Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-nigella-lawson-congratulates-lisa-wilkinson’s-on-defamation-win-over-bruce-lehrmannAlert – Nigella Lawson congratulates Lisa Wilkinson’s on defamation win over Bruce Lehrmann

British TV chef Nigella Lawson has shared her support for Lisa Wilkinson after she won her defamation case against Bruce Lehrmann.

Lehrmann sued Network Ten and Wilkinson for defamation over a February 2021 report on The Project, where Brittany Higgins claimed he raped her in a Parliament House office almost two years prior. 

Federal Court Justice Michael Lee ruled in Network 10’s favour on Monday, determining that its report was truthful in its allegations against Lehrmann. 

A few short hours after the verdict was read, Lawson took to X, formerly Twitter, to congratulate Wilkinson.

‘So proud of Lisa Wilkinson. And so relieved for all of us,’ she wrote.

Nigella Lawson (right) congratulated Lisa Wilkinson (left) on her defamation lawsuit win against accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann

Nigella Lawson (right) congratulated Lisa Wilkinson (left) on her defamation lawsuit win against accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann

Peter FitzSimons, Wilkinson’s husband, responded to Lawson by simply writing: ‘Thank you, Nigella.’

Wilkinson and Lawson have interacted several times, including in 2016 when Wilkinson had a ‘girl crush’ moment with the celebrity chef.

She had shared a selfie of her and Lawson cooking a recipe from her cookbook, Simply Nigella.

Lawson also recently shared the love under an Instagram post Wilkinson had captioned: ‘Some days are diamonds.’

Lawson commented: ‘And some people are Diamonds!’ 

Justice Lee on Monday told the court that ‘Mr Lehrmann raped Ms Higgins’.

His finding was made by the civil court standard – the balance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt, the criminal court standard.

Outside court, a vindicated Ms Wilkinson said: ‘Today the Federal court has found that I published a true story about a rape at a federal politician’s office in March 2019.

‘I sincerely hope the judgment gives strength to women around the country. 

Lisa Wilkinson thanked the public as she won the defamation case Bruce Lehrmann brought against her and Network Ten

Lisa Wilkinson thanked the public as she won the defamation case Bruce Lehrmann brought against her and Network Ten

Lisa Wilkinson (right) embraced her barrister Sue Chrysanthou KC outside the courtroom, and profusely thanked her

Lisa Wilkinson (right) embraced her barrister Sue Chrysanthou KC outside the courtroom, and profusely thanked her

‘I’m also so grateful to have had the benefit of our independent legal team’.

She thanked her barrister Sue Chrysanthou KC for her ‘expertise and wise counsel’ that have been a ‘source of ongoing strength to me for the past 14 months.’

Wilkinson also thanked her family and friends and ‘generous’ members of the public who often approach her in tears. 

‘Throughout every step of this process I have been surrounded by the love of my incredibly supportive family.

‘As well as incredibly supportive friends and colleagues. I can never thank them enough. 

‘I also wanted to say how grateful I am to members of the public who approached me almost every single day to express often through tears their unwavering support.’

Wilkinson’s husband Peter FitzSimons tweeted that he was ‘very proud’. 

Bruce Lehrmann didn't say a word as he charged through the press pack following the ruling from Justice Lee

Bruce Lehrmann didn’t say a word as he charged through the press pack following the ruling from Justice Lee

In contrast, Lehrmann didn’t say a word as he charged through the press pack following the ruling.

LIVEREAD MORE: HOW THE VERDICT UNFOLDED  

The former Liberal staffer sat with his head bowed while listening to the judge’s findings. 

‘He was a 23-year-old male cheating on his girlfriend, having just ‘hooked up’ with a woman he found sexually attractive,’ Justice Lee said. 

‘Human experience suggests what he then wanted to happen is not exactly shrouded in mystery.’ 

The judge said Lehrmann was ‘hellbent on having sex with a woman he found sexually attractive, had been mutually passionately kissing and touching … and knew had reduced inhibition.’

‘He did not care one way or the other whether Ms Higgins understood or consented to what was going on.

Justice Lee determined that, contrary to Lehrmann’s evidence, sexual intercourse did occur, and that Ms Higgins did not consent.

‘I am convinced that sexual intercourse took place,’ the judge said.

Justice Lee said Mr Lehrmann was ‘on top’ of Ms Higgins and that she was unable to remove herself from the couch.

Mr Lehrmann launched defamation proceedings after the criminal trial fell through. The judge said of that decision: ‘Having escaped the lion’s den, Mr Lehrmann made the mistake to come back for his hat’

If the 28-year-old had won his defamation case, he would only have been entitled to a ‘very modest’ amount of $20,000 in damages given the limited nature of any hurt from Ten’s reporting, Justice Lee said. 

While a Logies speech by Lisa Wilkinson over The Project segment derailed criminal proceedings against Lehrmann and denied him the right to a fair trial, this gave his legal team more time to attack Ms Higgins’ allegations.

The criminal trial against Lehrmann was abandoned in 2022 with no findings made against him.

‘Having escaped the lions’ den, Mr Lehrmann made the mistake of going back for his hat,’ Justice Lee said.

Justice Lee described both Lehrmann and Ms Higgins as ‘unreliable historians’ when recounting what occurred on that fateful night. 

The judge said Ms Higgins had been loose with the truth regarding allegations made to Ten in 2021 that members of the then-coalition government had sought to silence her in reporting the alleged rape. 

But Justice Lee found that any incorrect statements made to the police in 2019 were not inconsistent with remarks being made by a genuine victim of sexual assault. 

The judge found any of Brittany Higgins' incorrect statements to police in 2019 explicable

The judge found any of Brittany Higgins’ incorrect statements to police in 2019 explicable 

The judge also slammed Ten for its conduct after Wilkinson made a Logie speech where she hailed Higgins’ courage just eight-days before the criminal trial of Lehrmann.

The judge pointed out that Ms Wilkinson did seek advice, but Network Ten failed her by suggesting she deliver the speech in support of Ms Higgins. 

‘The conduct of Ten … was grossly improper and unjustifiable.’

READ MORE: Ashen-faced Bruce Lehrmann emerges from court after judge finds he raped Brittany Higgins and Lisa Wilkinson and Channel Ten win the case

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