Attorney-General Christian Porter is launching a defamation lawsuit against the ABC over a story that alleges he raped a woman in 1988, allegations that Porter has vehemently denied.
Porter was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in 1988, when he was 17 years old. The woman tragically took her own life in 2020 after contacting police about the allegation, but the story has gained public attention in recent weeks after her friends penned an anonymous letter to multiple MPs about the allegations.
In a statement released on behalf of Porter on Monday, his lawyers confirmed that he has commenced proceedings against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and journalist Louise Milligan.
“The article that he sues on made false allegations against him in relation to a person who he met when he was a teenager,” the statement from his lawyers reads.
“Although he was not named, the article made allegations against a Senior Cabinet Minister and the Attorney-General was easily identifiable to many Australians as the subject of the allegations.”
— Stela Todorovic (@Stela_Todorovic) March 14, 2021
“Over the last few weeks, the Attorney-General has been subjected to trial by media without regard to the presumption of innocence or the rules of evidence and without any proper disclosure of the material said to support the untrue allegations. The trial by media should now end with the commencement of these proceedings. The claims made by the ABC and Ms Milligan will be determined in a court in a procedurally fair process. Mr Porter will have and will exercise the opportunity to give evidence denying these false allegations on oath,” the statement read.
“The ABC, and Ms Milligan having published these allegations have damaged the reputation of the Attorney-General. This court process will allow them to present any relevant evidence and make any submissions they believe justifies their conduct in damaging Mr Porter’s reputation.
“If the ABC and Ms Milligan wish to argue the truth of the allegations, they can do so in these proceedings. Under the Defamation Act it is open for the ABC and Ms Milligan to plead the truth in their defence to this action and prove the allegations to the lower civil standard.
“Now that this matter is in the hands of the court, the Attorney-General will not be making any further comment.”
The legal action from Porter comes as thousands of women and allies prepare to march for justice across Australia on Monday.
More to come.
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