Afternoon Update: No retrial for Bruce Lehrmann; Chris Dawson sentenced; and viva magenta colour of the year

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Two major legal outcomes dominate the news today. Prosecutors have dropped the charges against Bruce Lehrmann over the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, saying a retrial would pose an “unacceptable risk” to her health. Lehrmann pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent and denied any sexual activity took place at all.

And Chris Dawson was sentenced to 24 years’ jail for the 1982 murder of his wife, Lynette, ending a long campaign for justice. With a non-parole period of 18 years, it’s likely Dawson – a former rugby league star and schoolteacher – will see out his final days behind bars.

Top news

Bruce Lehrmann outside court being followed by media
Former Liberal party staffer Bruce Lehrmann leaves the ACT supreme court. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
  • Lehrmann trial | The ACT director of public prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, announced the shock move this morning. Higgins was in hospital receiving treatment and support, her close friend Emma Webster said. Lehrmann had maintained his innocence to allegations he raped Higgins, a former colleague and fellow political staffer, in the office of the then defence industry minister, Linda Reynolds, in March 2019.

  • Dawson sentence | Dawson was found guilty in August of murdering his wife so he might have an unfettered relationship with a high school student who was also his babysitter, anonymised before the court as JC.

  • Jihadist extradition to Victoria | Accused Islamic State jihadist Neil Prakash – once considered the country’s most wanted terrorist – has appeared in a Darwin court over charges that could see him behind bars for life. The Melbourne-born former rapper is facing six terrorism charges after he allegedly joined and supported Islamic State in 2014, and will be extradited to Victoria by 9 December.

  • Covid update | The virus is still spreading in Victoria and New South Wales, with both states reporting increases in new cases in the last weekly reporting period. Victoria added 26,791 cases, with 54 deaths and 550 people in hospital. NSW added 37,796 cases, with 32 deaths and 1,481 people in hospital.

A view of the emergency department sign from outside Royal Perth hospital
Diane Miller, who was five months pregnant and had an eight-month-old son, died overnight at Royal Perth Hospital after her life support was turned off. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP
  • Perth pregnant mother death | Diane Miller, a 30-year-old Noongar woman, has died after being hit by a concrete block allegedly thrown through the open window of her car. Miller was five months pregnant, and also had an eight-month-old son. The 17-year-old boy who allegedly threw the concrete block was remanded in custody and is due to return to court on 9 December. “Everyone’s destroyed,” Miller’s brother Malcolm Clifton said.

  • Canadian murder of Indigenous women | A Canadian man previously charged with murdering an Indigenous woman has been accused of killing three other women – two also confirmed to be Indigenous and one believed to be. “I don’t know if they were specifically being targeted, but clearly the victims in this are all Indigenous women,” the Winnipeg police chief, Danny Smyth, said.

  • Germany out of World Cup | The four-time champions are a shock exit from the World Cup after a dramatic finale to their group games. Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2, but that wasn’t enough to get them through. Despite Spain losing to Japan in another shock result, the Spaniards advanced on goal difference.

Lewis Hamilton is wearing a magenta jacket, turtleneck and beanie with sunglasses
Lewis Hamilton at the F1 Grand Prix of Italy wearing the colour of year. Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images
  • Pantone’s colour of the year | … is viva magenta. “It’s brave, it’s fearless, it depicts optimism and joy – and we know that we are all greatly in need of that,” the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, says.

Full Story

The Australian and Aboriginal flags side by side
The National party announced this week that it will not support an Indigenous voice to parliament. Photograph: Jessica Hromas/The Guardian

Have the Nationals derailed the voice to parliament? – with Lenore Taylor

This week the National party said they will not support the proposal for an Indigenous voice to parliament, derailing hopes for bipartisan support for a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition. Is politics getting in the way of a genuine debate? Listen to this 24-minute episode.

What they said …


“No sentence is long enough for taking someone else’s life. So, 24 years – wonderful. He may not live for 24 years, but I hope he lives for quite a long time.” – Merilyn Simms, Lynette Dawson’s sister-in-law

In numbers

A graphic saying 61 bills pass through parliament in Albanese government’s first six months – the most legislation passed in the first few months since 2013

Before bed read

A top view of a pavlova with cream, peaches and blueberries on top
Make the most of this season’s fruit with a pavlova. Photograph: Jelena990/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Want to know which fruits and veggies are the cheapest this month? Check out our short guide on how to save while eating fresh.

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Antoun Issa

The GuardianTramp

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