Entertainment Geoffrey Rush’s lawyers want defamation case dealt with quickly

Geoffrey Rush’s lawyers want defamation case dealt with quickly

Geoffrey Rush appeal
The newspaper found to have defamed Geoffrey Rush says the tone of the judge in the case might have swayed the verdict. Photo: Getty
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A Sydney newspaper’s defence against a defamation case brought by Australian actor Geoffrey Rush is weak, the actor’s lawyers have told a court.

Rush is suing The Daily Telegraph after stories it ran late in 2017 alleged he engaged in inappropriate behaviour during a production of King Lear for the Sydney Theatre Company.

The actor claims the newspaper depicted him as a pervert and sexual predator and that the false allegations have distressed his family and colleagues, and damaged his career prospects.

In a case management hearing, Rush’s lawyer Richard McHugh SC told the Federal Court The Daily Telegraph‘s defence was weak.

He called for the case hearing date to be moved forward to stop the actor’s reputation being damaged further.

Mr McHugh referred to two online articles that had not been taken down.

“These articles are grossly defamatory … this is something that needs to be dealt with promptly,” he said.

Lawyer for The Daily Telegraph, Lyndelle Barnett, told the court the newspaper had information it had not published which backed its defence case.

Rush was not in court.

The judge said that an order would remain in place preserving the confidentiality of The Daily Telegraph‘s defence because it was likely to be amended before the matter returned to court on February 19.