EXCLUSIVE: He’s the husband of Senator Linda Reynolds and a former communications supremo for the Australian Medical Association and spin doctor for Liberal Party MPs who also longs for a political career himself. But now Robert Reid has found himself in the public spotlight for all the wrong reasons after being caught out spying on the Bruce Lehrmann rape trial at the very moment alleged victim and survivor Brittany Higgins was testifying. Serkan Ozturk reports.
The jury in the rape trial of Bruce Lehrmann has retired and is currently deliberating on the guilt or innocence of the alleged rapist and former Liberal Party adviser.
Prosecutors allege Lehrmann committed rape against his former colleague, Brittany Higgins, by having sexual intercourse without consent inside the Parliament House offices of former Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in the early hours of Saturday, March 23, 2019.
True Crime News Weekly was the first media outlet to publicly identify Lehrmann as the prime suspect involved in the alleged Parliament House rape back in mid-February 2021. He was only identified by mainstream media outlets six months later, in early August 2021, after being charged by police over the alleged rape.
The trial has been held in the ACT Supreme Court in front of Chief Justice Lucy McCallum, with the case running for 12 days this month and hearing evidence from almost 30 witnesses, including Senator Reynolds and former attorney-general Michaelia Cash.
During the trial, it was heard that Reynolds admitted that she contacted defence lawyers during the trial asking for a transcript of Ms Higgins’s testimony. The experienced politician claimed she wasn’t aware that doing so maybe in contempt of court. Senator Reynolds was also accused of attempting to ‘coach’ Lehrmann’s defence team.
It got stranger from there.
Cash then claimed she didn’t know what “plausible deniability” may be despite having been the nation’s chief legal officer at one point in her cynical and selfish political career. Ms Higgins had worked for Cash between June 2019 until February 2021.
Yet it’s another person closely affiliated with Reynolds and the Liberal Party and who was in attendance inside the courtroom during the case who has now become the centre of attention and star turn in a criminal trial that has become symbolic for the shambles that is modern-day politics in Australia.
Hiding in the back of the public gallery spying on the case has been none other than Linda Reynolds’s own husband, hitherto described as her “partner” by mainstream media who have so far refused to identify him by name.
True Crime News Weekly can reveal his name to be Robert Reid. And that he too is closely connected with the Liberal Party.
I Spy Two: Linda Reynolds and husband Robert Reid (Image: Supplied)
Reid was the longtime director of communications for the influential Australian Medical Association (AMA). It is believed he held the role for almost a decade, from 2011 to until late 2020.
It seems he eventually quit the powerful medical lobby so he could have a tilt at his own conservative political career, putting his name forward in December 2020 for Liberal pre-selection for the West Australian lower house seat of Bateman.
Unfortunately for Reid he lost out to City of Melville councillor and Tangney Liberal division president Matthew Woodall.
Reid then worked for Liberal MP, Ken Wyatt, until he was ousted at this year’s federal election in May 2022.
“Leadership of all political and media management on behalf of one of WA’s most active membership based organisations,” Reid states in one since deleted online professional bio about his time working in Wyatt’s office.
Sensationally, or of great serendipity and coincidence, Reid happened to find himself inside the court room right at the very moment Ms Higgins was testifying about the rape attack allegedly committed by Lehrmann while she was highly intoxicated and in a vulnerable state.
While she was on the stand, Senator Reynolds was asked by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, to explain exactly why her partner just happened to be in the back of the court on the very day of Ms Higgins’s testimony.
“During Ms Higgins’s evidence you’re in Rwanda and your partner lives in Perth and your partner finds himself in the back of the court listening to Ms Higgins’s evidence, correct?” Drumgold asked about Reid’s bizarre cameo in the trial.
In response, Senator Reynolds said the married couple also had a home in Canberra and that she had not asked her husband to tell her what Ms Higgins had said in court.
The court later heard that Senator Reynolds was in fact not in Rwanda, but in Perth, at the time her husband was in Canberra inside the court room listening to Ms Higgins’s testimony.
Reynolds then claimed that her lawyer had told her that seeking out information about another witness’s testimony was inappropriate.
“I wanted to know what had been said but my lawyer advised against it,” she told the trial.
“I wasn’t aware it wasn’t appropriate.”
In the wake of the publicity, it seems her husband gone to ground.
Reid’s professional LinkedIn account under the profile “Communications CEO” has seemingly been recently deleted.
Former Labor Senator Doug Cameron was one of many who did not hold back in their criticism of Reynolds and her husband’s recent court room antics after it was made public by media reporting.
“What a dope!” Cameron blasted on Twitter. “Linda Reynolds was a minister of the crown and doesn’t have the common sense or basic knowledge of court procedures to ensure she does not recklessly interfere in a criminal proceeding.”
Cameron then added about Reynolds: “Always overrated and full of self importance!”
It’s not the first time the married pair and wannabe Liberal power couple have found themselves in a spot of bother when it comes to ethics and morals.
“What a dope”: Former Labor senator Doug Cameron is no fan of Linda Reynolds and her husband’s court room spying tactics (Image: Supplied / Twitter)
In February 2020, the Daily Mail revealed that Reynolds while Defence Minister had charged taxpayers $5,500 to attend the Medicare’s ‘Mid-Life Crisis’ conference and cocktail party, which was organised by her own husband. The event had taken place five years previously, in May 2015.
“She also engaged in stakeholder community meetings and events,” a spokesperson for Reynolds lamely offered the Daily Mail when asked to explain the expenditure in 2020.
“This travel was parliamentary and electorate business within the guidelines.”
Meanwhile, the jurors in the Lehrmann rape trial were told by Chief Justice Lucy McCallum before they retired this week that they must act “impartially” and “dispassionately” as they sift through the facts and details of the trial before arriving at a decision.
“There’s no blueprint for life and no blueprint for a sexual assault and how a young woman might respond to a sexual assault,” Chief Justice McCallum said.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, relationship or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT. org.au
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
Blue Knot Foundation – 02 8920 3611