Brittany Higgins: Lisa Wilkinson calls in top lawyer Matthew Collins

A TV legend who spent decades at Ten has fired off a scathing tweet directed at Lisa Wilkinson after her Logies speech led to a rape trial being delayed.

Legendary TV star Tim Bailey has taken another swipe at his former colleague Lisa Wilkinson after her Logies speech sparked a delay in the Brittany Higgins trial.

In an extraordinary deleted tweet, longtime 10 weatherman Bailey addressed Wilkinson directly: “Hey Lisa, pull ya head in,” he wrote.

“I know this might be difficult, because it is a very big head. But please try.”

He doubled down late on Wednesday night with another brutal sledge, tweeting: “Ricky Gervais once said of awards: “Just accept ya F-ing little trophy and F off!” Good advice, yeah?’

Legendary Ten news anchor Sandra Sully also liked a critical tweet from showbusiness reporter Peter Ford blasting Wilkinson’s speech.

“Such serious consequences from Lisa Wilkinson … if only she’d stuck to silly stories like the paparazzi who stalked her in Chapel St,” he posted.

Seven’s Sunrise co-host Natalie Barr also expressed shock on-air on Wednesday morning that the contents of Wilkinson’s Logies speech may not have been vetted by legal representatives.

“You know, we have our own lawyers, we often consult them before we put a story to air,” she said.

It comes amid reports Wilkinson has called upon the services of a top lawyer, just hours after he said her Logies speech about the Brittany Higgins case was “ill-advised”.

Matthew Collins, president of the Australian Bar Association, told Seven’s Sunrise on Wednesday morning that The Project host may be in serious trouble following scathing comments by ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

“It’s certainly possible that the authorities will be looking at speech she made to the Logies and assessing that speech went against the standard which applies in this branch of the law,” Dr Collins said.

“That standard is, did anything that she did have a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice?”

Within four hours of his comments on Sunrise, Dr Collins was contacted by the Ten Network and Wilkinson, The Australian reported.

Ten confirmed that Dr Collins had been called upon to represent the network and Wilkinson, adding that Ten “fully supports Lisa Wilkinson”.

“Both Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson take their legal obli­gations very seriously, including in the preparation and delivery of her speech given at the Logies event,” a spokeswoman said.

“In light of the continuing proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Dr Collins added in his comments on breakfast TV that members of mainstream media “understand the risk inherent in talking about cases which are about to go to trial before courts, particularly serious, high-profile cases”.

“So clearly this was ill-advised,” he said.

“The whole point is that everybody in our community facing a serious charge like this is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and that means that going into the courtroom there should be no preconceptions one way or the other, so that the jury just sits and focuses really keenly on the evidence as it unfolds in the witness box, and puts out of their mind anything which they might have seen in the media, or God forbid and often far worse, in social media.”

Meanwhile, a resurfaced tweet has revealed Wilkinson was aware of the danger in mentioning Brittany Higgins’ trial well before the Gold Logies at the weekend.

Wilkinson “completely obliterated” the line between an allegation and a finding of guilt, according to Chief Justice McCallum, who subsequently postponed the trial of Higgins’ accused rapist Bruce Lehrmann.

But barely a year ago, Wilkinson tweeted that “naming the man on social media and passing judgment could have dire consequences for the outcome of any trial”.

“On the issue of the 26 yo man summonsed for an alleged sexual assault of a woman in Parliament House in March 2019 can I implore everyone to respect what’s in play here,” she tweeted in August 2021.

Under the ACT Criminal Code, a person can be charged with an offence if they publish “something that could cause a miscarriage of justice in a legal proceeding”.

Doing so intentionally carries a maximum penalty of 1000 penalty units, 10 years imprisonment or both, while doing so recklessly carries a maximum penalty of 700 penalty units, seven years imprisonment or both.

Justice McCallum said she was making the order to delay the planned trial start date on June 27 with “gritted teeth”. “Unfortunately … the recent publicity [of the speech] does, in my view, change the landscape,’’ she said.

“Because of its immediacy, its intensity and its capacity to obliterate the important distinction between an allegation that remains untested at law. For those reasons, regrettably and with gritted teeth, I have concluded that the trial date of 27 June towards which the parties have been carefully steering must be vacated.”

Former Ten weatherman Tim Bailey publicly slammed Wilkinson in a since-deleted tweet, demanding the veteran journalist “pull (her) head in”.

Wilkinson won the Logie for Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report at Sunday’s Logie Awards for her reporting on the Higgins case.

Originally published as Lisa Wilkinson calls in top lawyer Matthew Collins after he called her Logies speech ‘ill-advised’

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