Brittany Higgins was very distressed as she spoke with reporters outside court after Bruce Lehrmann’s trial for the alleged rape of her was shockingly abandoned on Thursday.
‘I never fully understood (the) criminal justice system but I do now,’ she said, fighting back tears.
Earlier, Ms Higgins cried and her legal team looked dejected when the decision to discharge the jury was announced.
‘I was required to tell the truth under oath for over a week on the witness stand and was cross-examined at length,’ she said.
‘He (Lehrmann) was afforded the choice of staying silent in court. Head down in a notebook.
Brittany Higgins (pictured) was very distressed as she spoke with reporters outside court after Bruce Lehrmann’s trial for the alleged rape of her was shockingly abandoned on Thursday
‘He never faced one question in court about his story and the criminal charges.
‘I was required to surrender my telephones, my passwords, messages, photos and my data to him…
‘My life has been publicly scrutinised, open for the world to see. His was not,’ she said.
Bruce Lehrmann (second left) leaves court with his lawyers after his trial for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins was sensationally abandoned on Thursday morning
Ms Higgins said ‘Many of you in the media have been called out for labelling the last few weeks “the Higgins trial”.
‘But I don’t blame you … (alleged victims’) friends and families are called to the witness stand and the accused has the legal right to say absolutely nothing.
The former Liberal party staffer said she wanted ‘to thank the other women who came forward and shared their own experiences. I believe you.
‘You were with me every day I walked into that courtroom and faced him.
‘I want to thank the people of Australia who have rallied behind me,’ said Ms Higgins.
Brittany Higgins (pictured) was visibly distressed as she spoke with reporters outside the court on Thursday
Earlier, Lehrmann had looked emotionless as his trial for the alleged rape of Ms Higgins was shockingly abandoned.
He made no comment to journalists as he left the court at around 11am, standing behind his lawyer Steven Whybrow.
The sensational move came after a juror brought an academic research paper about sexual assault into the jury room.
On what should have been the jury’s seventh day of deliberations, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum dismissed the 12 jurors shortly after 10am on Thursday morning.
Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann is pictured leaving the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra
‘Sometimes there is a mishap which … results in a miscarriage of a trial. That’s what’s happened here,’ she said.
Bruce Lehrmann had been standing trial, accused of the political staffer’s rape following a drunken night out in March 2019.
He had pleaded not guilty.
Addressing the jury, Justice McCallum said: ‘It has come to my attention that one of you has undertaken research in relation to issues in the case and that material has entered the jury room which ought not to have.
Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann is pictured arriving to court on Thursday. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.
‘I have heard an explanation and it may be that no harm has been done but that is not a risk I can take. I have discharged that juror and I have to discharge you all.
‘Can I please convey to you my sincerest gratitude to the hard work you’ve done in this trial.
‘With those remarks, you’re discharged and you are free to leave.’
The sensational development raises the prospect the case could be retried.
Justice McCallum later explained why the jury was discharged.
‘During routine tidying of the jury room after the conclusion of the proceedings yesterday, one of the sheriff’s officers accidentally bumped one of the jurors documents folders onto the floor.
Ms Higgins held hands with boyfriend David Sharaz as she arrived at the ACT Supreme Court
‘The judge said the sheriff saw the title of an academic research paper. The topic of the paper might be sexual assault.
‘The matter was promptly brought to my attention. My associates identified what appeared to be the document in question.
‘In the circumstances, it is appropriate to regard that evidence with some scepticism.
‘During the course of the trial, I must have give the jury at least 17 warnings.
‘This is an unexpected and unfortunate outcome in this trial.’
Bruce Lehrmann had pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.
Brittany Higgin is seen arriving at the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday morning just hours before the case against her alleged attacker was sensationally aborted
Chief Justice McCallum has set a date of February 20, 2023 for a new trial, with conditions for Lehrmann being set out before.
He is not allowed to contact Ms Higgins, her partner David Sharaz, parents Kelly Higgins or Matthew Higgins and must advise the Australian Federal Police of his residential address.
If he wants to travel overseas during this time he must provide his itinerary to the AFP two weeks before any planned leaving date.
The now discharged 12-person jury had been unable to decide whether Lehrmann is guilty or not guilty of one count of sexual intercourse without consent against Ms Higgins in the early hours of March 23, 2019.