A Sydney court has heard three more women have come forward with complaints about actor Craig McLachlan during the filming of an ABC TV show, including allegations of an unwanted kiss and inappropriate touching.
The claims have been included in proposed amended defence documents filed in the NSW Supreme Court by the ABC, Fairfax Media and actress Christie Whelan Browne, whom Mr McLachlan is suing for defamation.
Mr McLachlan, 53, claims stories in January 2018 alleging he engaged in sexual misconduct, harassment, bullying, and indecent assault towards three actresses during a 2014 production of the Rocky Horror Show (RHS) were untrue and have damaged his reputation and mental health.
On Friday Mr McLachlan’s barrister, Matthew Richardson, spoke briefly about the new complainants during a hearing before Justice Lucy McCallum as he made an application to strike out parts of the defence case.
The complaints have been made in recent weeks and date to the production of The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
“The new complainants have been added, one for the 2013 [Doctor Blake] season, one for the 2014 season, and one for the 2015 season,” Mr Richardson told the court.
“The conduct is mostly verbal, there is one unwanted kiss and one instance of inappropriate touching.”
Further details of the allegations did not come out in court.
In January, the ABC and Fairfax Media reported three of Mr McLachlan’s co-stars from the Rocky Horror Picture Show had alleged the actor touched them inappropriately and sexually harassed them while performing in the hit musical.
Allegations ‘too old’, says lawyer
As Mr Richardson continued with his strike out application, he disclosed details of his opponent’s case that were added five months ago but had not been made public before.
The actor’s barrister said the defence documents include the allegation that Mr McLachlan “stuck a stiletto into Molly Meldrum”.
“This is recounted in Mr Meldrum’s own memoir,” Mr Richardson added.
He told the court he also took issue with an allegation from 1990 made by a British television actress which forms part of the defence documents.
Mr Richardson said the complaint from 28 years ago was alleged to have “happened on live television” in the United Kingdom, but he has not seen nor been given a copy of the segment.
Mr Richardson also mentioned two more historical allegations made in Australia that are in the defence documents — one in 2004 and another in 2008.
He said the 2004 allegation related to “verbal conduct and an unwanted kiss” in a tanning salon in Adelaide, while the 2008 allegation was “verbal harassment in a car and a complaint about being kissed on both cheeks on a drive to Melbourne Airport from the end of a costume fitting”.
Mr Richardson told the court he wanted the allegations struck out on several grounds including that some were too general, some were from too long ago, and others were unrelated to the original publications at the centre of the defamation case.
“To plead a general allegation so you can pretty much run any particular under the sun, really it’s a royal commission into the plaintiff,” he said.
Tom Blackburn SC, acting for the media outlets and Ms Whelan Browne, told the court Mr McLachlan’s lawyers have had the details of the allegations since June and have not raised their objections to them during previous court hearings.
Various media outlets have applied for access to the defence documents but Justice McCallum has not yet ruled on the application.