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The Jury Were Unable To Reach A Verdict In The Bruce Lehrmann Trial — So What Does This Mean?

After four days of deliberation, the jury is hung.

By Lucy Cocoran
After entering their fourth day of deliberations, the 12-person jury determining the outcome of the Bruce Lehrmann case have announced they are unable to reach a verdict.
Lehrmann, who has been accused of raping former political staffer Brittany Higgins inside Parliament House on March 23, 2019, plead not guilty to sexual intercourse with Ms Higgins, without her consent and being reckless to her consent.
Chief Justice Lucy McCallum reduced the 16-person jury to 12 in a random ballot, as that is the number of people required to deliver a verdict. She said her summing up would be on several points: the presumption of innocence; the onus of proof remaining with the prosecutor; the standard of proof being beyond reasonable doubt and the respective roles of the barristers, the judge and the jury.
This article deals with sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.

what does a hung jury mean for the bruce lehrmann trial?

The jury, which was comprised of eight women and four men, have revealed they are unable to reach a unanimous 12-0 verdict on Lehrmann's charge.
Now, per Stela Todorovic from Channel 10 News, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum has asked the jury to retire again to see if they can reach a verdict in this trial, she will not call them back in until she receives another note from the jury.
She told the court that in her experience, juries can "often reach a verdict if given more time", before adding that if they cannot then they must stay true to their beliefs.
"All 12 of you must, in the end, agree on that verdict," she told the jurors. "It may be the particular paths which lead you to that unanimous decision may not be the same."
At 10am on the 24th October, the court reconvened after the jurors sent a note to ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum to inform her they needed more time.
"We have not yet reached an agreement of beyond reasonable doubt," the note, which was read out before the court, said.
In her response, the Judge told the jury that there was "no time expectation" placed upon them and they should "take all the time you need", before adding that she had seen juries deliberate for considerably longer than this group had been.
"There is no rush, there is no time limit," she said, adding the jurors should remain true to their oath to give a "true verdict according to the evidence".
The group of twelve were then asked to go back into the deliberation room and "relax, stay as calm as you can and take all the time you need".
Over a four day period, Higgins gave evidence and presented for cross-examination from Lehrmann's defence lawyer, Steven Whybrow.
Lehrmann did not take the stand, but his voluntary, three hour police interview was played to the courts.
Deliberations are still unfolding.
If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service or contact Full Stop Australia.
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  • undefined: Lucy Cocoran