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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Blake Foden

'I may never work again': Lehrmann set to sue ACT

Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann. Picture by Karleen Minney

Bruce Lehrmann is set to sue the ACT after an inquiry into his aborted rape case made scathing findings about the territory's most senior prosecutor.

"I've instructed my solicitors to prepare a statement of claim against the state," the former Liberal Party staffer told The Daily Telegraph.

"I've got lawyers that need to be paid, people who have supported me, like my mum and uncle, who need to be supported.

"I'm not interested in becoming a millionaire, but I do want to perhaps get on with my life and maybe buy a house.

"Given what the prosecution has done to me, I may never work again."

ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC outside the inquiry in May. Picture by Karleen Minney

Mr Lehrmann stood trial in the ACT Supreme Court last year, when he defended allegations he had raped former colleague Brittany Higgins at Parliament House when they worked for Senator Linda Reynolds in 2019.

After juror misconduct scuppered the 28-year-old's trial, Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC discontinued the case because of fears about the impact a retrial would have on Ms Higgins' mental health.

The findings of an inquiry into the case, leaked to select media outlets by the board behind the probe, criticise Mr Drumgold on several fronts.

Inquiry chairman Walter Sofronoff KC reportedly found Mr Drumgold had, among other things, knowingly lied to Chief Justice Lucy McCallum and "preyed on" the inexperience of a junior prosecutor by having him "deliberately advance" a false claim that police documents sought by defence lawyers were privileged.

Walter Sofronoff KC chairing the inquiry. Picture supplied

Mr Lehrmann has described the reported findings as "alarming and overwhelming", praising Mr Sofronoff for exposing "a dark chapter" for the ACT's justice system.

Mr Drumgold, meanwhile, told The Canberra Times he had not seen Mr Sofronoff's report and was therefore not in a position to respond to it.

The ACT government subsequently said Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury was in contact with Mr Drumgold after the "disappointing" leak of the final report.

Mr Drumgold is currently absent from his office, having taken leave following a torrid week in the inquiry's witness box in May.

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