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Toowoomba's Brittany Higgins Wannabee

By Bettina Arndt - posted Wednesday, 1 November 2023

The Australian media pack was salivating last week. They'd finally broken through the legal barriers protecting Bruce Lehrmann from being named as the "high profile" man who'd been accused of rape in Toowoomba, in Southern Queensland.

The Brittany Higgins media cheer squad was bitterly disappointed when their hero fell apart, exposed as a lying, scheming bimbo who destroyed a man's life to save her career and conned her way into $3 million compensation payout, all taxpayer's money.

So, the media hounds have been running hot ever since they discovered last year that a Toowoomba woman was having a go at Lehrmann, claiming an alleged sexual assault dating back to October 2021, long after the Higgins case hit the news.


The story of what has been happening in Toowoomba is astonishing, with many echoes of the Higgins affair, complete with reluctant police apparently unconvinced by the alleged victim's story, defence lawyers denied key evidence and key players leant on by the powers that be. Oh yes, here too there was political interference, when the ideologues who run Queensland's key institutions chose to get involved.

Remember prosecutor Drumgold's claim in the Higgins case that there'd been political interference from the Coalition government, seeking to bury the case to avoid political damage? Drumgold was forced to retract that false allegation during the Sofronoff inquiry. Then the real political interference was found to be from Labor, when Channel 7's Spotlight program revealed Labor Ministers plotting to use the case to bring down the government.

Well, here Labor is at it again, working behind the scenes to crush Bruce Lehrmann. Once it was determined that Lehrmann was set to be charged, the notoriously anti-male Queensland Labor government fast tracked a new law to name men accused of sexual assault as soon as police commence proceedings. (Naturally, complainants remain anonymous.)

But even before that law was enacted a mighty legal battle commenced as Lehrmann's lawyers briefly achieved a temporary suppression order in the Supreme Court to avoid him being named. Every key media company in Australia, except for Channel 7, ganged up to apply for that order to be lifted. Can you imagine what that was like for Lehrmann, knowing the combined legal muscle of the media was out to get him?

(Funnily enough, many of those on the coalface weren't so keen on Lehrmann being named. The police were initially supportive of a suppression order but just before the case was heard in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court, they changed position to oppose his name being suppressed.)

Note that early this week, a Brisbane Magistrate ruled the new law didn't apply to a Channel 7 personality charged with multiple child sexual offences, citing the need to protect the woman's mental health - precisely the reason used to call off the Higgins trial. Very different rules for the girls, obviously.


The most revealing fact about the Toowoomba case is the timing. Here's a woman who has a sexual encounter with a man she meets at a local nightclub. It is expected evidence will reveal the next morning the couple left home appearing very chummy with each other before grabbing a coffee and Lehrmann driving her home. They exchanged messages on SnapChat for a week or so.

Then, six weeks later, the accuser googled the Higgins case and discovered the man she'd had sex with that night was Bruce Lehrmann. It is understood her statement will reveal that she quickly met with a Brisbane compensation lawyer before reporting the matter to the police. Apparently the phone download of the complainant includes evidence that she is involved in distribution of illicit drugs and has long been unemployed.

Ms Gold-digger's story, according to media reports, is they had sex once in the evening and twice the next morning. She claims the first time was consensual but awoke the next morning to find Lehrmann having sex with her without using a condom – new laws decree it is sexual assault to have sex without a condom unless you give permission for this to happen.

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Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

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