Lisa Wilkinson hires lawyer who blasted her Logies speech as ‘ill-advised’ on Sunrise after it delayed Brittany Higgins’ rape trial

Lisa Wilkinson has hired a senior Australian barrister just hours after he blasted her on Sunrise over her “ill-advised” Logie Awards speech.

Dr Matthew Collins told Sunrise on Wednesday it was a “serious possibility” the media personality could face legal troubles after her speech resulted in the delay of Brittany Higgins’ rape trial.

See more on Wilkinson’s latest move in the video player above

Watch Sunrise on Channel 7 and stream it for free on 7plus >>

It’s understood Collins was approached to represent Wilkinson and Network 10 later that day amid concerns she could be charged with contempt of court or similar offences.

During his interview on the Seven breakfast show, the Australian Bar Association president Collins explained how the TV star’s decision to reference Higgins when she took to the stage after winning an award was the wrong one.

“It’s certainly possible that the authorities will be looking at the speech that she made to the Logies and assessing that speech against the standard which applies in this branch of the law,” the top barrister told David Koch and Natalie Barr.

“That standard is, did anything that she do have a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice?”

Collins said Wilkinson’s speech was “ill-advised” and that a media veteran should have known better.

“You would hope that whenever the media is contemplating running a story about a serious criminal trial which is about to begin, they would be attuned to the potential risks,” he added.

“The mainstream media understand the risk inhering with talking about cases which are about to go to trial, particularly serious high-profile cases.

“So clearly this was ill-advised.

“The concern is that potential members of the jury whose job is to apply the presumption of innocence and to focus on the evidence in the trial might be influenced by things they’ve been exposed to in the media and in social media.”

See Collins’ full interview on Sunrise in the video player below

If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your .

To find out more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Guide.

In a statement, a Ten spokesperson confirmed the network had hired Collins and said management “fully supports Lisa Wilkinson”.

“Both Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson take their legal obli­gations very seriously, including in the preparation and delivery of her speech given at the Logies event,” they said.

“In light of the continuing proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Brittany Higgins’ rape trial delayed

It comes after the ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum on Tuesday chose to delay the trial of Bruce Lehrmann, the man accused of sexually assaulting fellow Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins inside an office in Parliament House in 2019, due to Wilkinson’s speech and publicity it generated.

Lehrmann was due to stand trial next week over the alleged rape and has pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, McCallum set the trial to begin on October 4.

“A period of three months is a significant period where prejudice issues fade in the mind of potential jurors,” she told the court.

On Tuesday, McCallum told the court she had delayed the criminal trial “with gritted teeth” after Lehrmann’s defence team requested a temporary stay.

“Unfortunately, however, the recent publicity (of the speech) does, in my view, change the landscape,’’ she said.

“Because of its immediacy, its intensity and its capacity to obliterate the important distinction between an allegation that remains untested at law.

The trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting Brittany Higgins inside Parliament House has been delayed following a Logie Awards speech by Lisa Wilkinson. Credit: Instagram
Bruce Lehrmann is accused of sexually assaulting fellow Liberal Party staffer Higgins inside an office in Parliament House in 2019. Credit: Instagram

Earlier this week, it was also revealed that Wilkinson was warned four days before Sunday’s Logies that she could hinder the trial by speaking about Higgins at the awards night.

Despite the caution, the 62-year-old took to the stage after winning the Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report award for her January 2021 interview with the alleged rape victim.

“Notwithstanding that clear and appropriate warning, upon receiving the award, Ms Wilkinson gave a speech in which she openly referred to and praised the complainant in the present trial,” McCallum said.

“Unsurprisingly, the award, and the content of the speech have been the subject of further commentary.”

Wilkinson delivered the speech despite being warned against doing so. Credit: Getty Images

McCallum said the significant publicity had now “obliterated” the distinction between an allegation and a finding of guilt.

“The public at large is given to believe guilt is established. The importance of the rule of law has been set at nil.”

– With AAP

If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your .

To find out more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Guide.

Leave a Comment