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Nationwide News loses appeal in Geoffrey Rush defamation case | NME

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The Daily Telegraph’s parent body, Nationwide News, has lost its appeal against the Geoffrey Rush defamation case’s verdict. The Australian federal court upheld its original decision today (July 2), ordering that the news organisation pay the actor $2.87million AUD (roughly £1.6million) in damages. The sum is the largest defamation payout awarded to an individual in Australian legal history.

The case relates to a story published by The Daily Telegraph in 2017. The article alleged that Rush behaved inappropriately towards co-star Eryn Jean Norvill during The Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015-16 production of King Lear.

Geoffrey Rush commenced proceedings to sue Nationwide News in late 2017, terming the article’s allegations “spurious”.

In April 2019, Justice Michael Wigney ruled that the article had defamed Rush by implying he was “a pervert” and “a sexual predator”.

Nationwide News subsequently challenged Justice Wigney’s verdict and appealed for a retrial. The news organisation claimed that the article, entitled ‘King Leer’, did not imply that Rush was “a pervert” as the court’s original verdict had suggested.

Nationwide News also sought to appeal the sum of money to be awarded to Rush. Today (July 2), the court reject all of Nationwide News’ grounds of appeal.

In its verdict, the Federal Court ruled that the $2.87million sum was “appropriately high but not manifestly excessive having regard to the extremely serious nature of the imputations that were conveyed by the publications”.

Geoffrey Rush is yet to comment publicly about the appeal.

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