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Rush judge to decide on new witness

A judge will decide if an unexpected new witness can give evidence in the defamation trial involving Geoffrey Rush and the publisher of a Sydney newspaper.

Justice Michael Wigney will on Tuesday rule on The Daily Telegraph’s mid-trial application to amend its defence and include the witness, whose identity is suppressed.

The Federal Court judge has said that if the application is successful, the trial will be adjourned until at least April 2019 and Rush will have to get back in the witness box.

Rush is suing the newspaper’s publisher Nationwide News and journalist Jonathon Moran over articles about an allegation he behaved inappropriately toward a co-star, later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill, during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

The 67-year-old Oscar winner has denied the claims against him and argues the articles portrayed him as a pervert and sexual predator.

Nationwide News is pleading a defence of truth in the judge-alone trial after Norvill – who didn’t speak with the journalist Moran for his articles – agreed to give evidence.

If the judge refuses the defence application, there will be no further witnesses and the parties will this week deliver their closing submissions.

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