begin.

In a video played to the court, Logan told his viewers that YouTube had removed the content from his “Feminism Debunked” channel because it was “ran (sic) by feminists”.

He urged people to watch the videos on alternative platforms.

Logan had been diagnosed with mental health issues and was “of low intelligence”, the court heard.

The defamation proceedings brought by Lehrmann, which ran for 22 days, were live-streamed on the Federal Court YouTube page and were at some points watched by thousands of viewers.

Lehrmann has always denied any sexual contact with Higgins. His criminal trial was derailed by juror misconduct.

1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

– AAP

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