Court approves delay for McLachlan defamation trial

NSW Supreme Court judge Lucy McCallum has granted a request to delay defamation proceedings between actor Craig McLachlan, ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald and actor Christie Whelan Browne.

The civil trial was due to begin on February 4 but the former Doctor Blake Mysteries star now has a court appearance in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 8 on eight counts of indecent assault and one count each of attempted indecent assault and common law assault.

He denies the allegations.

Stuart Littlemore QC, told the NSW Supreme Court that airing allegations in the defamation trial might prejudice hearings of the criminal charges.

“The reality is the entirety of the defence to the civil case is that it is true the applicant is guilty of the indent assaults,” Littlemore said.

Defence barrister for all defendants in the defamation case, Tom Blackburn SC, said , “There is evidence … that the (criminal) proceedings are unlikely to come up in Victoria for another 18 months.

“Then of course this court will have to find another four-week window … and the reality is this case is not going to get on until 2021 … which will be about seven years after the events in the Rocky Horror Show occurred.”

The media companies and Ms Whelan Browne are seeking to have McLachlan pay their costs of preparing for the trial.

The defendants also seek an order for the defamation proceeding to be dismissed if McLachlan is found guilty of the charges in Victoria.

Source: News Corp, The Age

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