National

Recordings from Rush case sought in appeal

By AAP Newswire

Nationwide News is seeking access to audio recordings from Geoffrey Rush's successful defamation case to back its appeal against the decision, primarily in relation to the "tone" used by the Federal Court judge.

Justice Michael Wigney in April found The Daily Telegraph's publisher and journalist Jonathon Moran were reckless regarding the truth when they reported the actor had been accused of inappropriate behaviour in 2017.

They had tried to prove a truth defence at trial based largely on the evidence of Rush's co-star, Eryn Jean Norvill, who didn't participate in the newspaper articles.

Nationwide News is appealing the decision on 20 grounds including that Justice Wigney's conduct "gave rise to an apprehension of bias".

In its amended notice of appeal, the company says this is supported through "repeated references to the appellants (the Telegraph and Moran) and the matters complained of by Justice Wigney, orally and in written judgments, in derogatory terms, and the tone in which certain of those references were delivered".

This includes remarks made within multiple judgments and recorded in transcripts throughout the proceedings, the document - filed on Friday - states.

At a preliminary hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday, Nationwide News' barrister Pouyan Afshar said the "relevant portions" of audio would be extracted from the whole of the recordings.

"They would include some portions that my clients will contend were not included in the transcript," he said, adding that they "were not, for any reason, transcribed".

Rush's barrister Sue Chrysanthou said they were not opposed to the newspaper publisher obtaining audio of three particular transcript references.

But the seven other references they raised were in written judgments or don't refer to Justice Wigney's tone, she said.

Justice Anthony Besanko ordered Nationwide News file and serve submissions and an affidavit in support of its application to access audio from the proceedings by June 21.

Elsewhere in the notice of appeal, the company argues Justice Wigney erred in finding that multiple allegations levelled against Rush didn't occur and also made an "erroneous finding" that Norvill was an unreliable witness.

Ms Chrysanthou said while Nationwide News had "set out there were errors" by the primary judge they hadn't identified what the particular errors were.

The case is due to return to court on July 15. Two days are yet to be confirmed for the hearing of the appeal.

Rush was awarded $2.9 million for damages plus interest and to account for his past and future economic loss.