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completed his closing submissions in the three-week Federal Court defamation trial last Thursday morning.
He was followed by Bruce Mc Clintock, senior counsel for Geoffrey Rush, and Sue Chrysanthou, also representing Rush, who presented their final submissions last Thursday and Friday.
Federal Court judge Justice Michael Wigney today found the publisher had failed to establish a truth defence, and was not convinced the events had occurred as alleged.“Did they [Nationwide News and its staff] care about the lives they smear and smash? “There is a serious problem in Australian journalism,” Mc Clintock said. In fact, they probably make what is here even more defamatory” because the reader would assume there was something significant to deny.“No reader comes to this,” Mc Clintock emphasised, “with a neutral frame of mind.” Rush’s senior counsel made clear that the had, very consciously, placed its allegations against the actor firmly in the context of #Me Too.“Their methods are direct falsehoods, misrepresentation, half-truths, the alteration of the speaker’s meaning by publishing a sentence apart from the context…What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility—the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.” Mc Clintock likened these methods and agenda to the “gutter journalism” of the Murdoch-owned .
The publisher has been ordered to pay $850,000 in aggravated damages, with damages for financial loss to be determined at a later date.