Scott Morrison’s former chief of employees, in addition to former Coalition ministers Linda Reynolds and Michaelia Money, are amongst 52 potential witnesses within the trial of former political staffer Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins in Parliament Home.
Trial lasting two months, began in Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court docket in Canberra on Tuesday morning.
Sitting within the courtroom carrying a navy swimsuit and glasses, Lehrman bought up and entered a responsible plea earlier than becoming a member of a panel of a 16-person jury.
The ultimate jury consisted of 10 girls and 6 males.
Earlier than the jury was elected, prosecutors led by the ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC learn out a listing of 52 potential witnesses within the case.
They included Reynolds, the previous protection minister, in addition to Channel 10 journalist Lisa Wilkinson and Information Corp reporter Samantha Maiden, who first aired the allegations in media reporting.
The listing of potential witnesses included Morrison’s former chief of employees John Kunkel, in addition to the shadow minister for money, employment and office relations.
Steven Wybrough, the barrister who acted for Lehrman, learn out the names of 10 witnesses, together with former Federal Coalition MP Steven Siobo.
Higgins arrived in courtroom on Tuesday morning along with her associate David Sharaj. Each have to provide proof within the trial.
Higgins alleged that Lehrman, who was her colleague on the time, raped her in Reynolds’ ministerial workplace on the morning of 23 March 2019, an allegation that Lehrman denies.
The case garnered important media consideration after Higgins’ allegations went public, and the trial has been repeatedly delayed as a consequence of publicity concerning the lawsuit.
Whereas becoming a member of the panel, ACT Supreme Court docket Chief Justice Lucy McCallum careworn the significance of their “equity” to potential jurors.
That mentioned, the case had turn into a “causal celebre”, and any jury members who signed up as “members of the trustworthy celebration” ought to excuse themselves.
“It has turn into a take a look at that has its personal tempo,” McCallum mentioned.
She mentioned those that attended the March for Justice in March 2021, adopted Higgins on Twitter or attended an occasion at which she spoke, ought to take into account whether or not she had “a view” on the matter. or have signed every other”.