Outgoing ACT prosecutor sues over Lehrmann inquiry

Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

The ACT's outgoing top prosecutor is taking legal action against the inquiry into Bruce Lehrmann's prosecution.

Shane Drumgold's case is listed to be heard in the ACT Supreme Court on September 14, but no details were immediately available.

Mr Drumgold resigned as director of public prosecutions in August after a board of inquiry, set up by the ACT government, made adverse findings against him.

The inquiry, chaired by former Queensland judge Walter Sofronoff, examined accusations from police and prosecutors about each other's conduct during Mr Lehrmann's rape trial.

Brittany Higgins accused Mr Lehrmann, her former colleague, of raping her inside a ministerial office at Parliament House after a night out in 2019.

Mr Lehrmann has always denied the allegation.

Mr Sofronoff made several serious findings of misconduct against Mr Drumgold, including that it had become clear he had lost objectivity and did not act with fairness and detachment as was required.

He also found Mr Drumgold knowingly lied to the ACT chief justice about the nature of a note relating to a meeting with broadcaster Lisa Wilkinson and a speech she later made when she won a Logie for her interview with Ms Higgins.

While Mr Drumgold accepted his conduct was less than perfect, he strongly disputed engaging in deliberate or underhanded conduct in the trial or that he was dishonest.

He has been contacted for comment.

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury noted the legal action in a speech to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

"Mr Drumgold has now commenced legal proceedings in relation to the report," he said.

Mr Rattenbury said the inquiry had been an "important step" in reviewing the criminal justice system, as well as identifying areas where agencies can work together to strengthen it.

"The government is committed to ongoing work being undertaken by multiple agencies to prevent and respond to sexual violence in our community," he said.

"The outcomes of the board of inquiry, as well as the range of other measures implemented or under way, are designed to ensure that our system of justice is robust, fair and respects the rights of those involved."

He also released a letter from NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Sally Dowling in which she points out a "significant factual inaccuracy" in the Sofronoff report.

Ms Dowling said a reference in the report to a NSW Supreme Court judge's opinion in a particular case was in fact a paraphrase of the views of the Australian Federal Police from an article in The Australian newspaper.

In October 2022, Mr Lehrmann faced a criminal trial in the ACT Supreme Court but juror misconduct derailed the proceedings and the trial was discontinued.

Mr Drumgold ultimately dropped the prosecution against Mr Lehrmann, fearing the impact of a second trial on Ms Higgins' mental health.