Christian Porter’s body language during his media conference showed his mental anguish over the rape allegations, expert say.
Christian Porter’s body language during his media conference showed his mental anguish over the rape allegations, expert say.

‘Heavy toll’: What Porter’s body language revealed

Christian Porter's emotional denial over claims of the alleged rape of a young woman in 1988 showed that he was genuinely pained, body language experts say.

"The overall presentation of himself and his message seemed genuine," body language and speech expert Michael Kelly told News Corp Australia.

Mr Kelly said the Attorney-General's "tremulous voice" and "watery eyes" demonstrated he was feeling "deep anguish".

"The overall enormity of the accusation appears to have taken a heavy toll on him," he said.

 

Dr Louise Mahler agreed, saying Mr Porter at times looked like he was on the verge of breaking down.

"His immediate empathetic approach toward the (alleged victim's) parents first and later his colleagues and those in the opposition, was a very endearing approach," she said.

"Here was a man barely holding himself together and yet more pleading than defensive in his approach.

"He held his jaw tight, only moving his bottom lip down for much of the presentation, but this tension was more a holding of his physical self rather than a defensive hiding as his lips were not tense.

Both body language experts pointed to Mr Porter's sharp intakes of breath as he struggled to keep his composure during the media grilling.

"Trying to maintain composure he paused often to take multiple high breaths before continuing," Dr Mahler said, highlighting how Mr Porter gave exasperated "out" breaths while being quizzed by journalists.

Dr Mahler said: "His chin wobbled and at two points it looked like he would completely break down.

"His eyes welled up with tears and went red in colour. Sometimes they closed, but his eye contact was clear and strong despite the enormous distraction of loud and constant camera clicks.

"His recollection of the alleged victim as happy and bright was the icing on the cake."

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 

Originally published as 'Heavy toll': What Porter's body language revealed



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