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Geoffrey Rush wins defamation case in Australia

SYDNEY : Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush won a defamation case yesterday against an Australian newspaper over reports that he behaved in an inappropriate sexual way to an actress.

A front-page report in 2017 claimed the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint that Rush had inappropriately touched a female co-star during a staging of King Lear.

A judge in Sydney ruled yesterday that the Daily Telegraph had produced a "recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism" and awarded Rush A$850,000 (S$823,400) in damages.

"There are no winners in this case, it has been extremely distressing for anyone involved," Rush said outside the court, calling the months-long legal case a "harrowing time".

Justice Michael Wigney said that reasonable readers would assume from the reporting that Rush was a "pervert" from a series of reports that he ruled were mostly uncorroborated.

The judge said that actress Eryn Jean Norvill's evidence was inconsistent and that she "was at times prone to exaggeration and embellishment". - AFP

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