Lisa Wilkinson has been slammed by her former boss who called her Logies speech – which caused a delay in the trial of the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins – ‘disgraceful’ and said it made him ‘ashamed’.
Radio 4BC breakfast show host Neil Breen, who was the executive producer when Wilkinson presented Today on Channel Nine, erupted at her on Wednesday morning.
Breen said the circumstances behind the indefinite postponement in the trial of Bruce Lehrmann, were ‘absolutely extraordinary’.
Lehrmann, charged with sexual intercourse without consent, has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Ms Higgins.
Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) has been slammed in a tirade by one of her former bossed at Channel Nine
On Wednesday morning, Breen said he had been warning for the past year that ‘the allegations can be made, but someone needs a fair trial.
‘That is the premise of our justice system.
‘The magistrates and the Supreme Court justices in the ACT have been warning for some time now, about journalists to calm down on the commentary, regarding this case.
‘Because once Bruce Lehrmann stands trial, then he has to get a fair trial,’ Breen said.
Breen said ‘What happened in the ACT Supreme Court was absolutely extraordinary.’
He quoted ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum saying ‘The implicit premise of (Ms Wilkinson’s speech) is to celebrate the truthfulness of the story she exposed’.
‘So, in other words, she’s saying Lisa Wilkinson got up there on stage and boasted about the truthfulness of the story she put to air, before any of the evidence has been tested in court.’
Breen said he would not want his reporting called into question.
‘As a journalist of three-and-a-half decades, I don’t want a judge saying that about me. And that’s what the judge has said about Lisa Wilkinson and her unfettered behaviour.
‘It’s disgraceful, and I’m ashamed of our profession that this has occurred,’ Breen said.
‘To make it worse, Lisa Wilkinson is expected to be a witness in the case … What a shameful episode for the profession that I love.’
Neil Breen (pictured) slammed Lisa Wilkinson on his 4BC breakfast radio show on Wednesday
Wilkinson’s comments about Ms Higgins in her Logie winning speech led Justice McCallum to order a delay in the trial through ‘gritted teeth’.
The host of Channel 10’s The Project had been warned her Logies speech could jeopardise the trial, the judge said.
However, she still went ahead with it anyway before her decision backfired spectacularly and the judge delayed the case.
Justice McCallum told the court Wilkinson had previously sought advice on whether the speech was appropriate.
Wilkinson met the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold on June 15 to discuss the evidence she would give at the trial.
At the end of the meeting, Wilkinson mentioned she had been nominated for a Logie, according to a note of the meeting taken by the Mr Drumgold.
She started to read the speech she intended to give if she won, but the DPP stopped her and said he had no power to approve or provide advice on the speech.
‘We are not speech editors,’ Mr Drumgold told Ms Wikinson.
Justice McCallum said Ms Wilkinson went ahead with her speech anyway.
‘Notwithstanding that clear and appropriate warning, upon receiving the award, Ms Wilkinson gave a speech in which she openly referred to and praised the complainant in the present trial,’ she said.
Former political staffer Brittany Higgins (pictured front) speaks to the media as she leaves the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices after meeting with then prime minister Scott Morrison in Sydney on Friday, April 30, 2021
Bruce Lehrmann (pictured), is charged with sexual intercourse without consent. He has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Brittany Higgins at Parliament House in Canberra
In the hours since, Wilkinson was also slammed in a now deleted tweet by former Channel 10 colleague, weather presenter Tim Bailey.
He called her a ‘big head’ and told her to pull ‘ya head in’.
Veteran 10 news anchor Sandra Sully and Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr also joined the pile-on.
TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson (right) is pictured with former political staffer Brittany Higgins (left)
Sully liked a tweet from showbusiness reporter Peter Ford blasting Wilkinson’s speech.
That message said: ‘Such serious consequences from Lisa Wilkinson… if only she’d stuck to silly stories like the paparazzi who stalked her in Chapel St.’
Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr expressed disbelief on the breakfast TV show on Wednesday, saying Seven always runs stories by their lawyers before going to air.
‘You know, we have our own lawyers, we often consult them before we put a story to air, would this have been the case where Channel 10’s lawyers should have stepped in and lawyered this speech?’
Lisa Wilkinson is pictured giving her Logies speech on Sunday night, where she thanked Brittany Higgins for sharing her story of an alleged sexual assault