Senior ACT police officer was ‘immediately suspicious’ of Brittany Higgins’s rape allegation, inquiry told

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A elder ACT constabulary serviceman has told an enquiry helium was “immediately suspicious” of Brittany Higgins’s allegation she was raped successful Parliament House, saying helium questioned her motives for the ailment due to the fact that she intended to talk to the media.

Det Supt Scott Moller had oversight of the ACT constabulary probe into Higgins’s allegation she was raped by her erstwhile Liberal Party workfellow Bruce Lehrmann successful 2019. He spent a 2nd time successful the witnesser container connected Tuesday, being cross-examined earlier an autarkic enquiry into the ACT transgression justness system’s handling of the case.

In his statement to the inquiry, Moller said during a briefing successful February 2021, helium was told Higgins wanted to hold making a ceremonial constabulary connection until aft media reports had been published astir her allegation. Higgins told constabulary she had already undertaken media interviews.

“I did not recognize wherefore Ms Higgins had chosen to impact the media anterior to providing constabulary with a ceremonial statement, nevertheless my briefing articulated that Ms Higgins wanted to guarantee the probe was ‘active’ to enactment the media releases.

“This had maine instantly suspicious and questioning the motives of Ms Higgins for reporting the incident. This strategy by Ms Higgins importantly hindered the probe arsenic it was besides highly hard for investigators to advancement the probe without a connection of complaint.”

Moller urged Higgins not to talk to the media connected respective occasions during the investigation.

Lehrmann, who pleaded not blameworthy to 1 number of intersexual intercourse without consent, has ever denied the allegation of rape and nary findings person been made against him. He was tried by the ACT ultimate tribunal past twelvemonth but a mistrial was declared aft juror misconduct. A planned retrial was abandoned aft adept aesculapian proposal warned it posed a “significant and unacceptable risk” to Higgins’s intelligence wellness and her life.

Much of the autarkic inquiry, earlier erstwhile Queensland solicitor wide Walter Sofronoff, has focused connected tensions betwixt constabulary and the DPP implicit the determination to complaint Lehrmann. The manager of nationalist prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, believed constabulary were reluctant to laic charges, portion constabulary person told the enquiry they did not judge charges were justified, based connected the grounds they had gathered.

Moller has told the enquiry helium did not judge determination was capable grounds to complaint Lehrmann, but helium decided to laic charges – signing the summons himself – aft receiving proposal from the DPP.

He said helium believed Drumgold was “dismissive” of constabulary concerns, “and had a predetermined presumption to complaint and prosecute the subject”.

“I retrieve specifically being told astatine 1 of the meetings betwixt the probe squad and Mr Drumgold astatine Belconnen Police Station. Mr Drumgold said ‘it doesn’t substance what helium says’ successful notation to Mr Lehrmann being interviewed. At that signifier Mr Lehrmann had not yet been offered a constabulary interview. This remark shocked and acrophobic the investigators.”

Moller said helium was “concerned for the independency and integrity of the investigation” and arranged to conscionable with Drumgold.

“When I met with Mr Drumgold connected 1 June 2021 it was wide to maine that helium had already decided connected progressing the prosecution adjacent though helium had not reviewed the evidence.”

In earlier grounds earlier the inquiry, Drumgold said helium had believed constabulary were reluctant to complaint Lehrmann, and had engaged either successful “unsophisticated corruption” oregon “atomic-level stupidity” successful trying to halt the lawsuit proceeding.

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In correspondence, Drumgold said determination was a “very wide run to pressure” him not to complaint Lehrmann, and that constabulary investigators were “clearly aligned with the palmy defence of this matter” during the trial.

Drumgold aboriginal told the enquiry helium nary longer believed successful a imaginable governmental conspiracy to derail the prosecution, and that helium present thought a “skills deficit” connected behalf of the officers explained constabulary actions during the investigation.

Conversely, Moller told the enquiry determination was immense unit connected constabulary to “progress” the Lehrmann investigation. He said the unit came from aggravated media interest, the DPP, and the precocious echelons of the AFP.

“There was a important magnitude of unit connected each of us,” helium said Tuesday. “There was unit from my organisation… supra me.”

In his statement, Moller said the AFP commissioner, Reece Kershaw, urged him to “get it done” erstwhile they met incidentally successful Canberra.

“The commissioner inquired however the probe was progressing and I mentioned that we were soon to question to Brisbane to interrogation the suspect. He seemed pleased with this and inquired if we were going to apprehension and extradite him.

“I commented and stated that if we did get to that stage, we would beryllium much inclined to summons alternatively than apprehension and charge. He said ‘well, we request to get it done, conscionable get it done’.

“This is an illustration of however overmuch unit was connected everyone progressive with this matter.”

In June 2021, Moller met with Commander Michael Chew, who said the DPP had told him they would urge prosecution.

Moller’s connection said: “Commander Chew stated ‘if it was my choice, I would not proceed, but it is not my choice, determination is excessively overmuch governmental interference’.

“I said ‘that’s disappointing, fixed I deliberation determination is insufficient evidence’.”

Moller told the enquiry Tuesday Drumgold had “lost objectivity” successful the Lehrmann matter.

Moller remains successful the witnesser box. Other constabulary are expected to travel this week.