A federal police commander wrote a diary note about a meeting with one of his subordinates about Brittany Higgins‘ rape allegations, where he recorded being told: ‘Brittany maintains sexual assault but everything else, doctor… etc was made up’.
The document came to light during a hearing of a Board of Inquiry which is investigating the police and the prosecution’s handling of the case against Bruce Lehrmann, after Ms Higgins accused him of sexual assault.
Australian Federal Police Commander Michael Chew was questioned by Erin Longbottom, the counsel assisting the inquiry, on Friday afternoon.
The inquiry was shown a file note Commander Chew wrote on May 26, 2021, following a meeting with Superintendent Scott Moller about the investigation into Mr Lehrmann.
The diary entry featured handwritten scribblings under Superintendent Moller’s name – apparently his opinion about part of Ms Higgins’ allegations. It provided an insight into what some officers thought about the investigation into Mr Lehrmann.
A Federal police commander wrote a diary note about a meeting with one of his subordinates about Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations, where he recorded being told: ‘Brittany maintains sexual assault but everything else, doctor… etc was made up’. Ms Higgins is pictured
Australian Federal Police Commander Michael Chew made a note of Superintendent Scott Moller’s apparent opinion of Ms Higgins’s allegations (above)
Ms Longbottom read a portion of the entry to the inquiry: ‘The note says, “Ms Higgins maintains allegations of sexual assault”, but then goes on to characterise things to go against her credit.’
She did not read the rest of the note aloud, but the entry was shown to the inquiry. It read: ‘Brittany maintains sexual assault but everything else, doctor… etc, was made up’.
Commander Chew was then asked why ‘so what’ was written in large letters in the middle of the page.
He could only recall that it was in relation to KPIs – corporate jargon for key performance indicators – and had no relation to Supt Moller’s opinions.
Twist in ‘Zoom call’
Earlier at the inquiry, a Channel 10 lawyer who sat with Lisa Wilkinson during her pre-Logies meeting with top prosecutor Shane Drumgold told the inquiry she did not put a Microsoft Teams conversation between the two parties on mute.
Tasha Smithies appeared confident on Friday when she told the inquiry that she did not recall having a private conversation with Wilkinson during their online meeting with the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions on June 15, 2022.
Commander Michael Chew (above) was asked why ‘so what’ was written in large letters in the middle of his file note. He could only recall it was in relation to KPIs – and had no relation to Superintendent Moller’s opinions
The meeting was held within the same week as the TV Logie awards. Wilkinson was nominated for her interview with Brittany Higgins on The Project, during which the former parliamentary staffer first aired her rape allegations against Bruce Lehrmann.
Mr Lehrmann has continually denied the allegations.
On Friday, Ms Longbottom asked Ms Smithies: ‘During the conference, did you press mute on the Microsoft Teams meeting so you could have a private conversation?
Ms Smithies replied: ‘No, I did not.’
Mr Drumgold’s lawyer Mark Tedeschi later asked: ‘Was there a short period of time during the meeting where you and Ms Wilkinson had a private mute conversation so that Mr Drumgold could not see you or could not hear you?’
Ms Smithies replied: ‘I don’t accept that.’
Brittany Higgins accused her former workmate Bruce Lehrmann (above) or raping her in Parliament House. Mr Lehrmann has always denied the allegations
The ‘muted’ conversation formed the basis of Mr Drumgold’s view that he had sufficiently warned Wilkinson against mentioning Ms Higgins’ name in her Logies acceptance speech due to fears it could bias a jury in the impending criminal trial.
‘I was confident they knew she couldn’t make that speech,’ Mr Drumgold told the inquiry during cross-examination by Wilkinson’s lawyer, Sue Chrysanthou on May 12.
Ms Chrysanthou asked: ‘Did you read their lips?’
Mr Drumgold replied: ‘No.’
Ms Chrysanthou said: ‘Then how could you have possibly made that conclusion?’
Mr Drumgold responded: ‘Because an experienced journalist sitting next to a lawyer would have come to that conclusion.’
Ms Chrysanthou eventually said: ‘The answer you just gave is illogical and irrational and contrary to human experience.’
The inquiry previously heard Wilkinson started reading to Mr Drumgold during the meeting on June 115, but he cut her off and said ‘I’m not a speech writer’.
Channel 10 lawyer Tasha Smithies (above) sat with Lisa Wilkinson during her pre-Logies meeting with top prosecutor Shane Drumgold. She gave evidence before the Board of Inquiry on Friday
During her Logies acceptance speech, which was broadcast nationally, Wilkinson appeared to side with Ms Higgins – saying she ‘believed’ her allegations. She did not mention the trial, Mr Lehrmann, any criminal charge or Parliament House in her speech.
Chief Justice McCallum, who was presiding over the ACT Supreme Court rape trial, moved the hearing from June to October amid fears Wilkinson’s comments would bias a jury.
At the time, the Chief Justice said Wilkinson was warned against making public comments about the impending hearing. The public backlash was so severe Wilkinson left her job as host of The Project.
Justice McCallum slammed Wilkinson for failing to heed Mr Drumgold’s warning that she shouldn’t give the Logies speech.
Mr Drumgold later admitted failing to correct a file note he wrote following a meeting with Wilkinson and her Channel 10 lawyer in the lead-up to the TV awards last June.
The inquiry continues.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk