Bruce Lehrmann is accused of twice failing to wear a condom while having sex with a young woman he met during a night out, after the political staffer and his alleged victim both allegedly snorted a line of cocaine.
The former parliamentary staffer can now be identified as the high-profile Toowoomba man accused of raping a woman in Queensland following a night out with friends after he lost a court battle to keep his identity secret on Thursday.
Lehrmann was charged with two counts of rape in January this year following an alleged incident at a home in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, in October 2021. In Queensland, having unprotected sex without a sexual partner’s permission is considered sexual assault.
Lehrmann has not entered a plea to the charges but denies the allegations. Daily Mail Australia understands that he intends to plead not guilty.
Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) can now be identified as the high-profile man accused of raping a woman in Toowoomba two years ago
The alleged victim claims she met Lehrmann at The Vault strip club (pictured) in Toowoomba where he allegedly told her his name was ‘Bryce’
Laws in Queensland which banned the media from publicly identifying alleged sex offenders unless the matter was committed to trial were overturned last month.
Details of the alleged rape can be revealed after Supreme Court judge Peter Applegarth lifted a non-publication order banning media from publicly identifying Lerhmann.
The woman alleged she met Lehrmann on a night out that began when she joined friends at the Powerhouse music venue in Toowoomba.
After drinking with friends, she then went to a strip club called The Vault, where she consumed more alcohol and met Mr Lehrmann.
Mr Lehrmann allegedly introduced himself as ‘Bryce’.
Later, police allege the woman took a taxi with Mr Lehrmann to his friend’s house.
They had sex once that night and twice in the morning, but the woman alleges the last two times were not consensual because he allegedly wasn’t wearing a condom.
Failing to wear a condom without a partner’s permission is considered sexual assault under Queensland law.
According to a court brief obtained exclusively by The Australian newspaper, the pair used cocaine during the night.
Police will allege the woman told Mr Lehrmann she needed a morning-after pill and that he agreed to drive her to a chemist in a farm ute.
Afterwards, she allegedly asked Mr Lehrmann to take her home and he stopped at McDonald’s on the way.
It will be alleged in court that the pair exchanged messages on Snapchat for a few days after the encounter, but soon lost contact.
Weeks later, the woman was allegedly speaking to a friend’s mother about the Brittany Higgins case when she searched for details on her phone and saw Mr Lehrmann’s photo – and recognised him as the same person who allegedly had sex with her.
The woman reported the matter to police the next day before making a formal statement.
Lehrmann was charged with two counts of rape in January.
Police will allege they have CCTV footage from the strip club showing the pair leaving together, and evidence that the man booked a taxi.
The alleged night out in Toowoomba was weeks after Lehrmann appeared in an ACT court over unrelated allegations that he raped then-parliamentary colleague Brittany Higgins in 2019.
He pleaded not guilty in that case and was never convicted. He has always maintained he never had sex with Ms Higgins.
Bruce Lehrmann has lost a major legal battle to keep his identity in a high profile rape case protected
It comes after Queensland Supreme Court Judge Justice Applegarth took a brutal swipe at Lehmann on Thursday while making his decision to dismiss a non-publication order which protected the accused’s identity.
Lehrmann conducted an interview with Channel Seven earlier this year – something which was taken into account by Justice Applegarth.
He said that Lehrmann’s decision to take part in the Spotlight interview – as well as other interviews on Sunrise and Sky News – were at odds with his lawyer’s claims that media coverage of the new allegations could damage his mental health.
‘A cynic might say: “I hope Channel Seven paid him, or his solicitors, a lot of money”, for the consequences it had on his application, if nothing else,’ Justice Applegarth said in court on Thursday.
The judge added that while being named would ‘weigh heavily’ on Mr Lehrmann, the ‘unfortunate effect on his mental health’ was not enough reason to uphold the non-publication order.
Earlier this month a magistrate ordered the non-publication order protecting his identity be revoked but his legal team appealed to the Supreme Court, seeking that decision be quashed.
Media companies opposed the order continuing.
Due to laws in Queensland that initially prevented the identification of people charged with prescribed sexual offences, including rape, Mr Lehrmann’s identity could not be revealed when he first faced court in January this year.
That protection was revoked earlier this month after the Queensland state government changed parts of the legislation.
However, before the changes took effect, the man’s lawyers successfully applied to the Supreme Court for a non-publication order allowing their client to remain protected.
On October 12, this order was revoked in Toowoomba Magistrates Court, with the man’s lawyers signalling they would appeal the decision immediately after.
Media companies had pointed to prominent interviews Mr Lehrmann conducted
At the time, the court was told the high profile man was at a ‘substantial’ risk of self-harming should his identity be published.
But Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth said Mr Lehrmann had not established a non-publication order was necessary to protect his mental health, with his evidence failing to ‘compel’ the Magistrate it should remain in place.
Media companies had pointed to prominent interviews Mr Lehrmann conducted with Channel 7’s Spotlight and Sky News Australia.
It was submitted on behalf of the media entities there was an ‘incongruity between the applicant’s public presentation and what was said about him by the psychologist.’
Justice Applegarth found the magistrate did consider the evidence from the psychologist in her initial decision.
‘Rather than lower his public profile and retreat from the media spotlight, the applicant chose for whatever reason to appear more than once on national television and revisit events that had triggered his mental illness in early 2021,’ he said in his judgment.
‘He seemingly felt well enough to engage with sections of the national media, and to deal with any resulting further coverage he received from the media outlets he appeared on and other media that followed up on his high-profile appearances.
Justice Applegarth said Mr Lehrmann had not established the magistrate’s decision was unreasonable in the legal sense ‘or so unreasonable that no reasonable magistrate could have made that decision’.
During a judicial review on Thursday, the man’s defence barrister Andrew Hoare told Brisbane Supreme Court court the magistrate’s decision should be quashed and the non-publication order continued.
He said if his client was to be identified, he would be at an increased risk of ‘catastrophic’ self harm.
Mr Hoare said the sitting Magistrate made an error in determining his client had chosen not to seek medication or see a psychologist.
‘The risk is greater if there is not that support in place (or) engagement with health professionals,’ he said.
‘The use of the term ‘That is his choice’ imports a type of obligation on the applicant.’
Mr Lehrmann’s identity as the high profile man can be revealed after a Supreme Court judicial review and non-publication order was dismissed on Thursday
The court was told a forensic psychologist held ‘grave concerns’ for the high-profile man’s mental health.
But Rob Anderson KC, appearing for the media entities, questioned the likelihood of harm to the applicant.
‘There is no error of law,’ Mr Anderson said of the magistrate’s decision.
Justice Applegarth noted any decision regarding non-publication orders would not advance or halt the conduct of any future committal hearing. He said the degree of risk needed to be considered.
‘The focus of the hearing seems to be what can one make of the state of the defendant’s psychology at the moment and what effective measures are available to him to reduce the identified risk,’ he said.