The defamation case against actor Craig McLachlan against two news outlets is likely to be put on trial next year, a court has heard.
McLachlan, 56, sued ABC and That Sydney Morning Herald in the NSW Supreme Court in April 2018, following a study published three months earlier alleging that he harassed female artists during the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show.
A four-week jury trial was due to begin in February 2019, but it was postponed to allow McLachlan to deal with related charges in Victoria.
In December 2020, he was found guilty of all charges, including an allegation that he touched a woman’s genitals while she was performing in a scene and that he was hidden from the audience.
On Friday, at the first mention of the defamation case since McLachlan’s acquittal, Judge John Sackar said the case “very unlikely” to start before April next year because it will take four weeks with a jury in the midst of the current pandemic.
“Hopefully it will not be a problem, but every one of us currently knows that these are the best plans, etc.”, Justice Sackar said.
McLachlan has argued that publications accused him of pleading guilty to assault, indecent assault and indecent exposure, and that he sexually harassed and bullied female actors on Rocky Horror Show.
Media organizations have argued for the defense of truth and contextual truth.
In 2018, McLachlan’s lawyers told the court he will claim special damages of $ 6.5 million.