Human Nature Will Never Change

The Bruce Lehrmann defamation proceedings have been the best reality show, not on television. It's gladiatorial combat without the swords and personal damage is always done.

Human Nature Will Never Change

I've never considered court proceedings to be a spectator sport - until now.

The past few days I've been transfixed by the Lehrmann defamation proceedings against Channel Ten.

Bruce Lehrmann is the young man whom Brittany Higgins alleges assaulted her in a minister's office after an evening of drinking.

That accusation was used to great effect by the then Labor opposition to malign the culture of the Coalition government. I believe it played a significant role in them losing office.

The merits (or not) of that case have been debated ad nauseum. The Labor government thought it prudent to give Higgins a reported multi-million dollar settlement. While there were claims of her never being able to work again, Ms Higgins has received several work opportunities with left-leaning employers.

Mr Lehrmann, on the other hand, truly does seem unemployable and has even had to have his rent paid for by a media outlet in exchange for an interview.

It's fair to say his life has been seriously damaged by the public pile-on associated with the unproven allegations made against him.

It's perfectly understandable why he wants to seek some redress through the defamation process.

Having initiated in two defamation proceedings myself I know they are not to be taken lightly.

On both occasions I received a settlement prior to going to trial but it is still a costly and time-consuming process. It's can also be a case of even if you win you still lose.

It's been reported that one of the defendants, Lisa Wilkinson, has spent more than $700,000 on her own defence counsel so you can imagine the bills the entire collection of barristers and solicitors are running up.

My understanding is the losing party would be responsible for costs but ultimately that's in the hands of the judge.

Outside of the money though, the process itself is quite brutal.

Watching Lehrmann take the stand, while the defence Barrister is unfailingly polite, the accusations of misconduct are direct and very pointed.

Mr Lehrmann hasn't helped himself with inconsistencies in his court testimony and in his prior statements.

I can understand how these could occur.

Lehrmann clearly understood he'd broken some of the rules of his employment when he was caught going back to his office in the early hours of the morning.

There were also other alleged infringements relating to document security and so forth.

I suspect most people fearing for their job would try to downplay or gloss over some of the offending events in the hope of avoiding dismissal.

And this is where I found the trial evidence so riveting.

It was obvious that the defence knew of Lehrmann's inconsistencies in statements to the media, his former employer and the AFP.

Rather than have them all extracted one by one, like a dentist pulling teeth, Lehrmann should have grasped the nettle firmly and explained why his story changed.

By not doing so, to me he looked a little tricky and deceptive.

It was one of those times where I was talking to the screen, urging him to just explain that it's human nature to try and minimise personal damage.

Sometimes that means skirting around the truth.

Alas that didn't happen. Only time will tell if the judge sees it the same way.

Whether he does or not doesn't matter to me. The lesson from this is that human nature is almost always predictable because the essence of people hasn't changed through fads and frenzies.

Most people are motivated by self-interest and that provides the clue to assigning motivations for seemingly mindless activity. Understanding that thought process is the key to knowing why politicians are doing what they do, or why the media are cheering on a certain action.

It helps you detect the deceptive and the dishonest in almost every aspect of your life.

Once you understand how people are motivated, you'll be well equipped to see through almost any ruse.

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