Brittany Higgins has confronted the man accused of raping her, pointing at him across a courtroom and telling him "nothing was fine after what you did to me".
The former Liberal Party staffer returned to the witness stand in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday, directing the comment at Bruce Lehrmann while fielding questions from his counsel.
She also denied being a lying "monster" as the jury trial of Lehrmann, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of engaging in sexual intercourse without consent, continued.
Lehrmann denies any sexual activity with Ms Higgins at Parliament House in the early hours of March 23, 2019, when he is accused of raping her on a couch in the office of their boss at the time, Senator Linda Reynolds, after what has been described as "a drunken night out".
EVIDENCE NOW ABLE TO BE PUBLISHED:
- Lehrmann 'in a hurry to get out' after alleged rape: parliament security
- 'My world has been rocked': Lehrmann tells police of 'Bruce the rapist' impersonator
- 'Broken, shattered person': Light in Higgins 'turned off' after alleged rape
- 'Bruce got quite handsy': What Higgins told parliament police after alleged rape
After being unavailable to continue giving evidence for a week, Ms Higgins came back to court on Friday to continue being cross-examined by defence barrister Steven Whybrow.
Mr Whybrow pressed Ms Higgins on her responses to the alleged rape in its aftermath, asking about her interactions with Lehrmann, 27, and others at work.
Ms Higgins replied that she had been "just trying to hold on", telling Mr Whybrow she had been "really scared" because Lehrmann held a more senior position than her.
She added that she had been "compartmentalising my trauma" and "pretending everything was fine" because she cared about her job "more than anything in the world, which is f---ed up".
"Nothing was fine," Ms Higgins said, looking past Mr Whybrow at Lehrmann and pointing.
"Nothing was fine after what you did to me. Nothing."
Mr Whybrow later suggested to Ms Higgins that embarrassment at being found naked by a security guard in Senator Reynolds' office, and fear she would lose her job, had motivated her to do "what [she] believed was necessary" to make people believe she had been raped.
Ms Higgins took umbrage at the proposition, insisting she had been sexually assaulted.
"I'm not a monster," she told Mr Whybrow.
"I would never do something like that. You're asserting to me that I have completely fabricated this just to keep a job. I cared about my job, but I would never do that."
Mr Whybrow went on to suggest to Ms Higgins that, upon entering the ministerial suite of Senator Reynolds on the morning in question, she and Lehrmann walked in opposite directions.
He put it to her that the pair did not see each other again before each of them left the building, and that Lehrmann had never come into the room in which she claims to have been raped on the couch.
Ms Higgins replied that she obviously did not agree, and that "[Lehrmann] raped me".
"He was in there," she said.
"He was physically violating me. He was in my body. I know."
Also on Friday, Mr Whybrow revisited the issue of Ms Higgins having not followed through on plans to see a doctor in the wake of the alleged rape.
The defence barrister suggested last week that the reason for this was that the alleged sexual assault had not taken place, and Ms Higgins again rejected the claim on Friday.
"Confronting it with professionals was a really big f---ing deal to me," Ms Higgins said, reiterating previous comments about being barely able to function after the alleged rape.
"I wasn't perfect."
Under re-examination by prosecutor Shane Drumgold SC, Ms Higgins said she had feared for her job not as a consequence of having entered Parliament House after-hours, but because reporting the alleged rape to police might result in negative publicity for the Liberal Party before an election.
Ms Higgins also defended her decision to speak to the media around the same time she decided, in 2021, to pursue a formal police complaint.
She said going public was about exposing cultural issues in Parliament House, where she said there were "a dozen stories like mine", while speaking to police was specifically about her alleged rape.
The trial is set to continue next Monday, when Chief Justice Lucy McCallum told jurors the prosecution was likely to call all but one of its remaining witnesses in the case against Lehrmann.
MORE COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL:
- Higgins 'unavailable' to continue cross-examination in rape trial, jury told
- Higgins had planned book before being 'blown away' by $325k offer, court hears
- 'So incorrect': Higgins hits back at 'deeply insulting' cross-examination
- 'I wanted her out': Higgins denies attempt to hide evidence, admits 'scrubbing' phone
- 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