AceShowbiz - Geoffrey Rush has won his defamation case against a newspaper publisher after being accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a co-star.
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star took legal action against Nationwide News, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, and journalist Jonathon Moran, over two Sydney Daily Telegraph articles based on a complaint from actress Eryn Jean Norvill about his behaviour during a 2015 Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production of "King Lear".
Giving evidence during the trial in Sydney earlier this year, Norvill, who was playing Cordelia, the daughter of Rush's Lear, claimed the Australian actor "deliberately" drew his right hand across part of her right breast while she was playing dead during the play's final scene.
However, on Thursday, April 11, Judge Michael Wigney ruled he was "not satisfied" that the incidents described in Norvill's testimony had actually taken place, adding that her evidence was "inconsistent" and that she was "prone to exaggeration and embellishment".
Judge Wigney also reprimanded the newspaper for publishing "recklessly irresponsible pieces of sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind".
He also ruled that Rush, 67, should receive $608,680 (£464,420) in damages, and would be awarded more compensation at a later date - the amount of which has yet to be decided.
Court papers previously revealed Rush was seeking more than $18 million (£13.7 million) in damages, with his lawyers claiming that his career had been irreparably damaged by the Daily Telegraph's allegations and adding the screen star he may never have the "spirit or confidence" to work again.
As he left court after the ruling, Rush brushed off messages of congratulations on the victory from onlookers, and told waiting reporters: "There are no winners in this case... It's been extremely distressing for everyone involved."
He added: "I want to thank my wife Jane and our children for their support during this harrowing time."