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Vile trolls turn on Brittany Higgins claiming her lavish wedding at $20million luxury estate had been ‘taxpaye – Daily Mail

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Trolls have launched a stinging attack on rape victim Brittany Higgins after her marriage to David Sharaz in an intimate ceremony in Queensland.

Ms Higgins received a $2.4million compensation payout from the Commonwealth in December 2022 after alleging she was raped by fellow staffer Bruce Lehrmann inside a ministerial office.

A civil court determined, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann did rape Ms Higgins. 

Almost seven weeks after the judgement, on the eve of Ms Higgins’ big day, Lehrmann decided to appeal that decision, sparking criticism from women’s rights campaigners who questioned the timing of the move.

Now Ms Higgins is in the firing line once again, with critics lashing out at the cost of her wedding day and questioning whether taxpayers funded the ceremony through the compensation payment she received.

The payment she received was comprised of several components, primarily loss of future income and earning capacity, medical expenses, legal costs, domestic assistance costs and $400,000 ‘for hurt, distress and humiliation’.

She and Mr Sharaz moved to a small village in France after facing ongoing intense media and public scrutiny in Australia, but returned to her home state of Queensland for their wedding.

In the wake of the big day on Saturday, trolls took to social media to query if taxpayers had funded the lavish wedding celebrations. 

They alleged Ms Higgins had used her compensation payout to bankroll the event.

However it is not clear if Ms Higgins paid, or if her parents or anyone else, may have footed the bill for the wedding. 

‘Of course she’s beaming – the Australian taxpayers paid for the wedding,’ one commenter claimed in response to news of the wedding.

Another posted on social media: ‘Higgins and Shiraz are getting married in a six-figure wedding. It’s pretty expensive for two people that don’t work.’

Another added: ‘Even Justice Michael Lee, who presided over the defamation trial, said her payout was based on her string of lies about a government cover-up.’

But well-wishers have been equally critical of the scrutiny Ms Higgins was placed under on her wedding day.

‘They are both so deserving of a wonderful happy life,’ another said.

‘Hope this day is a beautiful celebration of their life and future together. These last few years have been so challenging and this celebration is well-earned.’ 

Set on nine acres of landscaped gardens, The Valley Estate is the ‘epitome of luxury’, according to its website. 

‘A bespoke, one-off space crafted to inspire celebration and reflection with loved ones,’ the website reads.

For a Saturday wedding in 2024, the venue charges a $47,750 minimum spend across the venue’s many offerings.

Under the current pricing list, packages start at $35,750 for 50 guests and go up to $52,000 for 100 guests.

This includes the ceremony location, reception space and basic food and beverage packages.

Couples are granted exclusive access to the whole estate for wedding photos, and golf buggies to move around in, as well as lawn games, security and a wedding coordinator, according to a brochure.

The eye-watering expense does not include use of the guesthouse, which from Friday to Sunday costs $1300 a night. Couples can also add an oyster bar for an additional $28 per person, or a seafood grazing table for $60pp.

For a Saturday wedding in 2024, the venue charges a $47,750 minimum spend across the venue's many offerings

A champagne tower is charged at $650 for five tiers and $950 for six, while the top beverage package, which includes a selection of cocktails and spritzes, as well as premium spirits, costs an additional $200 per person.

The minimum spend does not include any outside expenses, meaning the cost of a photographer, celebrant, flowers or outfits for the couple would need to be paid on top of the minimum $47,750.

The average cost of a wedding in Australia can range anywhere between $25,000 to $65,000, but the cost of Ms Higgins’ wedding has been estimated at around $100,000.

No politicians or celebrities were at the wedding but in attendance was the former sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins, along with television producer Judi McCrossin who optioned the production rights to Ms Higgins’ unpublished memoir. 

Ms Higgins’ wedding date was revealed in the WA Supreme Court last week amid Linda Reynolds’ defamation case against her over social media posts which she claims damaged her reputation.

Outside court last week, Ms Reynolds’ lawyer Martin Bennett said he made an application to get a copy of documentation relating to a trust account in her name.

The application will try to determine who the trustee is and who to sue in the event Ms Higgins says she cannot pay damages, if she loses the case.

Last month, Mr Sharaz bowed out of Ms Reynolds’ defamation action against him because he couldn’t afford it.

He has been ordered to pay Ms Reynolds’ legal fees. If he declares bankruptcy, he may not be able to return to France.

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