Brittany Higgins has admitted deleting material from her phone before giving it to police investigating the claim she was raped at Parliament House, with pictures of her former boss among what was "scrubbed".
"I never wanted to see Linda Reynolds' face again," Ms Higgins told the ACT Supreme Court on Friday, referring to the senator for whom she worked at the time of her alleged rape by Bruce Lehrmann.
Lehrmann has rejected allegations he raped Ms Higgins on a couch in the ministerial office of Senator Reynolds when they were colleagues in March 2019, denying any sexual activity occurred.
He is on trial, having pleaded not guilty to a charge of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent.
When cross-examination of Ms Higgins resumed on Friday, the fourth day of the trial, defence barrister Steven Whybrow asked if she recalled deleting anything from her phone before turning it over to police.
Ms Higgins said she "potentially" did, before later saying she "openly admitted" that was the case.
"I wanted to scrub all the horrible parts out of my day-to-day existence," she told the court, denying any intention to hide any potentially relevant material from police.
Ms Higgins said she lived on her phone, describing the device as "my life".
"My phone is my home and I didn't want [Senator Reynolds] in my home," she said.
"I wanted her out. I wanted to purge her from my life."
The former Liberal Party staffer indicated she did not know whether she had removed the pictures before or after her allegations became public, adding that Senator Reynolds was "not a bad person".
"It is what it is," she said.
MORE COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL:
- Higgins secretly recorded 'weirdest phone call' with Cash after quitting
- 'It may sound ridiculous': Higgins admits 'mistake' about 'weird anchor' dress
- Meeting with minister at site of alleged rape felt like 'scare tactic': Higgins
- 'Like this weird anchor': Higgins kept dress under bed while weighing up action
- Higgins 'rebuffed kiss' from accused rapist before allegedly being 'trapped'
- Public 'sold a pup' with 'unstoppable snowball' story of alleged Higgins rape
A message Ms Higgins had sent to former partner Ben Dillaway about two weeks after the alleged rape was also missing from the alleged rape victim's phone by the time police received it in 2021.
"I'm not interested in pursuing it but it's all beyond strange," the text said.
Again, Ms Higgins said nothing been deleted with the intention of keeping it from police.
Ms Higgins also spoke of being "terrified" to give investigators her phone early last year, around the time she decided to pursue a formal complaint, because "politically sensitive" police probes were reported to the home affairs minister.
"[Then-minister] Peter Dutton came out and said he had the baseline outline of my case before I even gave a [formal police] interview," she told the court.
"I know how information flows within the ministerial wing. I know that it's not siloed. I was very scared. I was seeking legal advice to know my rights because I was terrified."
The court had earlier heard Ms Higgins was also "terrified" of taking police action in April 2019, when she spoke to federal agents in "the bowels" of Parliament House about a week after the alleged rape.
She said she was "tossing up" pursuing a formal complaint against Lehrmann at that stage, but she was not ready to decide after having just had "a very intense conversation" with Senator Reynolds.
Ms Higgins detailed that conversation on Thursday, telling the court it felt like "a scare tactic" designed to dissuade her from taking police action because it would create "problems" for the Liberal Party.
The conversation, which also involved Senator Reynolds' chief of staff, Fiona Brown, occurred in the same room where Ms Higgins alleged she had been raped.
The trial continues.