Find a Tradie

Bruce Lehrmann named as the 'high profile' figure in Toowoomba rape allegation

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Bruce Lehrmann has been publicly named as the high profile man accused of raping a woman in Toowoomba two years ago.

Lehrmann, a former federal Liberal staffer, was accused by former colleague Brittany Higgins of raping her in a ministerial office in 2019. The case went to trial but that was aborted after improper behaviour by a juror[1]. Lehrmann has always maintained his innocence.

A change in Queensland law recently came into effect which allows accused sex offenders to be named following being charged, rather than only after being committed for trial, as previously.

Lehrmann, 28, sought to keep his name suppressed in relation to the Toowoomba matter. But magistrate Clare Kelly rejected the argument for continued suppression of his identity. On Thursday the Queensland Supreme Court upheld her decision.

While Lehrmann’s name could not previously be published, it was widely known in political, legal and media circles that he was the man accused. He was commonly referred to, in connected with the Queensland case, as a “high profile” man.

Media companies fought the attempt at continued suppression.

Lehrmann is charged with two counts of rape alleged to have occurred in Toowoomba in October 2021.

In Thursday’s hearing Lehrmann’s barrister Andrew Hoare, arguing Kelly’s decision had been in error, highlighted mental health risks from identification. But Rob Anderson, for media companies, noted Lehrmann had appeared, identified, in media interviews.

Backing the magistrate’s decision, Justice Applegarth said it was “open to a reasonable decision-maker to not be satisfied that the non-publication order was necessary to protect the safety” of Lehrmann.

Applegarth said: “Rather than lower his public profile and retreat from the media spotlight, the applicant chose for whatever reason to appear more than once on national television and revisit events that had triggered his mental illness in early 2021”.

Lehrmann has defamation action on foot against Network 10, journalist Lisa Wikenson and the ABC.


  1. ^ after improper behaviour by a juror (theconversation.com)

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more https://theconversation.com/bruce-lehrmann-named-as-the-high-profile-figure-in-toowoomba-rape-allegation-216451