A choose on Thursday discharged a jury within the high-profile trial of a former authorities advisor charged with raping a colleague within the Australian Parliament Home as a result of a juror had introduced a analysis paper on sexual assaults into the jury room.
Australian Capital Territory Chief Justice Lucy McCallum mentioned a juror had undertaken analysis in relation to the case and introduced it into the room the place a panel of 12 had been deciding their verdict.
“I’ve acquired proof that no less than one juror has had entry to analysis materials that was not offered to the jury through the trial,” McCallum mentioned.
“It’s past query the conduct of a juror is such to abort the trial,” she added.
A court docket official had found the analysis paper within the room late Wednesday. The jury was supposed to succeed in its verdict solely on the proof offered through the 12-day trial.
Former ministerial advisor Bruce Lehrmann, 27, had pleaded not responsible within the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court docket to a cost of sexual activity with out consent in a minister’s workplace in March 2019 after an evening of heavy consuming. He confronted a possible 12-year jail sentence if convicted.
His alleged sufferer, then his 24-year-old junior colleague Brittany Higgins, reacted to the information of a mistrial with a searing assault on the justice system.
“I selected to talk up. Converse up towards rape, communicate up towards injustice, to talk up and share my experiences with others. I advised the reality regardless of how uncomfortable or unflattering to the court docket,” a tearful Higgins advised reporters exterior court docket.
“Immediately’s final result doesn’t change that reality. However I did communicate up, I by no means totally understood how asymmetrical (the) prison justice system (is), however I do now,” she added.
The Related Press doesn’t often establish alleged victims of sexual assault, however Higgins has chosen to establish herself within the media.
She recounted how she was questioned for days within the witness field and compelled to give up her telephones, messages, pictures and knowledge to Lehrmann’s legal professionals. Lehrmann exercised his proper to not give proof. His legal professionals argued there had been no sexual contact.
“My life has been publicly scrutinized, open for the world to see. His was not,” Higgins added.
Lehrmann declined to talk to the media as he left the court docket. He has not been held in custody since he was charged and stays free on bail till Feb. 20 when a retrial might begin.
Prosecutors have but to resolve whether or not a retrial will go forward.
Lehrmann’s lawyer Steven Whybrow advised reporters exterior court docket: “We’re disillusioned by what’s occurred.”
The jury had been deliberating its verdict for the reason that trial ended on Wednesday final week.
The jurors despatched a message to the choose on Tuesday saying they might not attain a unanimous verdict, however she advised them to proceed deliberating.
Higgins has change into a family title in Australia since she went to the media final yr together with her accusations that the previous authorities had handled her rape allegation as a political downside and did not adequately help her.
The case sparked nationwide protests for instance of a poisonous work tradition in Australian politics that’s criticized as hostile towards girls.
She stop her authorities job in January final yr after which made a press release to police in regards to the then-two-year-old incident.
Then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded in February final yr by apologizing to Higgins in Parliament for the “horrible issues” that she had endured within the constructing.
“The place that ought to have been a spot of security and contribution turned out to be a nightmare,” Morrison mentioned.
McCallum revealed on Wednesday that protection legal professionals had targeted on this apology after they utilized in March to have the prosecution postponed or discontinued on the grounds that Lehrmann couldn’t obtain a good trial.
Morrison’s apology was “notably egregious” and had elevated Higgins “to a standing she shouldn’t have,” the legal professionals argued, including she “walks into court docket with an aura about her.”
McCallum rejected the appliance in March and on Wednesday printed her causes for that call.