Originally published on theconversation.com
A man has been summonsed to face court over the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.
A statement from ACT police on Friday afternoon said the man, aged 26, had been summonsed to appear in court for an alleged sexual assault in 2019.
“Police will allege the man had sexual intercourse without consent at Parliament House on Saturday, 23 March 2019,” the statement said.
It said detectives from ACT Policing’s Criminal Investigations-Sexual Assault and Child Abuse team had first received a report about the matter in April 2019.
“The investigation remained open and in February 2021 a formal complaint was made. Detectives have since spoken to a number of witnesses and collected evidence as part of the investigation,” the statement said.
It said that on Friday officers “served the man’s legal representative with a summons to appear before the ACT Magistrates Court on September 16 2021.
“The man will face one charge of sexual intercourse without consent”.
The maximum penalty is 12 years jail.
Higgins, who in 2019 was a staffer in the office of Linda Reynolds, then defence industry minister, alleged a colleague raped her in the minister’s office.
Higgins’ making public her allegation had seismic political consequences.
Reynolds faced extensive criticism over her handling of the matter and was moved from her position of defence minister in a subsequent cabinet reshuffle.
Inquiries were set up into the political culture at Parliament House, including one by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, who is to present her final report later this year.
After a review by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s deputy secretary Stephanie Foster, there is to be a one-hour, face-to-face training session for parliamentarians and staff on sexual harassment. The government has made it mandatory for ministers and Coalition staffers to attend.
A body is also being set up to deal with complaints about behaviour in the parliamentary workplace.
Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.