The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Matthew Benns Syd­ney

Ac­tor Ge­of­frey Rush is seek­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in dam­ages for defama­tion over the pub­li­ca­tion of al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour in the the­atre, a court has heard.

Lawyers for Rush told the Fed­eral Court yes­ter­day that the ac­tor had been un­able to work since the al­le­ga­tions were pub­lished in the Daily Tele­graph late last year. And, they said, he might never work again.

The ac­tor’s phone might not ring with job of­fers and he might never be able to re­gain his con­fi­dence and de­sire to work again, lawyer Bruce McClin­tock said.

But the news­pa­per’s bar­ris­ter, Tom Black­burn, said Rush had failed to pro­vide any proof that of­fers of work had dried up or that he was un­able to work.

Rush, 67, is su­ing the news­pa­per over a se­ries of ar­ti­cles that re­ported a young ac­tor had lodged a com­plaint with the Syd­ney The­atre Com­pany over his al­leged “in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour”. The ac­tor was later named as Eryn Jean Norvill, 34.

Rush de­nies any wrong­do­ing.

The news­pa­per ar­gues the re­ports draw on al­le­ga­tions made by Norvill and are true.

Norvill tes­ti­fied Rush made grop­ing ges­tures and sex­ual in­nu­endo to­wards her in re­hearsals, stroked her lower back back­stage and de­lib­er­ately touched her breast as he grieved over her char­ac­ter’s dead body dur­ing a per­for­mance.

Re­fer­ring to Rush’s past and fu­ture eco­nomic loss, Mr McClin­tock said: “What they did to my client has dis­abled him from work­ing. It does not take much of a taint to de­stroy a ca­reer.”

Mr Black­burn said “mil­lions of dol­lars” were be­ing claimed by Rush but he did not give or call ev­i­dence about be­ing in­ca­pable of work­ing or about not re­ceiv­ing any of­fers.

“We don’t know if he re­ceived any (film) of­fers and if he turned them down,” he said.

If Rush says he is en­ti­tled to sub­stan­tial dam­ages, the ac­tor at the very least had to tell the judge some­thing like “I am so dam­aged, I can’t work”, but this did not hap­pen, Mr Black­burn said.

The case ended yes­ter­day. Jus­tice Michael Wigney said he would “love to start writ­ing his judg­ment to­mor­row” but his work­load pre­cluded him de­liv­er­ing a de­ci­sion this year.

The de­ci­sion was re­served to a date to be de­ter­mined “early next year”.

Pic­ture: News Corp

Ge­of­frey Rush and his wife Jane Menelaus yes­ter­day.

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