The sexual assault charge levelled at Brittany Higgins' alleged rapist has been dropped after the ACT's top prosecutor decided a retrial would present an unacceptable risk to the complainant's life.
The decision was announced moments before close friend Emma Webster revealed Ms Higgins was "in hospital getting the treatment and support she needs".
"The last couple of years have been difficult and unrelenting," Ms Webster said.
"While it's disappointing the trial has ended this way, Brittany's health and safety must always come first.
"Brittany is extremely grateful for all the support she has received, particularly from our mental health care workers."
Ms Webster's statement followed Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC announcing he would no longer be proceeding with a retrial of Bruce Lehrmann, who was accused of raping Ms Higgins at Parliament House when the pair were political staffers.
"I recently received compelling evidence from two independent medical experts, that the ongoing trauma associated with this prosecution presents a significant and unacceptable risk to the life of the complainant," Mr Drumgold said.
"The evidence makes it clear that this is not limited to the harm of giving evidence in a witness box.
"It rather applies whether or not the complainant is required to enter a witness box during a retrial."
"In light of the compelling, independent medical opinion and balancing all factors, I've made the difficult decision that it is no longer in the public interest to pursue a prosecution at the risk of the complainant's life," he said on Friday.
"This has left me no option but to file a notice declining to proceed with the retrial of this matter, which I have done this morning.
"This brings the prosecution to an end."
Mr Drumgold, a prosecutor for more than 20 years, said Ms Higgins had "faced a level of personal attack" he had never seen directed at a sexual assault complainant before.
"She's done so with bravery, grace and dignity," he said.
"It is my hope that this will now stop and Ms Higgins will be allowed to heal."
Mr Drumgold added that he remained of the view there were reasonable prospects of a jury convicting Mr Lehrmann.
Mr Lehrmann has consistently denied any sexual contact with Ms Higgins in March 2019, when he was accused of raping her at Parliament House.
Ms Higgins alleged this had occurred in the office of Liberal senator Linda Reynolds, for whom the pair worked at the time, after what was described as "a drunken night out".
Mr Lehrmann, 27, pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual intercourse without consent, rejecting Ms Higgins' claims that he raped her on the senator's couch.
His trial, in October, was spectacularly aborted during deliberations after a sheriff's officer inadvertently discovered a juror had brought academic research into the jury room.
The juror brought in three academic papers, on the topic of sexual assault, despite Chief Justice Lucy McCallum having warned against independent research at least 17 times.
Following Chief Justice McCallum's declaration of a mistrial, Ms Higgins delivered an emotional speech to a large press pack outside the ACT Supreme Court.
Ms Higgins lashed out at the criminal justice system, saying the odds had been stacked against her as her life, like the lives of other complainants in sexual assault cases, was "torn apart" and publicly scrutinised.
Steven Whybrow SC, a barrister for Mr Lehrmann, quickly responded with a statement that said he had reported her remarks to police and the court.
"It is not appropriate for Mr Lehrmann or his lawyers to make any comment as to whether the complainant's statements might amount to a contempt of court or offences against the ACT Criminal Code," Mr Whybrow said at the time.
Mr Drumgold confirmed in late October that he planned to run the case again in February 2023, only to reveal on Friday this was no longer his intention.
The court had been due to hear a secret application in the case on Friday afternoon.
A non-publication order was imposed in relation to details of the application, which was set to be heard in closed court.
Ms Higgins' allegations have been played out in open forums since February 2021, when she aired them in interviews with news.com.au and The Project before completing a formal police interview.
Mr Lehrmann had originally been due to stand trial in June, only for the case to be delayed until October after Lisa Wilkinson, a television presenter behind one of the initial stories, gave a speech Chief Justice McCallum said had the power to obliterate the distinction between an allegation and proof of guilt.