Why Luke Lazarus and his family chose not to appear on Four Corners.

On Monday night, the ABC aired a Four Corners investigation titled ‘I am that girl‘.

Saxon Mullins, now 23 years old, waived her right to anonymity and chose to speak publicly about one of Sydney’s most high-profile sexual assault cases.

In 2013, Mullins, then 18 years old, alleged that 21-year-old Luke Lazarus raped her in an alleyway behind Soho nightclub in Kings Cross.

Lazarus was found guilty in 2015 and sentenced to five years prison. His legal team then appealed the decision and in May 2017, NSW District Court Judge Robyn Tupman found Lazarus not guilty. He served 11 months of his original sentence.

The verdict was met with public uproar, with many baffled by Judge Tupman’s statement: “Whether or not she consented is but one matter. Whether or not the accused knew that she was not consenting is another.”

It was during this time that ABC reporter, Louise Milligan, first spoke to Saxon Mullins.

You can listen to our interview with Louise Milligan, in full, below.

Over a period of more than 12 months, Milligan attempted to include Lazarus and his family in the Four Corners investigation, but ultimately they declined.

On this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud, we spoke to Milligan about her work on ‘I am that girl’, and asked why the Lazarus family chose to not be involved.

“We got in contact with them around the same time that I first met Saxon, because my view about all of this was, I’m sure that there are very interesting things Luke Lazarus could say in all of this,” Milligan said on the podcast.

“Having read the transcript of the trial…” she continued, “he expressed bitter regret for what had happened.

“I think he has had to learn some really devastating life lessons out of all of this and I think that maybe some reflections from him would have been a really positive contribution to the debate.”

Milligan added, “perhaps we might have seen the human side of him”.

At the beginning of the investigation, the Four Corners team did have interest from Lazarus and his family. But, Milligan explained, “it was decided that not only would he not speak, but his family, his solicitor and any supporters or friends who we had contacted and they said ‘yes, we’ll speak with their blessing,’ they told them all not to speak as well.”

Milligan said she was, “really trying to understand [their] perspective… but it makes it pretty difficult when [they’re] putting a ban on everyone.”

It was upon legal advice that the Lazarus family and friends decided not to take part.

“Their barrister told them not to do it,” Milligan said.

‘I am that girl,’ allowed Mullins to, for the first time, identify herself as the woman who had been at the centre of national headlines and tell a story that belonged to her.