Australian media has officially able to begin arguing against actor Craig McLachlan as part of his defamation case.
McLachlan is currently suing the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Rocky Horror Show co-star Christie Whelan Browne over stories which claimed McLachlan indecently assaulted Whelan Browne during the production of Rocky Horror.
McLachlan is citing the ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald‘s claim he is “guilty of indecently assaulting, sexually harassing, indecently exposing himself to and bullying female cast members of the 2014 production of the Rocky Horror Show” as his catalyst for the defamation case.
While several women have fronted court in recent weeks to speak about their experiences with McLachlan, the court has now given the green light to the media to fight their case.
According to The SMH, the two media outlets have pleaded the defence of truth.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum welcomed The SMH and the ABC to give evidence of the claims.
Justice McCallum allowed the ABC add in extra contextual meaning to their claim, reiterating McLachlan is a “sexual predator in that he has indecently assaulted and sexually harassed female colleagues in the workplace”.
As per The SMH, the media outlets’ barrister, Sandy Dawson, SC was able to persuade Justice McCallum that “the alleged discreditable conduct with which these articles are concerned is in the nature of a persistent characteristic”.
However, Justice McCallum remained in agreeance with McLachlan’s barrister, Matthew Richardson that the term “sexual predator” has a wide range of definitions, and the “variety of conduct” could be “enormous”.
“In order for the proceedings to be fair, the imputation itself must be clear enough to allow rulings on admissibility to be made and to permit a clear case to be left to the jury,” Justice McCallum said.
The women were originally being heard as part of McLachlan’s defamation trial against the ABC, Fairfax and actress Christie Whelan Browne.
However, on Monday 3 December, Justice Lucy McCallum ruled in favour of McLachlan, stating the part of the defence case which included the women’s testimonials would not go to trial.
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