Former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann, who has recently given high-profile TV interviews, was charged with two counts of rape earlier this year.
It is alleged they stem from an incident in Toowoomba back in October 2021. He has not entered a plea to the charges but denies the allegations.
Due to laws in Queensland Mr Lehrmann’s identity could not be revealed when he first faced court in January this year, only referred to in press as a “high profile” man.
That protection was revoked earlier this month after the Queensland state government changed parts of the legislation.
Mr Applegarth said that Mr Lehrmann’s decision to take part in a Spotlight interview – as well as other interviews on Sunrise and SKY News – were at odds with his lawyer’s claims that media coverage of the new allegations could damage his mental health.
“On Channel Seven’s Spotlight program on 4 June 2023, the applicant stated ‘Let’s light some fires’ and later said ‘Everything needs to be out there, in the open, so people can assess this for what it is.’”
Mr Applegarth said in court on Thursday said, “A cynic might say: ‘I hope Channel Seven paid him, or his solicitors, a lot of money’, for the consequences it had on his application, if nothing else.”
The judge added that while being named would “weigh heavily” on Mr Lehrmann, the “unfortunate effect on his mental health” was not enough reason to uphold the non-publication order.
“Rather than lower his public profile and retreat from the media spotlight, the applicant chose for whatever reason to appear more than once on national television and revisit events that had triggered his mental illness in early 2021,” Applegarth wrote.
“He seemingly felt well enough to engage with sections of the national media, and to deal with any resulting further coverage he received from the media outlets he appeared on and other media that followed up on his high-profile appearances.”
Channel 7’s Spotlight has previously claimed Mr Lehrmann was not paid for his interview with Liam Bartlett but added the network had paid for some “accomodation.”
He is currently engaged in separate legal action against Network 10 and ABC.