Bruce Lehrmann’s Lawyers Say The Project ‘Utterly Destroyed’ Him In Day 1 Of Defamation Trial

Bruce Lehrmann has appeared in court in Sydney today over the defamation action filed against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson for their coverage of the allegations that he raped his former Liberal party colleague Brittany Higgins at Parliament House last year.

Appearing in a Sydney court today, the former liberal staffer was initially due to sue the ABC alongside Channel Ten until the ABC and Lehrmann reached a settlement.

“The proceedings have settled on mutually acceptable, confidential terms, without admission of liability,” the ABC said in a statement.

Bruce Lehrmann
Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann arrives at Federal Court on November 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Image: Getty / Lisa Maree Williams)

During the open arguments of the legal proceeding, Lehrmann’s legal team told the court that he was “destroyed” by Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins and that he was now seeking “vindication and compensation”.

“Our client comes here seeking vindication for the defamation that has utterly destroyed him. He comes here for justice,’’ Lehrmann’s barrister Matthew Richardson SC told the court, per

“He understands that he can’t persuade everybody. But following the withdrawal of the criminal proceedings against him he brings these proceedings against his most prominent accusers, Channel Ten And Lisa Wilkinson and The Project, he comes here to the Federal Court.

“He will say what happened to him. He will submit himself to cross-examination, and he will seek vindication and compensation.”

Lisa Wilkinson
Lisa Wilkinson and her legal council arrive at Federal Court on November 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Image: Getty / Lisa Maree Williams)

Richardson claimed that Channel Ten portrayed Brittany Higgins in an entirely positive way as the beacon of truth, hence negatively impacting Lehrmann’s case.

“Essentially she is canonised by this program with Ms Wilkinson,” Richardson said.

“She has held up as the epitome of truthfulness and decency, not a scintilla of doubt is applied to any aspect of her complaint or allegations. The message is plain. What she says has happened.”

An earlier criminal trial against Lehrmann was abandoned due to juror misconduct. Further plans for a retrial were dismissed due to fears over Higgin’s mental health.

Lehrmann has always denied the allegations against him.