“Big defamation is back” as Geoffrey Rush sues The Daily Telegraph


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Mr Hockey was awarded $200,000 in damages for a Herald poster and two tweets from The Age, which featured the phrases “Treasurer for Sale”, however the courtroom discovered he was not defamed by the information tales they promoted.

Professor David Rolph, a defamation regulation professional on the College of Sydney, mentioned “Sydney has all the time had a excessive quantity of defamation litigation however what we have seen over the previous couple of years is the resurgence of high-profile defamation circumstances, which we’ve not seen for the reason that late 1980s and early ’90s”.

“Massive defamation is again,” Professor Rolph mentioned.

Geoffrey Rush and Eryn Jean Norvill, left, with fellow King Lear cast members Helen Buday, standing, and Helen Thomson, right.

Geoffrey Rush and Eryn Jean Norvill, left, with fellow King Lear forged members Helen Buday, standing, and Helen Thomson, proper.Credit score:Nic Walker

Victorian barrister Matthew Collins, QC, who acted for Fairfax within the Hockey case and for Insurgent Wilson in her profitable defamation case in opposition to Girl’s Day writer Bauer Media, mentioned defamation circumstances “did appear to dry up for numerous years” after uniform nationwide defamation legal guidelines got here into pressure in early 2006.

The legal guidelines had been “designed to liberalise freedom of speech” however the defences for publishers had not achieved these goals, Dr Collins mentioned.

He mentioned there had been “a gentle stream” of circumstances for the reason that Hockey litigation, which was “the primary of the present crop”.

Mr Rush, 67, has been supported in his Federal Court docket case by his spouse, Jane Menelaus, and the cream of Australia’s theatrical group.  The trial kicked off on Monday and has featured a roll-call of arts identities, together with outstanding theatre director Neil Armfield, veteran director and producer Fred Schepisi, and main theatre actress Helen Buday.

Rising star Eryn Jean Norvill, who appeared alongside Mr Rush in King Lear, finds herself starkly at odds with the Oscar winner and his supporters.

The younger actress, who performed King Lear’s daughter Cordelia, is predicted to allege subsequent week that Mr Rush “traced throughout” the aspect of her breast throughout a preview efficiency in November 2015 as he grieved over Cordelia’s corpse. She can also be anticipated to say he touched her decrease again underneath her shirt and made sexually suggestive gestures and feedback.

Mr Rush vehemently denies the claims and neither Mr Armfield, who directed the manufacturing, nor Ms Buday, who performed Lear’s eldest daugher Goneril, have supported Ms Norvill’s account. Mr Armfield mentioned he watched the stage “like a hawk”.

Theatre director Neil Armfield, right, leaves the Federal Court on Wednesday with Geoffrey Rush.

Theatre director Neil Armfield, proper, leaves the Federal Court docket on Wednesday with Geoffrey Rush.Credit score:AAP/Brendan Esposito

Ms Buday mentioned a June 2016 textual content from Mr Rush to Ms Norvill, by which he apologised for lacking her in one other play and mentioned he was “considering of you (as I do greater than is socially acceptable)”, accompanied by an emoji with its tongue hanging out, was “charming”.

It appears clear Mr Rush and Ms Norvill loved, at one stage, a playful rapport: emails and texts between the pair present they engaged in wordplay on one another’s names, together with “Edge” for Ms Norvill in a nod to the sound of her initials when spoken aloud.


Ms Norvill additionally known as Mr Rush “Daad” now and again, mimicking the admonition embarrassed youngsters give their fathers, and known as him “Daddy DeGush” in a January 2016 e-mail.

However she didn’t reply to the June 2016 textual content, and the Telegraph claims she made an “off the file” criticism about him throughout a dialogue on the STC’s bar in April 2016. She was not named within the Telegraph‘s tales.

In an announcement to the Telegraph on November 29 final 12 months, the STC confirmed a criticism of “inappropriate behaviour” had been made in opposition to Mr Rush with out offering additional element. It mentioned the unnamed complainant was “extraordinarily fragile and extremely distressed” and didn’t wish to take part in a narrative, including that “it’s her story to inform and he or she ought to have the best to inform it on the time of her selecting – and on her personal phrases”.

Excerpt of a June 2016 text from Geoffrey Rush to Eryn Jean Norvill.

Excerpt of a June 2016 textual content from Geoffrey Rush to Eryn Jean Norvill.

Whereas Mr Rush instructed the Federal Court docket there was “not a touch” Ms Norvill had complained throughout rehearsals for King Lear, he appeared to conclude at the very least a fortnight earlier than the Telegraph story that she was the supply of the nameless criticism. He had been alerted to its existence on November 10 by The Australian, which opted to not run a narrative after searching for remark.

Damian Trewhella, head of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Tv Arts, mentioned in a November 14 e-mail to the board that Mr Rush had instructed him he had been “baited” by the media “on some challenge involving him which in his view was bulls–t and a symptom of the present local weather”.

“The one challenge he may consider was when he was [King Lear] … at STC involving a scene (in entrance of 900 folks) by which he carried his lifeless daughter. He mentioned it was a tough scene and while he thought the carry place was proper for all, there was allegedly some discomfort,” Mr Trewhella mentioned.

However Mr Rush instructed the Federal Court docket these weren’t his phrases, and he was merely speculating on the time in regards to the nature and supply of the criticism after the STC refused to offer any element.

The listening to continues.

Michaela Whitbourn is The Sydney Morning Herald’s Authorized Affairs and Investigations reporter.

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