Bruce Lehrmann has dropped his legal proceedings against News Corp after reaching an out-of-court settlement. He was taking defamation action against both News Life Media – publisher of news.com.au – and Samantha Maiden, news.com.au’s national political editor.
In the News Corp case, Lehrmann claimed that he was identifiable in two news.com.au articles reporting on the March 2019 allegation that Brittany Higgins was sexually assaulted in Parliament House. Those two articles have now been updated with an editor’s note that reads “News.com.au notes that a criminal charge of sexual assault was brought against Mr Lehrmann and later dropped. News.com.au does not suggest that he was guilty of that charge.”
News Corp has not been instructed to give an apology or correction, and no damages have been paid to Lehrmann.
“We thank Ms Brittany Higgins for telling her story and for all that she has endured in making that choice to improve the system for complainants,” news.com.au editor-in-chief Lisa Muxworthy said.
“We will continue to report on the general issues surrounding sexual assault allegations, our justice system and how to improve that system for men and women.
“We continue to stand by the Australian women and men who sparked a national reckoning in the wake of this important story to drive change, reform and debate about our justice system.”
Lehrmann has also been taking defamation action against Network 10 and journalist Lisa Wilkinson. The proceedings came in the wake of Lehrmann’s trial being pushed back by ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum following a speech Wilkinson gave at the Logies about her interview with Higgins.