Geoffrey Rush Wins the Largest Defamation Case against The Daily Telegraph

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An Australian newspaper has lost its appeal against a record defamation pay-out awarded to actor Geoffrey Rush.

Mr Rush was awarded $2.9m (£1.57m; US$1.99m) last April after winning his case against Nationwide News, a publisher owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Its newspaper, Sydney's Daily Telegraph, had run stories accusing Mr Rush of behaving inappropriately towards a former theatre co-star.

Lawyers for Nationwide News had argued the pay-out - the largest ever awarded to a single person in Australia - was "manifestly excessive".

But three Federal Court judges ruled the sum was "appropriate high" given the "extremely serious" allegations and the harm caused to Mr Rush's reputation.

The original front page story carried the headline "King Leer" and detailed accusations from a 2015 Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

It alleged Mr Rush had acted inappropriately towards a co-star, later revealed to be actress Eryn Jean Norvill.

The Federal Court agreed with the original trial judge's assessment that Ms Norvill - who gave evidence for the newspaper at the trial - was an unreliable witness and "prone to exaggeration".

The actress, Yael Stone, has accused Mr Rush of acting inappropriately towards her - allegations he denies.

Nationwide News was ordered to pay Mr Rush A$850,000 for general and aggravated damages, more than A$1m for past economic losses, A$919,678 in future economic losses and A$43,000 in interest.


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