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Man charged over Brittany Higgins rape allegation denies any sexual activity

Police have charged a 26-year-old man with raping former government adviser Brittany Higgins in Parliament House two years ago.

Ending almost six months of doubt over whether charges would be laid, the police served the summons on the man’s lawyers on Friday to ask him to appear at the ACT Magistrates Court on September 16.

Brittany Higgins speaks at the March 4 Justice protest outside Parliament House.

Brittany Higgins speaks at the March 4 Justice protest outside Parliament House.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

“The man will face one charge of sexual intercourse without consent. The maximum penalty for this offence is 12 years’ imprisonment,” the ACT Policing division of the Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Friday.

Lawyers for the man said he would defend the charge and denied any form of sexual activity took place.

Ms Higgins went public in February with her claim that a colleague raped her in the office of Senator Linda Reynolds in March 2019, setting off a public debate about her treatment and the culture at Parliament House.

The political storm led Senator Reynolds to apologise for not offering Ms Higgins enough support, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced questions over how many staff in his office knew of the allegations years before they were made public.

The police named Saturday, March 23, 2019, as the date of the alleged rape, the same date Ms Higgins named when she spoke to the media.

“Detectives from ACT Policing’s Criminal Investigations Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team, the specialist team dedicated to investigating sexual assaults in the ACT, first received a report in April 2019,” the police said in a statement on Friday.

“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.”

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