The Sydney Daily Telegraph has lost its appeal in the record defamation case brought by actor Geoffrey Rush. Rush brought his claim over allegations that he had behaved inappropriately towards actress Eryn Norvill, who was his co-star in a production of King Lear in 2015.

Ms Norvill gave evidence at the trial, but the court found that the publisher had not proved that the allegations were substantially true.The appeal court upheld this finding.  As in England & Wales, in Australian defamation cases the burden of proof is on the Defendant.

The appeal court also upheld the record damages award of A$2.9m (£1.57m). This was made up of: $850,000 of non-economic loss including aggravated damages, $1,060,773 of past economic loss, $919,678 of future economic loss and $42,302 of interest. The newspaper had argued that the damages were “manifestly excessive” and contested the claim that it would take two years for Mr Rush’s earning capacity to return to normal, but the appeal court disagreed.