Bruce Lehrmann has sensationally offered to sit a lie-detector test to prove what really happened in the ministerial suite on the night he returned to the office with Brittany Higgins.
The former Liberal staffer, who has always maintained his innocence, faced a grilling from Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington on Monday morning. It followed a lengthy television special on Seven’s Spotlight overnight.
“Will you take a lie-detector test?” Barr asked.
“Absolutely, yes, I get that this has divided the nation and that just because of the high-profile nature of it and how this is a bad thing in the first place,” Mr Lehrmann said.
During the Sunrise interview, Mr Lehrmann said he had seen missed calls from his then girlfriend when he was in the office after 2am.
At his trial, the jury was told he arrived at parliament at 1.40am and entered the office with Ms Higgins after a security officer unlocked the door at 1.48am and left the office without her at 2.31am the same morning.
Mr Lehrmann was asked by Barr why he didn’t check on Ms Higgins and asked whether saying goodbye was “just a natural human behaviour”.
“In hindsight, probably, I also had missed calls from my girlfriend when I saw my phone on the desk, I thought, maybe I should get out and go home,” he said.
“Isn’t that a bit weird, you’re going back with someone in the middle of the night to do work and then you just take off?” Barr continued.
“I had no reason to suspect … I didn’t expect that she needed to be checked on, she also needed to go back into work,” he said.
Agreed facts on missed calls at trial
During the trial, Justice Lucy McCallum read the agreed facts to the court, which stated that Mr Lehrmann missed six phone calls from his girlfriend between 2.16am and 2.18am on March 23, 2019 – the night Ms Higgins alleged she was raped.
Crown prosecutor Shane Drumgold told the jury that the prosecution would argue the alleged rape occurred during the missed phone calls and the relevance of Ms Higgins’ intoxication was both the “absence of her consent and the accused’s recklessness towards it”.
In June, Mr Lehrmann was grilled on the Spotlight program about why when he was physically in the office, his then girlfriend called numerous times and he never answered those calls
“No. The phone was on silent, probably much earlier in the evening. We miss calls. You have your phone on silent, you miss calls, you’re deep in work. That’s what happens,” he said.
According to a police record of interview in 2021, Mr Lehrmann told police that he did not make or receive any calls in the office.
“Not to – not to my knowledge,” he said.
Later in the police interview, Mr Lehrmann was asked about multiple missed calls from a certain number but he didn’t immediately recognise it.
“So we’ve identified that to be [your girlfriend’s] mobile. Did you see there’s a number of calls at 2.17am? And you didn’t answer.”
“No. Well, probably. because I had – I always have my phone on silent,” he said.
News.com.au has contacted Mr Lehrmann for comment.
Bruce Lehrmann’s coffee for Brittany Higgins
During the Spotlight program, host Liam Bartlett pointed out Ms Higgins told news.com.au she did not speak to Mr Lehrmann when she returned to work on Monday.
“What’s the truth?” Bartlett asked.
Bartlett pointed out police had noted that the pair had a coffee on the Monday.
“Well, if what you’re telling me is the case, that is entirely false that we ended up having coffee so that’s just a plain lie,” Mr Lehrmann said.
Bartlett said this was “black and white”.
But what Spotlight did not mention is that the information about the coffee came from Ms Higgins’ police interview.
Mr Lehrmann initially told police that he did not speak to Ms Higgins again after the late-night visit to the office.
“Have you had any communications with Miss Brittany Higgins since this event, the night in question,” police asked him in 2021.
“No,” he replied. “And that goes for most of the staff in the office, yep.”
Ms Higgins told news.com.au today that the “coffee” involved Mr Lehrmann placing the beverage on her desk as he walked past on the Monday morning when she was working on reception.
The pair did not spend time with each other drinking coffee that morning, according to Ms Higgins, and the suggestion by the Spotlight program they did is false. Mr Lehrmann has been contacted for comment.
Compo claim looms
Mr Lehrmann, a law student who flagged he was looking for a multimillion-dollar compensation payout from the ACT government, described himself as “unemployable”.
“It’s an indictment on the ACT justice system, quite frankly,” he said.
“Completely shattered, I’m unemployable as I explained last night, and there has to be some justice here. This was a prosecutor who, as Mr Sofronoff said, treated a criminal trial like a poker game in which he didn’t reveal his cards.
“He commenced the prosecution, he maintained it and then he gave that ridiculous speech when he dropped the charges where he effectively told the country that he is dropping the charge but he could have won the case. Now … if that isn’t abhorrent to even suggest that, particularly from a statutory office holder himself.”
Mr Lehrmann was then asked, “You haven’t been proven guilty, there’s nothing against your name here so why can’t you go and hold your head high and live a normal life now?”
“That’s what I intend to do,” he said.
“I have to get on with things, and Mr Drumgold took my opportunity for a not-guilty verdict away. Not only that, the report found so many other examples of misconduct and behaviour and everything that’s out there in the past few months really speaks for itself.”
During the Sunrise interview, Mr Lehrmann was asked, “Why would she go to all this trouble and make it up?”
“Well, I’m not in her mind,” he said.