The eye-watering sum Lisa Wilkinson is paying top defamation lawyer, Dr Matthew Collins


The eye-watering sum Lisa Wilkinson is paying top lawyer who won Rebel Wilson millions by suing magazines – days after he blasted her for Logies speech

  • Top barrister who charges $11,000 a day is hired to represent Lisa Wilkinson
  • Network approached Australian Bar Association president Dr Matthew Collins
  • Comes after he blasted media veteran on TV, saying she should know better
  • Dr Collins represented Rebel Wilson in high-profile case against Bauer Media

Lisa Wilkinson’s high-priced lawyer is being paid $11,000-a-day following her disastrous Logies speech.

The Channel 10 star landed in hot water last Sunday after she mentioned alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins during her award acceptance speech – in front of about a million viewers.

Her comments forced the former Liberal staffer’s rape trial, which was due to start next week, to be postponed until October.

Australian Bar Association president Dr Matthew Collins QC told Sunrise days after the speech there was a ‘serious possibility’ Wilkinson could be charged with contempt of court.

But hours after his comments on national television, Channel 10 hired the top barrister to represent Wilkinson.

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) has hired a top barrister to represent her following Logies speech

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) has hired a top barrister to represent her following Logies speech

Dr Collins is one of Australia’s leading defamation lawyers who won Rebel Wilson millions in her case against Bauer Media in 2017.

The actor was awarded $4.5million in damages after the magazine group was found to have defamed her in eight articles in May 2015 – claiming she lied about her real name, age, and childhood to make it in Hollywood.

Dr Collins also represented YouTube creator Jordan Shanks in a high-profile defamation case against former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro.

Mr Barilaro sued Mr Shanks in May 2021, alleging he was defamed by a series of videos claiming he committed perjury. 

The now-retired MP settled his Federal Court case against Mr Shanks in November when he was given an apology and the videos were edited, but was later awarded $715,000 in damages against YouTube owner Google.

The barrister’s partner, Leonard Vary, is chief executive of the Myer Foundation and the pair are known for hosting a series of glamorous party’s at their home in South Yarra, Melbourne.

Australian Bar Association president Dr Matthew Collins (pictured) was hired to represent The Project host hours after he slammed her actions on Sunrise

Australian Bar Association president Dr Matthew Collins (pictured) was hired to represent The Project host hours after he slammed her actions on Sunrise

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

‘That standard is, did anything that she do have a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice?’

He believed Wilkinson, who’s been in the media industry for more than 40 years, should have known better.

‘You would hope that whenever the media is contemplating running a story about a serious criminal trial which is about to begin, they would be attune to the potential risks,’ Dr Collins added.

‘The mainstream media understand the risk inhering with talking about cases which are about to go to trial, particularly serious high-profile cases.’

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured during her Logies speech) mentioned an impending court case on TV

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured during her Logies speech) mentioned an impending court case on TV

He explained that anyone facing a serious charge is entitled to the presumption of innocence – which means there should be no preconceptions one way or the other.

‘So 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,’ Dr Collins said.

Last week, Channel 10 hit back at the ‘unfair’ criticism of Wilkinson, and said it would not rule out taking legal action.

‘This reporting is now causing significant harm and we ask these organisations to cease this harassment to allow Lisa the best opportunity to give her evidence in court and to enable the trial to go ahead in a fair and timely manner,’ a spokesperson for the network said.

‘We are closely monitoring all coverage of this issue and Lisa and Network 10 reserve their rights in respect of any future defamation claims.’

The Channel 10 star (pictured) will not be returning to her co-hosting duties on The Project on Monday

The Channel 10 star (pictured) will not be returning to her co-hosting duties on The Project on Monday

Wilkinson’s speech contributed to delaying Higgins’s trial against former political staffer Bruce Lehrmann by prejudicing potential jurors. Lehrmann is accused of raping Ms Higgins in Parliament House in 2019 and has pleaded not guilty. 

He denies these claims and stated in a police interview that he did not have sex with Ms Higgins.

On Thursday the ACT Supreme Court set a new date of October 4 for the trial.

Chief Justice Lucy McCallum decided on Tuesday to delay the trial ‘regrettably and with gritted teeth’ because ‘somewhere in this debate, the distinction between an untested allegation and the fact of guilt has been lost’.

The Channel 10 star will not be returning to her co-hosting duties on The Project on Monday when Hollywood A-lister Chris Hemsworth will make an appearance. 

Lisa Wilkinson (right) won a Logie for her television interview with alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins (also pictured)

Lisa Wilkinson (right) won a Logie for her television interview with alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins (also pictured)

Her absence will mark the fourth time in five days she has not appeared on air following blowback from her Logies’ acceptance speech on Sunday night. 

Network Ten claimed Wilkinson would remain off-air and return to the popular news program sometime next week.

A spokesman for Ten Network said they ‘fully support Lisa in her ongoing and full commitment to doing the right thing as a witness in the trial’.

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