Geoffrey Rush has won his defamation caseagainst Nationwide News, publisher of The Daily Telegraph, over two articles published in 2017 alleging “ inappropriate behaviour” towards fellow actor Eryn Jean Norvill during Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015/2016 production of King Lear. Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney ruled that Nationwide Newsfailed to prove that the imputations made in the two articles were substantially true.
“This was, in all the circumstances, a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind,” Wigney said in a summary of his judgement.
While noting that Norvill had been “dragged into the spotlight” by The Daily Telegraph, and had “nothing to gain” from testifying, he described her as a witness “prone to exaggeration and embellishment” and said he was “not satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that the incidents alleged by Nationwide News occurred.
“In assessing Ms Norvill’s evidence, I am also mindful that people who make allegations relating to sexual assault or sexual harassment are often in a particularly vulnerable position and can experience unique and difficult challenges when giving evidence,” he said in his judgement. “The absence of corroboration...