Brittany Higgins says she kept the dress she wore on the night she was allegedly raped in a bag underneath her bed for six months, before washing it and wearing it one last time.
Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann is on trial in the ACT Supreme Court for allegedly raping his then colleague, Ms Higgins, in a minister's office in Parliament House after a drunken night out in March 2019.
Mr Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of rape, and his lawyers will argue that sexual intercourse never took place.
This afternoon the court heard Ms Higgins supplied the dress she was wearing on the night of the alleged rape to police in February 2021 as a part of their investigation.
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The court was shown pictures of the dress, and Ms Higgins was asked by prosecutors whether she wore it again.
"I kept it under my bed in a plastic bag for a good six months. Untouched, uncleaned," she said.
"I just had it there and I wasn't sure, because of all the party political stuff how I could proceed or if I could proceed without losing my job. So I kept it there.
"It was like this weird anchor for me. Once it was very clear that I couldn't proceed without losing my job … I very symbolically washed it and then I wore it once more."
'I don't remember any of this'
Earlier this morning, Ms Higgins was brought to tears in the witness box as she viewed CCTV footage of her entry into Parliament House on the night she was allegedly raped.
The ACT Supreme Court was first played audio of Mr Lehrmann requesting entry to the building via an intercom, and saying "we've been requested to pick up some documents. I've forgotten my pass."
Brittany Higgins kept dress she wore on night she was allegedly raped by Bruce Lehrmann under her bed for six months
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The court was then played the CCTV footage of Ms Higgins entering Parliament House with Mr Lehrmann, which involved going through the security check.
In the video, Ms Higgins has to walk through the scanner twice and struggles to put her shoes on, before she eventually gives up and walks into Parliament House barefoot.
She said she did not remember going through the security check twice when asked in court.
"I don't remember any of this," she told the court.
The court previously heard that Ms Higgins had been more drunk than she had ever been on that night, and that Mr Lehrmann had signed the security register at Parliament House for both himself and Ms Higgins, because she was too drunk to write.
Ms Higgins was also shown images of the couch where the alleged incident occurred inside the office of then defence industry minister Linda Reynolds, and asked to tell the court her version of events.
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She explained where she had been lying on the couch before she was allegedly awoken to Mr Lehrmann on top of her.
"I was like a prop, pinned into that corner and my leg … one was flattened on that side and the other one was pinned up on the couch on that side," she said.
Brittany Higgins told ex about alleged assault
While on the stand, Ms Higgins was also asked about a text conversation between her and a former partner in the days following the alleged assault.
She told the court it was one of the first times she had begun to disclose what allegedly happened on the evening when she returned to Parliament House.
"I hadn't told anyone about the assault so I was slowly trying to wade my way into this conversation ... I didn’t want to rip off the band aid and be like, 'I was raped,'" she said.
"I wanted to start the conversation."
Trial enters third day
The trial of Mr Lehrmann has now entered its third day and is expected to run for at least four weeks.
Yesterday, the court heard Ms Higgins did not seek medical treatment after the allegedly rape, but took a pregnancy test weeks later while working on the federal election campaign in Perth.
The court was played recordings of Ms Higgins's police interviews from last year, and was also shown CCTV footage from a bar she had been to on the night of the alleged crime.
The footage showed her consuming multiple drinks throughout the evening, before and after Mr Lehrmann arrived.
The defence will put its case to the jury in coming days.
The court heard briefly from Mr Lehrmann's legal team on Tuesday, as they said their client had already faced a "trial by media" since Ms Higgins's allegations were made public last year.
In laying out the defence case, his barrister Steve Whybrow said he would discuss "holes" in the case against Mr Lehrmann, and question what prompted Ms Higgins to eventually air her allegation.
The case continues.