Screen and stage star Craig McLachlan wants to fight indecent assault allegations at trial as soon as he possibly can, a court has been told.
McLachlan, 53, is charged with eight counts of indecent assault, one of common assault and attempted indecent assault, believed to stem from allegations raised by colleagues.
The Gold Logie winner was not present when his criminal case came before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday for the first mention of the charges, but lawyer Stuart Littlemore QC spoke on his behalf.
“My current thinking is to seek to go straight to trial … because we do want to expedite this as much as we possibly can,” Mr Littlemore said.
Submissions suggest McLachlan, who is from Sydney, would waive his right to a committal hearing and take the case to trial on the evidence at hand.
When the charges were laid in January, a spokesman for McLachlan said: “Craig is innocent of these charges, which will be vigorously defended”.
The alleged offending took place between late-April and mid-July in 2014 in Melbourne, court documents show.
Around that time, McLachlan was starring in the Rocky Horror Show stage production in Melbourne, playing Dr Frank-N-Furter.
The number of complainants in the case was withheld from media by the court out of fairness for McLachlan.
“The only purpose would be to prejudice Mr McLachlan, so you won’t be getting them,” magistrate Andrew Capell told reporters.
McLachlan previously faced allegations of misconduct by fellow cast members in the Rocky Horror Show.
The actor strongly denied the accusations and launched defamation action in NSW last year, suing Fairfax Media, the ABC and former co-star Christie Whelan Browne.
He is seeking $6.5 million in special damages in the defamation case, which has been delayed until after his criminal proceedings in Victoria.
McLachlan became a household name for his roles on Australian soap operas Neighbours and Home and Away.
He won a Gold Logie in 1990 and more recently he has led the Ballarat-filmed TV series Doctor Blake Mysteries.
His case is due to return to court on April 5.