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Channel Ten’s apology letter to a judge about Lisa Wilkinson‘s ill-fated Logies speech can be revealed for the first time – with the network insisting the star did not ‘understand’ she had been warned about the consequences of her televised address.

The veteran journalist came under fire last year for thanking Ms Higgins in her acceptance speech for the Outstanding News Coverage Logie award, which she was given for her one-on-one interview with the former ministerial staffer.

Her speech was televised nationally and forced the trial against Bruce Lehrmann to be postponed in the ACT Supreme Court from June to October, with defence lawyers arguing it could prejudice a jury.

During a hearing to discuss potential repercussions of the speech on June 21, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum told the court that Ms Wilkinson sought advice on whether the speech was appropriate in a meeting with the ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold the previous week. 

The chief justice said Wilkinson went ahead with her plans for the speech, in spite of Mr Drumgold’s warning.

However, Daily Mail Australia has exclusively obtained the carefully-worded letter of apology sent to Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers, the DPP and Chief Justice McCallum on behalf of Channel 10 and Wilkinson the next day, on June 22.

Lisa Wilkinson came under fire in June for thanking Brittany Higgins in her acceptance speech for the Outstanding News Coverage Logie award (pictured at the Logies)

Lisa Wilkinson came under fire in June for thanking Brittany Higgins in her acceptance speech for the Outstanding News Coverage Logie award (pictured at the Logies)

In the letter, the executive vice-president of Channel 10, Beverley McGarvey claimed that neither the network’s senior legal counsel or Ms Wilkinson realised they had been cautioned about the speech in the pre-Logies meeting with Mr Drumgold.

‘Neither Ms Wilkinson not the Network Ten Senior Legal Counsel present at the conference with the DPP on June 15 2022 understood that they had been cautioned that Ms Wilkinson giving an acceptance speech at the Logie Awards could result in an application being made to the court to vacate the trial date,’ the letter read.

‘Had they understood that a specific warning had been given, Ms Wilkinson would not have given that speech.’

‘We profoundly regret that the trial has had to be vacated. 

‘We did not foresee the volume and damaging nature of the media and social media commentary that followed from Ms Wilkinson’s acceptance speech.

‘We apologise for this, and will take steps to ensure that such matters are taken into account in the future. 

Ms McGarvey said she had directed all future commentary about the case by the network to ‘be strictly limited to general news reporting of the proceedings as they are conducted in open court’.

In the aftermath of that memo, Wilkinson, The Project and Channel 10 programs did not comment on the case except to provide brief news updates. Wilkinson was reportedly barred from speaking about the case on air, whatsoever. 

The trial against Bruce Lehrmann (pictured outside court) was derailed by misconduct from jurors

The trial against Bruce Lehrmann (pictured outside court) was derailed by misconduct from jurors

Chief Justice McCallum delayed the month-long trial ‘regrettably and through gritted teeth’. It eventually went ahead in October, but was sensationally aborted due to misconduct by a member of the jury. 

It was then rescheduled for February 2023. However, Mr Drumgold dropped the matter altogether in November due to concerns over Ms Higgins’ mental health. Later that month, Wilkinson quit as host of The Project. 

Ms Higgins had alleged Mr Lehrmann, her former colleague, raped her inside Parliament House after a night out in Canberra in 2019. He had pleaded not guilty and has always maintained his innocence.

Mr Lehrmann moved to Tasmania late-last year to pick grapes at a winery, while Ms Higgins has plans to study at The University of Sydney, and became engaged to her partner, David Sharaz.

Ms Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons and canned their annual 'Independence Day' party after a tumultuous 2022

Ms Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons and canned their annual ‘Independence Day’ party after a tumultuous 2022

Meanwhile, reports emerged on Monday to claiming that Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons canned their star-studded ‘Independence Day’ party after enduring the ‘worst year of their lives’ in 2022.

The high-profile couple’s annual barbecue at their harbourside mansion was one of most-anticipated events of the year for Sydney’s A-list, boasting high-profile guests from prime ministers and television stars to chefs, comedians and journalists.

The outspoken republicans rebranded the famous Australia Day bash an ‘Independence Day’ party in 2020, but the shindig was shelved in 2021 due to the pandemic. The event returned last year but was pushed back to February 26.

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However, the couple will not be hosting a bash in 2023 after a year from hell, with friends speculating whether it has been canned for good. An unnamed friend said the couple felt ‘bruised’ after a tumultuous year in the spotlight. 

Daily Mail Australia approached Paramount ANZ, the parent company of Channel 10, for comment on the leaked letter.

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