The Long Road
Listen to Today's Edition
Australian prosecutors dropped a rape charge against a former parliamentary staff member in a case that has roiled the country for months, as well as prompted scrutiny over Australia’s government and criminal justice system, the New York Times reported.
The case centers on accusations that former staffer, Bruce Lehrmann, raped his colleague, Britanny Higgins, inside Australia’s parliament building in 2019.
Higgins first went public with the accusations last year, which sparked street protests and condemnation of what many female lawmakers have called a toxic and misogynistic culture in Australia’s legislature.
The trial against Lehrmann began in October but was halted within a few weeks because of juror misconduct. Lehrmann has denied the charges.
Lead prosecutor Shane Drumgold said he will not be seeking a retrial over concerns that the proceedings have caused Higgins mental trauma, presenting a “significant and unacceptable risk” to her well-being.
Sarah Maddison, professor of political science at the University of Melbourne, said the decision not to seek a retrial was a “reminder that the Australian legal system is hostile to women.”