McLachlan defamation case postponed in wake of criminal charges

Craig’s McLachlan’s defamation case against Fairfax, the ABC and actress Christie Whelan Browne has been stayed indefinitely in the NSW Supreme Court.

The move follows McLachlan being charged by Victoria Police with with one count of common assault, eight counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted indecent assault last week.

McLachlin was dropped from the Dr Blake’s Mysteries series after the allegations were made public.

In the NSW Supreme Court, McLachlan’s counsel Stuart Littlemore, QC, applied for the stay, arguing the defamation trial should be postponed until the Victorian criminal charges are settled, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Littlemore told the court the defamation case could be a “full dress rehearsal” of the criminal case and any evidence he gave to the NSW court could be used against him in the Victorian trial.

Counsel for the ABC and Whelan Browne opposed the application while Fairfax had no position on whether the case should have gone ahead as originally planned on February 4.

Justice Lucy McCallum agreed with Littlemore that the defamation case should be held over until the criminal trial was concluded and refused an application by the defendants that the defamation action be dismissed should McLachlan be found guilty.

McLachlan’s defamation case against the ABC, Fairfax Media and Christie Whelan Browne was launched in February last year, with the actor reportedly claiming $6.5m in damages after accusations of indecent assault and sexual harassment during a stage run of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The accusations saw McLachlan ousted from The Rocky Horror Show shortly afterwards with producers The Gordon Frost Organisation announcing it is “not appropriate” for him to continue in light of the allegations.

In April, Seven dropped McLachlan from the Doctor Blake Mysteries series which he had starred in during its successful runs on both the ABC and the commercial networks.

McLachlan is due to face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 8.


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