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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Mike Hohnen

Afternoon Update: Lehrmann loses defamation case; Israel calls for sanctions on Iran; and the nostalgic Neopets revival

Bruce Lehrmann
Justice Michael Lee has found that on the balance of probabilities Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) raped Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Welcome, readers, to Afternoon Update.

The sprawling legal saga which has gripped the nation was brought to an end today with Bruce Lehrmann losing his defamation case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson.

In a live oral summary that took two-and-a-half hours, Justice Michael Lee found that on the balance of probabilities Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins on a minister’s couch in Parliament House in 2019.

Therefore, the former Liberal staffer was not defamed by Wilkinson and Ten when The Project broadcast an interview with Higgins on Monday 15 February 2021 in which she alleged she was raped in Parliament House.

You can read our live coverage here, or watch a replay of the judgment here.

Top news

  • Sixth Westfield Bondi Junction stabbing victim named | Police have named Chinese student Yixuan Cheng as the sixth victim of Saturday’s mass stabbing at Bondi Junction. The NSW health minister, Ryan Park, has said the condition of the youngest victim, a nine-month-old baby, has improved while NSW premier, Chris Minns, has pledged $18m funding for coronial inquiry into the attack.

  • Israel calls for sanctions on Iran | Israel’s UN envoy, Gilad Erdan, said “all possible sanctions” should be imposed on Iran “before it is too late”. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, appealed for calm after Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles on Saturday in its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory. The Iranian attack was in retaliation for a deadly airstrike widely blamed on Israel that destroyed Tehran’s consular building in Syria’s capital. Read our analysis of the Middle East crisis here.

  • Man and woman guilty of murder of Sydney teenager over AirPods | Kayla Dawson, 22, and Richard Sione, 34, were found guilty in the New South Wales supreme court of the murder of 16-year-old Jason Galleghan. Dawson lured Jason – who she suspected of stealing her Apple AirPods – to a property, where he was savagely beaten.

  • Student ‘might be jailed if this bill is passed’, Senate inquiry hears | Piumetharshika Kaneshan, a student and member of Refugee WAVE, told the inquiry she is one of the people who “might be jailed if this bill is passed into law”. The Australian Human Rights Commission has recommended that Labor’s deportation bill not be passed.

  • New York’s Vessel to reopen after suicides | The Vessel, the huge climbable centrepiece of New York’s upmarket Hudson Yards development that saw a number of suicides, is set to reopen later this year with new safety features, according to developers.

  • Australia names first track and field athletes for Paris Olympics | Middle-distance sensation Claudia Hollingsworth and long jump surprise packet Chris Mitrevski are among four Olympic rookies who locked in their spots for the Paris Games with standout performances at the Australian track and field championships.

  • Scottie Scheffler storms to Masters win | The Masters was supposed to get under way on the back nine on Sunday. Scottie Scheffler did not bother waiting that long. Such an approach is befitting a golfer now so dominant that comparisons with Tiger Woods in his pomp are perfectly appropriate.

  • Sarah Snook wins big at Olivier awards | Succession star and Australian Sarah Snook took home best actress for the 26 roles she played in The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was her West End debut. Sunset Boulevard starring Nicole Scherzinger took home seven awards. Read a full recap of the awards here.

In pictures

Yayoi Kusama exhibition to bring art star’s infinity rooms and polka dots to NGV

Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist who has become an Instagram favourite in her 90s with her fantastical pumpkin sculptures, polka dots and kaleidoscopic infinity rooms, is the subject of a blockbuster retrospective heading to Australia.

What they said …


“Having escaped the lion’s den, Mr Lehrmann made the mistake of going back for his hat.” – Justice Lee during a live oral summary of his findings that Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson did not defame former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann.

The full judgment has been published online.

In numbers

This is double the weight of the heaviest present-day red males.

Scientists have now identified three new species of Protemnodon – or the extinct giant kangaroo – Protemnodon viator, Protemnodon mamkurra and Protemnodon dawsonae, which lived from 5m to 40,000 years ago.

Before bed read

How Neopets’ nostalgic revival tripled users in six months

An icon of millennials’ childhoods languished for nearly two decades. Now it’s attempting a comeback – banking on the fact that it hasn’t changed at all.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: FIT. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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