Senator Linda Reynolds accused of trying to 'train' defense attorneys in cross-examination of Brittany Higgins

The court heard evidence the senator attempted to obtain a transcript of Higgins' evidence before coming to court to give his own testimony.

Senator Linda Reynolds has been accused of attempting to "train" defense attorneys during the cross-examination of her former staff member, Brittany Higgins, and of improperly seeking to obtain a transcript of her evidence before appearing in court.

Reynolds on Monday began his evidence in the ACT's highest court, which had previously heard allegations from Higgins that he felt pressure from his then minister not to pursue a police complaint over his alleged rape at the hands of colleague and fellow Coalition staffer Bruce Lehrmann.

The court heard explosive evidence that Reynolds had attempted to obtain a transcript of Higgins' evidence before coming to court to give his own testimony.

The court heard that Reynolds had texted defense attorney, Steven Whybrow, during Higgins' evidence, seeking a copy of the transcript of his evidence.

The request was made two hours after Higgins' cross-examination. He also suggested to Whybrow that texts, including those between Higgins and another former Reynolds staffer, Nicole Hamer, might reveal to the defense. Prosecutor Shane Drumgold SC said: "What was your motive in trying to practice cross-examination?"

Reynolds replied: "That's not what I wanted to do."

Drumgold also pressured Reynolds about why he was trying to get a transcript of Higgins' evidence before coming to court.

"You've been looking for a transcript of Ms Higgins' evidence in this trial, haven't you?" he says.

Reynolds replied: "Yes."

Drumgold asked why, and Reynolds replied: "Because I want to know what was said, but I was told by my lawyer that it was inappropriate."

Drumgold then questions why the Reynolds are sitting in court, and asks Reynolds if he has discussed the case with him.

"My attorney has been very clear with him not to talk about it with me," Reynolds said.

Drumgold also accused Reynolds of trying to "practice cross-examination".

The court heard that Reynolds was in Rwanda at the time of Higgins' proof.

"You have nothing better to do in Rwanda?" asked Drumgold.

Lehrmann is accused of raping Higgins on the couch in Reynolds' office on March 23, 2019, after a night of drinking at a bar in Canberra.

Lehrmann denied the allegations and fought one charge of sexual intercourse without consent in court at the ACT Supreme Court.

The trial continues before Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

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