Details of how a young woman was allegedly raped twice by Bruce Lehrmann after meeting him at a strip club have been revealed for the first time after he lost a legal battle to keep his identity secret.
The former parliamentary staffer can now be identified as the high-profile man accused of raping a Queensland woman after a night out with friends after a non-disclosure order was lifted on Thursday.
Lehrmann was charged with two counts of rape in January this year following an alleged incident at a property in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, in October 2021.
He has not pleaded no contest to the charges, but denies the allegations. It is understood he intends to plead not guilty.
Laws in Queensland that banned the media from publicly identifying suspected sex offenders unless the matter went to court were repealed last month.
Details of the alleged rape may be revealed after Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth lifted a non-publication order banning the media from publicly identifying Lerhmann.
The woman claimed she met Lehrmann on a night out which began when she met friends at the Powerhouse music venue in Toowoomba.
Bruce Lehrmann (pictured) can now be identified as the high-profile man accused of raping a woman in Toowoomba two years ago
The alleged victim claims she met Lehrmann at The Vault strip club (pictured) in Toowoomba, where he allegedly told her his name was “Bryce”.
After drinking with friends, she then went to a strip club called The Vault, where she consumed more alcohol and met Mr. Lehrmann.
Mr. Lehrmann allegedly introduced himself as “Bryce.”
The police later claim that the woman took a taxi with Mr Lehrmann to his friend’s house.
They had sex once that night and twice that morning, but the woman claims the last two times were not consensual because he allegedly did not wear a condom.
Failure to wear a condom without your partner’s permission is considered sexual assault under Queensland law.
Police will allege the woman told Mr Lehrmann she needed a morning-after pill and that he agreed to drive her to a farm pharmacy.
She then allegedly asked Mr. Lehrmann to take her home and he stopped at McDonald’s on the way.
It will be alleged in court that the couple exchanged messages on Snapchat for a few days after the encounter but soon lost touch.
Weeks later, the woman was allegedly talking to a friend’s mother about the Brittany Higgins case when she was looking for details on her phone and saw the photo of Mr Lehrmann – and recognized him as the same person who allegedly had sex with her.
The woman reported the incident to police the next day before making a formal statement.
Lehrmann was charged with two counts of rape in January.
Police claim they have CCTV footage from the strip club showing them leaving the strip club together, as well as evidence that the man ordered a taxi.
The alleged evening in Toowoomba came weeks after Lehrmann appeared in an ACT court on unrelated allegations that he raped then MP Brittany Higgins in 2019.
He pleaded not guilty in the case and was never convicted. He has always maintained that he never had sex with Ms Higgins.
Bruce Lehrmann has lost a major legal battle to protect his identity in a high-profile rape case
This comes after Queensland Supreme Court Justice Applegarth delivered a brutal swipe at Lehmann on Thursday when he decided to reject a non-publication order that protected the defendant’s identity.
Lehrmann conducted an interview with Channel Seven earlier this year – something which was taken into account by Judge Applegarth.
He said Lehrmann’s decision to take part in the Spotlight interview – as well as other interviews on Sunrise and Sky News – contradicted his lawyer’s claims that media coverage of the new allegations could harm his mental health.
“A cynic might say, ‘I hope Channel Seven paid him or his lawyers a lot of money’, not least because of the consequences that this had on his application,” Judge Applegarth told the court on Thursday.
The judge added that while naming Mr Lehrmann would be “heavily burdensome”, the “regrettable impact on his mental health” was not sufficient reason to uphold the non-publication order.
Earlier this month, a judge ordered the non-publication order to protect his identity to be lifted, but his legal team appealed to the Supreme Court asking that the decision be overturned.
Media outlets refused to continue the order.
Because of Queensland laws that initially prevented the identification of people charged with statutory sex offenses, including rape, Mr Lehrmann’s identity could not be revealed when he appeared in court for the first time in January this year.
That protection was removed earlier this month after the Queensland state government changed parts of the legislation.
However, before the changes came into effect, the man’s lawyers successfully applied to the Supreme Court for a non-publication order so that their client could continue to be protected.
On October 12, that order was overturned in Toowoomba Magistrates Court, with the man’s lawyers signaling they would appeal the decision immediately afterwards.
Media companies had pointed out prominent interviews that Mr. Lehrmann had conducted
At the time, the court was told the celebrity faced a “significant” risk of self-harm if his identity was made public.
However, Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth said Mr Lehrmann had failed to demonstrate that a non-publication order was necessary to protect his mental health as his evidence did not “compel” the magistrate to remain in force.
Media outlets had highlighted prominent interviews Mr Lehrmann had conducted with Channel 7’s Spotlight and Sky News Australia.
It was submitted on behalf of the media companies that there was a “discrepancy between the complainant’s public portrayal and what the psychologist said about him”.
Judge Applegarth noted that the judge had taken into account the psychologist’s evidence in making her initial decision.
“Rather than lower his public profile and withdraw from the media spotlight, the complainant, for whatever reasons, chose to appear on national television more than once and relive the events that triggered his mental illness in early 2021 had,” he said in his verdict.
“He apparently felt well enough to engage with sections of the national media and to deal with the resulting further coverage he received from the media outlets in which he appeared and other media outlets following his high-profile appearances. received.”
Judge Applegarth said Mr Lehrmann had failed to show that the judge’s decision was unreasonable in a legal sense, “or so unreasonable that no reasonable judge could have made that decision”.
During a judicial review on Thursday, the man’s defense lawyer, Andrew Hoare, told the Brisbane Supreme Court that the judge’s decision should be overturned and the non-publication order should continue.
He said if his client was identified he would be at increased risk of “catastrophic” self-harm.
Mr Hoare said the acting judge made a mistake when he found his client had chosen not to take medication or see a psychologist.
“The risk is greater when this support (or involvement of health professionals) is missing,” he said.
“Using the expression ‘It’s his decision’ creates a kind of obligation on the applicant.”
Mr Lehrmann’s high-profile identity may be revealed after a Supreme Court judicial review and non-publication order was dismissed on Thursday
The court was told a forensic psychologist had “serious concerns” about the celebrity’s mental health.
However, Rob Anderson KC, appearing for the media companies, questioned the likelihood of harm to the applicant.
“There was no error of law,” Mr. Anderson said of the judge’s decision.
Judge Applegarth noted that a decision regarding the non-publication orders would not advance or stop the conduct of future hearings. He said the level of risk needed to be taken into account.
“The focus of the hearing appears to be what can be said about the defendant’s current psychological state and what effective measures are available to him to reduce the identified risk,” he said.