Speculation Rife: Rush And Daily Tele In Talks To Settle Defamation Case

There’s speculation Geoffrey Rush’s defamation battle against the publisher of The Daily Telegraph and one of its reporters might settle out of court.

The Oscar winner’s case has been going for a week but it was adjourned for almost 3 hours today before being put off until tomorrow.

The Daily Telegraph was due to mount its defence today, with Eryn-Jean Norvill expected to be called first up, to give evidence. The delay along with rumours the newspaper is about to settle could mean we’ll never hear her side of the story.

Earlier this morning two of Geoffrey Rush’s long-time colleagues Judy Davis and Robyn Nevin gave evidence.

One of the country’s leading stage actresses, Robyn Nevin, said she never spoke to Eryn-Jean Norvill about Rush’s behaviour.

Nevin told Rush's defamation trial she never said "Oh I thought Geoffrey had stopped doing that, poor Jane" after a young woman allegedly raised claims of sexual harassment.

Jane is Rush’s wife.

Rush is suing the publisher of the Daily Telegraph and one of its reporters over two articles and a newsagent poster that alleged he behaved inappropriately during at 2015-16 production of King Lear at the Sydney Theatre Company.

Geoffrey Rush (centre) arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney Monday, October, 29, 2018. Rush is suing Nationwide News for defamation. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

Under cross examination by The Telegraph’s barrister the 76-year-old Nevin -- who played the ‘fool’ in King Lear -- admitted she had a conversation with a tearful Eryn-Jean Norvill during a later stage production.

It was performed in the same theatre as Lear and she recalled Norvill being distressed about an issue of sexual harassment.

“She was in tears and I asked her what was wrong and she said; 'It reminds me of the trouble I had here during King Lear.'”

The older actress said she understood the conversation to be about Norvill’s friend and not Geoffrey Rush.

“She most definitely did not suggest that to me. You’re putting those words in my mouth. Sorry for raising my voice… there was absolutely no illusion or reference to sexual harassment.”

Instead she says the “trouble” was a reference to the young actress grappling with her role as Cordelia -- King Lear’s daughter -- in the production.

Actor Robyn Nevin leaves the Federal Court after giving evidence in the Geoffrey Rush defamation case in Sydney, Monday, October, 29, 2018. (Image: AAP)

The day after the first article was published Nevin sent a text to Norvill saying “Oh dear girl are you ok? I was contacted by channel 9 today… I told my agent no comment. It’s nasty I hope you’ll be protected I’m sure you will be. If you need anything just ask.”

Tom Blackburn SC quizzed the older actress about how she knew to send the text to Norvill given at the time she sent it, Eryn-Jean Norvill’s name hadn’t yet been made public.

Robyn says she never noticed anything out of the ordinary during rehearsals or performances of King Lear.

Earlier, day six of the trial began with actress Judith Davis in the witness box. Oscar nominated Davis has done several films with Geoffrey Rush over the years.

Actor Judy Davis leaves the Federal Court after giving evidence in the Geoffrey Rush defamation case in Sydney, Monday, October, 29, 2018. (AAP Image: Peter Rae)

“Well I think quite fruitful I loved working with him… he’s very hard working and he combines a strong intellect with a real need for emotional truth,” she said.

She says the rumour mill has been cruel with speculation Rush’s “career is finished”.

“He had a very fine reputation. He has a tremendous track record internationally. It’s a tremendous record of achievement.”

The judge-alone trial continues.