Stephen Rice, Janet Albrechtsen The Australian May 8 2023
Shane Drumgold has sensationally claimed investigating police tried to sabotage the rape case against Bruce Lehrmann by heightening Brittany Higgins’ emotional distress in the hope she would be too traumatised to appear as a witness.
The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions’ extraordinary attack on the Australian Federal Police officers was made in an 81-page statement to the Sofronoff inquiry, which has made public an explosive police dossier outlining inconsistencies in Brittany Higgins’ statements about her alleged rape. The police briefs, known as the Moller Reports, have been at the heart of the dispute between the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions and the Australian Federal Police. Among the claims in the documents were:
• Ms Higgins said she was “10/10 drunk” but Parliament House CCTV footage showed her interacting with security staff, smiling and laughing, with no signs of being unwell.
• Ms Higgins declined to provide her phone on numerous occasions despite being aware of its importance to the investigation.
• Police discovered texts on Ms Higgins’ phone that said “I’m clearing out my phone ahead of police” and “F..k it, if they (AFP) want to play hardball, I’ll cry on The Project again because of this sort of treatment”.
• There were doubts about the provenance of the photos Ms Higgins said she took of a bruise to her leg from an alleged assault.
• A witness claimed Ms Higgins and former boyfriend Ben Dillaway had sex on multiple occasions in the same office in which she alleged she was assaulted.
The police documents also list troubling issues with Mr Lehrmann’s versions, including:
• The version of events did not seem plausible and the suggestion two people entered an office at that time of evening and had no further interaction seemed unlikely.
• He denied having drinks in the office. Notes of Fiona Brown taken at the time showed he conceded he was drinking whiskey and had two glasses while chatting with Ms Higgins.
It was the many allegations of discrepancies in Ms Higgins’ claims that led Mr Drumgold to question whether the AFP had decided early in the investigation not to charge Mr Lehrmann.
In his statement, Mr Drumgold was highly critical of AFP officers over their focus on discrepancies in Ms Higgins’ rape allegations and their concern about her mental health, despite his decision to abandon a retrial over concerns for her health.
He told one colleague the officers were guilty of either “unsophisticated corruption” or “atomic-level stupidity”.
Early in the investigation, Ms Higgins asked ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates to act as a conduit for her in dealing with police. When the AFP conducted a formal interview with Ms Yates, as a “disclosure witness”, Mr Drumgold viewed it as an attempt to stop her shielding Ms Higgins from police. “This heightened my fear that this was an attempt to prevent Ms Yates from insulating Ms Higgins from direct contact with police, in order to increase the emotional distress of Ms Higgins, in the hope that she would not be able to proceed as a witness,” Mr Drumgold said in his statement.
Drumgold’s own statement – released to the public today – provides a mountain of material that raises questions about whether he met his duties to disclose critical information.
The relationship between the two agencies deteriorated rapidly when police began their investigation of Ms Higgins’ claims.
Mr Drumgold said his fears grew at his first police briefing, which was held with Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman. “Rather than a summary of the relevant evidence … this briefing seemed to be an attempt to demonstrate that the evidence was weak. The presenting officers focused heavily on Ms Higgins’ credibility. I recall they described her as ‘evasive’,” he said. “DI Boorman expressed frustration that Ms Higgins had not provided to the investigators her mobile phone when they first asked for access to it, suggesting that if Ms Higgins was honest about the offence, she would have handed over the phone to them.”
1/ An upset Brittany Higgins outside the Magistrates Court in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
comment by Nelle -she and her boyfriend set up this rape case to bring home the cash- and with the help of Labor she did how much was it? 2 million of tax payers dollars-she is a reprehensible woman