The man accused of raping Brittany Higgins has lost his bid to delay the ACT supreme court trial.
On Friday, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum rejected an application by Bruce Lehrmann for a temporary or permanent stay, along with his bid to have media articles about the alleged sexual assault taken down.
Lehrmann denies any form of sexual activity took place in early 2019 and is pleading not guilty. The trial has been set down for a six-week hearing starting on 6 June.
Lehrmann’s lawyers had argued a fair trial was impossible because of the publicity surrounding the case and the requirement for a jury trial.
In a redacted judgment, McCallum explained her reasons for refusing the application to have the media articles taken down. She said it was a “pious hope” to attempt to regulate the press by the “inexact tool of suppression” given the advent of social media and the internet.
“For the reasons already stated, I am not persuaded that the material which the evidence establishes remains on the internet is of a kind that cannot be addressed by appropriate direction to the jury,” the judge said.
McCallum also rejected a request for a broader injunction suppressing “publications” about the case, stating it would be “impossible to enforce” and “it is not clear even to me to whom it is directed”.