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Woman Gives Evidence in Closed Court in Bruce Lehrmann Rape Case

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The complainant in the rape case against former political staffer Bruce Lehrmann has started giving her evidence in a closed court at the Toowoomba Magistrates Court.

Magistrate Mark Howden made the decision for the court to be closed during the woman’s testimony and ordered that Lehrmann be obscured from her view.

The witness is providing her testimony via video link from a remote location, with the media’s application to observe the evidence being denied by the court.

Crown prosecutor Nicole Friedewald confirmed the implementation of special measures during the complainant’s evidence, including obscuring Lehrmann from her view, which was not opposed by the defense.

Lehrmann, accompanied by his solicitor Rowan King, arrived at the Toowoomba Magistrates Court early in the morning for his committal hearing on the rape charges.

The charges against Lehrmann, 29, relate to the alleged rapes that occurred in Toowoomba in October 2021, with this appearance marking his first in-person attendance at the court.

During earlier court hearings, Lehrmann’s legal team had requested and obtained access to data from the complainant’s mobile phone, though specifics of the allegations have not been publicly disclosed.

Lehrmann’s identity was previously shielded from the public due to laws preventing the identification of individuals charged with prescribed sexual offenses, which has since been changed to allow for disclosure.

The Toowoomba courtroom was closed as the complainant began providing her evidence, with media outlets including News Corp, ABC, and Nine contesting to be present during the testimony, a request that was ultimately denied by Magistrate Howden.

Lehrmann’s barrister, Andrew Hoare KC, argued against media presence during the testimony, asserting that potential publication could be prejudicial to the complainant’s privacy.

The legal proceedings continue as the court hears the testimony in this highly publicized case.

Rachel Adams

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