DPP admits to misreading plans for Logie speech

Despite pleas to clear Lisa Wilkinson's name, ACT prosecutor did not want to feed a media storm, but it ultimately led to her quitting The Project.

Media focus around Lisa Wilkinson’s Logies acceptance speech delaying a trial was behind her decision to quit The Project, it was revealed in a public inquiry yesterday.

The independent inquiry investigating the prosecution of Bruce Lehrmann, was established by the ACT government following a “number of complaints and allegations” about the trial.

Lehrmann has consistently denied allegations that he raped Brittany Higgins, a colleague and fellow political staffer, in the office of then defence industry minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019. He pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent, denying that any sexual activity had occurred.

Yesterday the ACT director of public prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, admitted he “misread the situation” in a meeting with Lisa Wilkinson discussing her acceptance speech for a Logie award.

Guardian Australia reports Lisa Wilkinson had an online meeting with the prosecution in Lehrmann’s case on 15 June 2022 to prepare her for the possibility of being a witness in the trial.

Drumgold was told Wilkinson was nominated for a Logie for her interview with Higgins, but did not expect to win as they were “managed by a rival network”, according to an email referred to in the inquiry.

“I had no idea a speech was going to be made,” Drumgold said.

“I accept I entirely misread the situation … I thought this was someone telling me they were up for an award.”

Asked whether “you thought she was bragging about being nominated”, Drumgold replied: “That’s probably putting it a bit high, but of that flavour, yes.”

Wilkinson’s lawyer later sent an email, outlining that Wilkinson felt she had been treated unfairly by Drumgold’s office as he had not “corrected the record.”

Drumgold said he decided against making a public statement regarding Wilkinson because he didn’t want to feed the “media storm”.

When asked why he never publicly cleared Wilkinson’s name, he told the inquiry: “I’m not a publicist, I’m the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

The inquiry continues.

Source: Guardian Australia, Daily Mail, The Age