A Supreme Court of New South Wales judge has ordered defendants in the Craig McLachlan defamation case to file their defence by next Thursday.
ABC, Fairfax Media and actor Christie Whelan Browne, who are all being sued by McLachlan following allegations surrounding a 2014 stage production of The Rocky Horror Show, had been seeking an extension on their defence, due on May 4th.
McLachlan’s legal team submitted an affidavit quoting McLachlan saying: “I cannot believe they still need to look for witnesses five months after ruining my life.”
The affidavit said McLachlan had suffered severe mental anxiety and distress, which his team likened to that of Geoffrey Rush. It said McLachlan “rarely leaves home” has “virtually no contact with friends, relatives or former entertainment colleagues” and that his acting career has been “effectively destroyed”. He has not received any offers of acting work since the articles were published and has lost other opportunities.
But defence barrister Lyndelle Barnett said the preparation of defences had been delayed because more alleged victims had come forward.
She said “there will be allegations well beyond Rocky Horror” and that the defence “will include in excess of 20 allegations in the nature of indecent assault, assault, harassment, bullying” which date back to 1990.
McLachlan’s lawyer Matthew Richardson rejected the argument, asking “What on earth does that have to do with what’s published?”
Justice Lucy McCallum agreed it was “alarming,” saying such evidence may go well beyond the limited scope of what was published in the articles in January.
McLachlan has denied all allegations.