A court has ruled Brittany Higgins is a rape victim. Her former boss is taking her to trial again.

Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds, who plans to retire from politics at the next election, is suing both her former political staffer Brittany Higgins and her fiance David Sharaz over a series of social media posts she says have damaged her reputation.

Mr Sharaz has since thrown in the towel in his defamation battle against the former defence minister, while his partner Ms Higgins failed to convince a court her case should be delayed because of her mental health issues.

The case returned to the Western Australian Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear Ms Higgins' application to vacate the trial listed for six weeks in late July.

During the hearing, Mr Sharaz tweeted he would no longer fight the case, which was confirmed by his lawyer Jason MacLaurin SC.

"Despite our best efforts, Linda Reynolds has not accepted attempts to resolve this matter through mediation and Brittany may now be exposed to another trial. It will be her third," Mr Sharaz said on social media.

"I cannot afford to pay legal costs to defend myself over a six-week trial.

"As a result, I have today informed the court that I will not fight Reynolds' legal action anymore.

"I now appeal for Senator Reynolds to settle her litigation against Brittany, a rape victim, by agreeing to disagree and putting all of this behind them."

Outside the court, Senator Reynold's lawyer Martin Bennett said the tweet was insulting, aggravating and an "attention-seeking stunt to manipulate the media".

"That's what Mr Sharaz does best," he said.

Mr Bennett agreed it was perversely ironic that Mr Sharaz would make the announcement in a tweet while his defamation action over tweets was being heard.

"It seemed to be staged... You've seen the terms of the post - it's another attack on Senator Reynolds," he said.

He raised doubts over Mr Sharaz's claim he couldn't afford to continue the case.

"He lives in a chateau. He hasn't got a job, and he's got a QC... and two solicitors representing him," he said.


Mr Bennett said the case against Mr Sharaz would proceed even if he is not represented in court and Senator Reynolds would prove her damages.

"If he's impecunious as he asserts in France, he'll go bankrupt," he said.

Ms Higgins' lawyer Leon Zwier had asked the court for her trial to be vacated saying her mental health had suffered due to the Bruce Lehrmann and Channel 10 decision handed down earlier in the month and the publicity that followed.

He said it was difficult for her to instruct her lawyers and there was some evidence raised during the proceedings that would need to be assessed and could impact the case.

Mr Zwier said the ongoing mediation between the parties should be allowed to proceed without the spectre of a trial looming over it.

Justice Paul Tottle said the parties were likely to be best served by the matter being brought to a conclusion sooner than later.

Senator Reynolds is suing Mr Sharaz over tweets he made and a Facebook comment in 2022.

Among the defamatory imputations claimed against Mr Sharaz's tweets were that Senator Reynolds pressured Ms Higgins not to proceed with a genuine complaint to police, "is a hypocrite in her advocacy for women's interests and empowerment", interfered in Bruce Lehrmann's trial and bullied Ms Higgins.

Senator Reynolds claims she was also defamed by Mr Sharaz's reply to a comment on her Facebook page that asked how she was still in politics having "destroyed" Ms Higgins.

The commenter added, "You're a monster who deserves to be in jail".

Mr Sharaz responded: "Thanks for reminding her. I hope she hears this every day until she dies," the senator's statement of claim says.

The case will return to court for a strategic conference on May 10.

Feature image: Getty.