Actor Geoffrey Rush wins defamation case against Daily Telegraph

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Actor Geoffrey Rush attends the Television Academy event honoring Emmy nominated performers at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 15, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
Photo credit: Getty.

Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush has won a defamation case against Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

He has been awarded AU$850,000 (NZ$900,202), with that figure likely to rise by millions.

Rush sued The Telegraph for defamation after it published articles calling him a "pervert" and a "sexual predator."

The publication alleged he was involved in inappropriate behaviour towards a female co-star during a 2015 to 2016 production of King Lear.

A 2017 front page of the publication was headlined 'King Leer'.

Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney said The Telegraph failed to establish a defence of truth in its claims.

He also said Eryn Jean Norvill, the co-star who accused Rush, was "at times, prone to exaggeration and embellishment".

Norvill alleged Rush stroked the side of her breast, rubbed her lower back under her shirt, and simulated groping her. Rush denied all these claims, as did the play's director Neil Armfield.

Norvill's evidence was "not only uncorroborated but contradicted", according to Wigney. Rush says the articles made his life miserable, and he has not worked since their publication. 

Wigney ruled he is entitled to compensation for lost economic opportunities, but he doesn't know how much yet.