Rape-accused Lehrmann given weeks to review police data

Rex Martinich |

Lawyers for rape-accused former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann have been granted six weeks to review hundreds of files handed over by police.

Lehrmann, 28, is accused of raping a woman twice at Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, in October 2021 and the charges are in a committal process to determine if there are sufficient grounds to proceed to a trial.

Lehrmann, who was not required to attend court, had his bail continued until the next court mention.

The case had a brief mention in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Wednesday, which was the first time the charges were heard after the Queensland Supreme Court ruled late last month that Lehrmann could be publicly identified.

Lehrmann was first charged in January this year and his solicitor has indicated he will deny the allegations.

The former federal ministerial staffer was the subject of national media attention after being charged with the rape of 24-year-old Brittany Higgins, in the office of then defence industry minister Linda Reynolds at Parliament House in March 2019 while both were employed by the senator.

Lehrmann also denied those allegations and the case ended in a mistrial, with prosecutors declining to proceed with a new trial out of concern for Ms Higgins’ welfare.

Crown Prosecutor Sarah Dreghorn told the court on Wednesday that Lehrmann’s defence team had been provided on October 24 with the material they had requested.

The court had previously heard that Lehrmann’s defence sought the entire contents of the alleged victim’s phone and had later narrowed the request to messages exchanged in the six months before the pair met in person and the alleged offences were committed.

Lehrmann’s solicitor, Rowan King, applied for a six-week adjournment to review the material as he had only been able to download the police’s 400 to 500 files on Thursday last week.

“There are some clerical issues with the data … the files are locked and I can’t combine the files and do searches for words or phrases,” Mr King said.

The application was not opposed and Magistrate Louise Shepherd granted an adjournment to December 13.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028