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Higgins, ministers should admit being wrong: Reynolds

Linda Reynolds said it was time for the parties to accept Justice Michael Lee's judgment.

Linda Reynolds said it was time for the parties to accept Justice Michael Lee's judgment. Photo: AAP

Liberal senator Linda Reynolds, her former political staffer Brittany Higgins and her fiance have started a second round of talks in a bid to resolve a pair of high-profile defamation cases.

The former defence minister, who plans to retire from politics at the next election, is suing Higgins and David Sharaz over a series of social media posts she says have damaged her reputation.

Reynolds said it was time for the parties to accept Justice Michael Lee’s judgment in the recent Bruce Lehrmann defamation case as she arrived at the WA Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“It’s time for them to admit they got it wrong,” she told reporters.

Reynolds also said Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus should accept Justice Lee’s findings in the Federal Court.

Justice Lee’s judgment in Lehrmann’s defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson found that on the balance of probabilities he did rape Higgins, but the allegation of a political cover-up “was objectively short on facts but long on speculation”.

The parties in the WA case in March attended closed-door mediation but it was not successful.

Sharaz in April tweeted he would no longer fight the case because he could not afford to pay the legal costs associated with going to trial in July.

Reynolds is suing him over tweets he made and a Facebook comment in 2022.

One defamatory imputation claimed against Sharaz’s tweets was that Reynolds pressured Higgins not to proceed with a genuine complaint to police about being raped in her ministerial office.

Other claimed imputations were that the Senator “is a hypocrite in her advocacy for women’s interests and empowerment”, interfered in Lehrmann’s trial and bullied Higgins.

Higgins is accused of posting defamatory material on her Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) accounts.

Lehrmann has always denied the sexual assault allegation.

His trial was aborted due to juror misconduct and Higgins’ mental health was cited as the reason for no retrial.

-AAP

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