Australia Geoffrey Rush and Daily Telegraph in talks ahead of defamation trial

13:32  04 july  2018
13:32  04 july  2018 Source:

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The Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has launched defamation proceedings against the Sydney Daily Telegraph , accusing the paper of splashing “spurious claims with bombastic titles on their front pages”.

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Actor Geoffrey Rush and representatives from The Daily Telegraph have met behind closed doors at the Federal Court in Sydney, fuelling speculation his high-profile defamation case against the newspaper may be settled ahead of the trial in September.

Rush, 66, is suing publisher Nationwide News for defamation over a series of articles alleging he behaved inappropriately towards a female cast member during a 2015-16 production of King Lear by the Sydney Theatre Company.

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Geoffrey Rush has been successful in legal moves ahead of his defamation case against a Sydney newspaper. Justice denies ‘fishing expedition’. The Daily Telegraph reported a complaint had been made against Rush during a STC production of King Lear.

He claims the articles, which appeared in The Daily Telegraph online and in print between November 30 and December 1 last year, defamed him by portraying him as a "pervert" and "sexual predator".

The Telegraph and its journalist Jonathon Moran - who, along with Rush, was seen entering the Law Courts complex in Sydney on Wednesday - are relying on the defence of qualified privilege.

The highly technical defence has a low rate of success among media outlets and requires a publisher to show a defamatory article was of public interest and it acted reasonably in publishing it.

The Telegraph had previously pleaded a defence of truth but suffered a significant loss in March when Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney ruled the entirety of the defence should be struck out because it was "vague and imprecise".

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A judge has struck out large parts of The Daily Telegraph 's defence in the defamation case brought by film star Geoffrey Rush , saying it lacked crucial details and could not prove the allegation that Rush had "inappropriately touched" a coworker during a Sydney Theatre Company (STC)

The Daily Telegraph has had its bid for a cross-claim against the Sydney Theatre Company, which it lodged as part of its defamation defence against Geoffrey Rush , denied in court. The trial before Justice Michael Wigney is due to commence later this year, but this month Nationwide News filed a

Geoffrey Rush and wife Jane Menelaus outside the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday. © Brendan Esposito Geoffrey Rush and wife Jane Menelaus outside the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday. On Monday Justice Wigney made orders in chambers requiring the Telegraph to inform Rush by July 23 whether it "maintain[ed] any defence" under section 30 of the Defamation Act, which sets out the defence of qualified privilege.

If so, Justice Wigney ordered them to reveal the "identity of any confidential source" relied upon by them or, alternatively, to provide "a statement that the respondents do not propose to disclose those identities" and any evidence relied upon them to assert that each source was confidential.

In February, the Federal Court heard the Telegraph's sources for the Rush stories included an anonymous email, posts on social media, the Sydney Theatre Company's executive director Patrick McIntyre, at least three confidential sources, and actress Sarah Monahan.

The Telegraph had sought, unsuccessfully, to bring a cross-claim against the Sydney Theatre Company on the basis it had provided a comment before the newspaper ran the stories.

Justice Michael Wigney said in April that a newspaper attempting to sue its own source "is, to say the least, unusual".

The case is listed for an eight-day trial starting on September 3.

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