Newspaper Loses Geoffrey Rush Defamation Appeal

July 1, 2020 Updated: July 1, 2020

Three judges have dismissed an appeal by Nationwide News against a finding it defamed Geoffrey Rush and against the awarding of $2.9 million in damages.

The Daily Telegraph’s publisher and journalist Jonathon Moran were found to have been reckless regarding the truth when they reported Rush had been accused of inappropriate behaviour during a Sydney theatre production of King Lear in 2015.

In the Federal Court in 2019, Justice Michael Wigney ruled a poster and two articles contained several defamatory meanings – including that Rush was a pervert and a sexual predator – and the publisher hadn’t proved they were true.

The Oscar winner was awarded $850,000 general damages and about $2 million in special damages to cover past and future economic loss.

Justices Richard White, Jacqueline Gleeson and Michael Wheelahan on July 2 dismissed the appeal.

Margaret Scheikowski