Geoffrey Rush awarded $2.7 million in Sydney defamation case
Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, centre, arrives at the Supreme Court in Sydney, on April 11, 2019. (Dylan Coker / AAP Image via AP)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, May 23, 2019 8:58AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:51AM EDT
SYDNEY, Australia - Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has been awarded an Australian record of 2.9 million Australian dollars (CAD$2.7 million) in damages by a Sydney judge in a defamation case against a newspaper publisher and journalist.
He sued over reports that he had been accused of inappropriate behaviour toward an actress.
The 67-year-old Australian had sued Sydney's The Daily Telegraph's publisher and journalist Jonathon Moran in the Federal Court over two stories and a poster published in late 2017.
Justice Michael Wigney found in April the publisher, News Corp.-owned Nationwide News, and Moran were reckless regarding the truth when they reported Rush had been accused of inappropriate behaviour by actress Eryn Jean Norvill.
She played the daughter of Rush's character in a Sydney theatre production of "King Lear" in 2015 and 2016.
The judge found a poster and two articles contained several defamatory meanings, including that Rush was a pervert and a sexual predator, but the publisher had not proven the meanings were true.
Wigney at the time awarded Rush 850-thousand in damages plus 42-thousand interest for non-economic loss.
But he wanted to consider further special damages, including loss of earnings.
Following an agreement between the parties, the judge today awarded Rush a further 1.98 million for past and future economic loss.
The publisher and journalist are appealing the verdict.
Comic actress Rebel Wilson in 2017 had previously won an Australian record 4.7 million damages in a defamation case against a magazine publisher, but the damages were reduced by 90 per cent on appeal.