Higgins, Sharaz used media as ‘tool’: investigator

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An serviceman who investigated Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation said she and her spouse David Sharaz utilized the media arsenic a instrumentality and the erstwhile Liberal staffer wanted to spot however the communicative of her assertion “played out” earlier providing a connection to police.

ACT Policing Senior Constable Emma Frizzell told an enquiry into the handling of the abandoned Bruce Lehrmann proceedings that Higgins, his accuser, said to her that conversations with a writer had muddied her recollection of events, and besides revealed the extended media sum made it hard to talk to witnesses.

Former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins and spouse  David Sharaz arriving astatine  the ACT Supreme Court during the October 2022 trial.

Former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins and spouse David Sharaz arriving astatine the ACT Supreme Court during the October 2022 trial. Credit: AAP

In her written connection provided to the inquiry, Frizzell said that during a remainder interruption successful Higgins’ archetypal recorded interrogation successful March 2021, Sharaz “entered the country and without interest for Ms Higgins’ welfare, commenced showing and discussing media sum to Ms Higgins”.

“I judge the level of media engagement did impact the behaviour of the probe of Ms Higgins’ complaint,” Frizzell said.

“I judge it was a instrumentality driven by Ms Higgins and Mr Sharaz, which is evident by the archetypal engagement I had with them whereby Ms Higgins advised she wished to spot however the media played retired anterior to providing a statement.”

Lehrmann pleaded not blameworthy to raping Higgins successful the parliamentary bureau of their then-boss, Liberal legislator Linda Reynolds, connected March 23, 2019, and has ever maintained his innocence. The proceedings was aborted connected October 27 owed to juror misconduct and determination person been nary findings against Lehrmann.

ACT Police Senior Constable Emma Frizzell investigated Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation.

ACT Police Senior Constable Emma Frizzell investigated Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Frizzell said that successful aboriginal 2021 Sharaz told her Higgins had done a pre-recorded interrogation with Ten’s The Project but had not wanted to accidental thing to the serviceman for “fear of being judged”.

Under questioning from Lehrmann’s barrister Steven Whybrow during the trial, Higgins said she was speaking to some constabulary and the media to item what she believed was a systemic taste problem.

“I wanted to betterment this issue,” she said astatine the time. “I basal by my prime and I’m not ashamed of that.”

The elder constable said successful the connection she was acrophobic astir Higgins’ credibility owed to her providing antithetic accusation to constabulary and witnesses astir seeking aesculapian attraction pursuing the alleged incident, and comments made to Sharaz that Frizzell interpreted arsenic Higgins trying to fell oregon delete grounds connected her phone.

Higgins said during the proceedings she was fearful of what accusation could beryllium handed connected politically aft it was seen by police.

“I was trying to springiness them to people, I wanted them to exist,” Higgins said of photos and messages she kept connected her phone.

She besides said that successful deleting data, she was trying to “scrub” distant aspects of her life.

Frizzell said Higgins told her that news.com.au writer Samantha Maiden was relaying to her what she had uncovered earlier reporting connected it successful the media.


“Ms Higgins added astatine times Ms Maiden’s comments influenced her memories and questioned if her representation is simply a effect of being told information,” the officer’s connection says.

The enquiry has heard the media fuelled the unit the investigating squad was under, with different serviceman telling the enquiry helium believed the lawsuit was being rushed to tribunal to placate the media.

Frizzell said the media involvement affected the grounds witnesses provided, with 1 witnesser unwilling to connection immoderate grounds successful a recorded statement, portion different idiosyncratic refused to springiness grounds due to the fact that it could impact his future.

After ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold, SC, announced helium was discontinuing the lawsuit against Lehrmann connected December 2, the ACT authorities launched a reappraisal into the handling of the case, which was partially spurred by a nationalist breakdown successful the narration betwixt the constabulary and the DPP.

Australian Federal Police acting adjunct commissioner Joanne Cameron, who was lawman main constabulary serviceman successful the territory astatine the clip of the trial, told the enquiry connected Thursday she feared investigators speaking with Lehrmann’s lawyers during the proceedings would substance rumours of constabulary conspiring with defence.

“I held the interest that, astatine the precise least, whenever these sorts of interactions were occurring, if they go known to others, determination would beryllium judgments made, not adjacent knowing what the conversations were astir … others would marque a judgement unfairly against my officers,” Cameron said.

In her written statement, Cameron said the changeless media attraction generated a “trust nary 1 mentality”.

She said that successful April 2022, aft Drumgold warned the constabulary the ABC would people a communicative astir the wrongful work of Higgins’ counselling notes connected Lehrmann’s archetypal defence team, her subordinate Detective Superintendent Scott Moller told her it was “clear” that Drumgold had told the journalist.

Cut done the sound of national authorities with news, views and adept investigation from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers tin motion up to our play Inside Politics newsletter here.

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