The man accused of allegedly sexually assaulting former political staffer Brittany Higgins plans to permanently delay the trial.
The Guardian reports Bruce Lehrman‘s counsel David Campbell confirmed at an ACT Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday Lehrmann wants a permanent stay of the trial. A stay is a legal term that means to halt the proceedings of something for a predetermined time.
The trial is scheduled for June 6th. But the move could delay the prosecution indefinitely.
Lehrmann’s legal team said they came to the decision because of the way media publications reported on the allegations. They argued it made it impossible for Lehrmann to be treated fairly in court.
They plan to ask media companies by Friday to voluntarily remove articles related to the allegations. They hope the articles flagged in their letter are taken down within the next week.
Campbell said his client would try and get an order from the court to force media outlets to remove allegedly defamatory articles if they don’t comply with the written letter.
The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold said the reporting of the stay application “increases the prejudice to a fair trial”. He said the concern from Lehrmann’s lawyers was that “the story becomes the story”. But Lehrmann’s legal team denied Drumgold’s summary.
Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said she was “not persuaded” to pass Lehrmann’s decision on Wednesday. The court will reconsider his application on April 1st when Lehrmann’s legal team share more details.
McCallum added that the application did not give the press a free license to publish anything in the public interest about the trial. Drumgold noted that the court should order a suppression order of witnesses and parties involved in the case.