Bruce Lehrmann will plead not guilty to the alleged sexual assault of former Morrison government staffer Brittany Higgins, in a case to be committed by consent to the ACT supreme court in October.
As indicated by Lehrmann’s lawyer in August, the former Liberal staffer intends to plead not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent and denies any form of sexual activity took place.
At a first mention in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday, Lehrmann’s solicitor Warwick Korn confirmed that Lehrmann had instructed him to plead not guilty.
The ACT director of public prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, told the hearing a brief had already been served and prosecutors intended to seek consent to waive committal proceedings and have the case committed to the ACT supreme court for trial.
Korn did not object, but sought a four-week adjournment to confirm the brief is complete.
Korn confirmed that Lehrmann is currently in Queensland, and Drumgold told the hearing that Lehrmann could make a virtual appearance for committal.
Magistrate Campbell then listed the matter for a 14 October hearing for committal by consent.
Lehrmann is facing one charge of sexual intercourse without consent in relation to the alleged assault in the parliament house office of the former defence industry minister, Linda Reynolds, in the early hours of 23 March 2019.
In August Lehrmann’s lawyer, John Korn said in a statement: “My client absolutely and unequivocally denies that any form of sexual activity took place at all. He will defend the charge.”
Australian federal police began investigating the allegation Higgins had been raped by a colleague at Parliament House in 2019 after she made a formal complaint in February.
After a lengthy investigation, a brief of evidence was passed to the director of public prosecutions in June.