The Daily Telegraph LOSES appeal against Geoffrey Rush's libel lawsuit of $ 2.9 million – the largest single person payout in Australian history
Three judges dismissed Nationwide News's appeal against a finding that Geoffrey Rush was defamed and the award of $ 2.9 million in damages.
Daily Telegraph publisher and journalist Jonathon Moran was ruthless about the truth when he reported that Rush was accused of inappropriate behavior during a 2015 King Lear play in Sydney.
Before the Federal Supreme Court in 2019, Judge Michael Wigney ruled a poster and two articles contained several defamatory meanings – including the fact that Rush was a pervert and a sexual predator – and the publisher had not proven that they were true.
The Oscar winner received $ 850,000 in general damages and approximately $ 2 million in special damages to cover past and future economic losses.
Judges Richard White, Jacqueline Gleeson and Michael Wheelahan rejected the appeal on Thursday.
Three judges dismissed Nationwide News's appeal against a finding that Geoffrey Rush was defamed and the award of $ 2.9 million in damages
The Oscar winner received $ 850,000 in general damages and approximately $ 2 million in special damages to cover past and future economic losses
One was to question the finding that the publication implies that the actor is a pervert, but the court said that a reasonable reader of the article would likely come to that conclusion.
This was particularly so because the article concerned the use of a man's authority or stature in the workplace to achieve sexual satisfaction by improperly touching a non-consenting employee.
Nationwide, Justice Wigney also contested that Erin Jean Norvill, who played the role of Cordelia and claimed that Rush had sexually assaulted her, was not a reliable witness.
This assessment was based on findings that were not "obviously improbable" or inconsistent with undeniable facts, the court said.
The court also found that Nationwide had not contested the judge's finding. Rush was a credible witness, and the evidence provided by the production director and other actors was honest and reliable.
The court said the $ 850,000 award for non-economic losses was reasonably high, but was not obviously overkill given the serious defamation and other factors.
It also denied claims that the judge wrongly made in assessing damages for economic loss.