‘Deliberately wicked and calculated’: Ten tells courts Bruce Lehrmann should pay all legal costs

Network 10 has told the Federal Court it believes that Bruce Lehrmann should pay all the network’s legal costs because his defamation claim was “deliberately wicked and calculated”.

Lehrmann lost the defamation case brought against Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson, with Justice Michael Lee finding last week that, on the balance of probabilities, Lehrmann raped former Liberal staffer Britanny Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.

“Having escaped the lion’s den, Mr Lehrmann made the mistake of coming back for his hat,” Lee summarised, in dismissing his claims.

Network 10 is now arguing that Lehrmann should be on the hook for its entire legal bill, estimated to be at high as $8 million, saying he was aware of the facts before he brought the case: namely, “that he had raped Ms Higgins”, according to a submission prepared for the network by Dr Matt Collins KC.

“In summary, Mr Lehrmann brought this proceeding on a deliberately wicked and calculated basis,” Ten said.

“He put Network Ten to the cost of defending this proceeding, which can be, with the benefit of hindsight, described as a clear abuse of process aimed at concealing the truth that Mr Lehrmann raped Ms Higgins. In the hope of rehabilitating his reputation on the false basis that he had not sexually assaulted Ms Higgins, Mr Lehrmann engaged in an abuse of the court’s processes, ran a case based on positive falsities, and put Network Ten to the cost of defending a baseless proceeding.

“Given the subject matter of the proceeding and the success of the substantial truth defence, the seriousness of such conduct cannot be overstated. It follows in our submission that Network Ten is entitled to be reimbursed for its costs of defending the proceeding on an indemnity basis.”

Network 10 claims it made an offer to Lehrmann to “walk away” from the case last August, which he refused. This was “unreasonable in the circumstances”, argues Ten, and therefore Lehrmann should be liable for all costs.


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