Damages being determined now.
Now onto damages and the payout to Rush.
Wigney says there are three elements:
- How much to compensate Rush for the hurt to his reputation
- Whether he was entitled to aggravated damages, due to any potential improper conduct by the Telegraph
- Whether he suffered economic loss due to the articles
Rush wins aggravated damages
Wigney says Rush is entitled to aggravated damages, because the conduct of the Telegraph was “improper and unjustified”. He says the articles were “extravagent and sensationalist”.
He says they were “reckless as to the truth” of what they published, and they did not properly inquire to check if they were true.
“This was a recklessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind,” he says.
Without aggravated damages, there is a cap for damages of just under $400,000. But now that aggravated damages are awarded, the amount given to Rush can be higher.
Wigney says Rush’s hurt and injury was then increased by the second article published as follow-up.
Wigney says the amount should be $850,000, just for the hurt to his reputation. There could be more for the economic loss from lost jobs.
“He unquestionably had a high and settled reputation not only in Australia but around the world”, Wigney says.
He said the articles were read widely, around the world. Thus he awards $850,000.
Wigney also says Rush is entitled to compensation for the economic opportunities due – but he doesn’t yet know how much.
He says he thinks Rush did lose acting opportunities. “He lost the desire to act, his creative spirit was at a low ebb, he was fearful of audience reaction.”
“He was unlikely to receive any real offers of work at least until 12 months after the vindication of his reputation of this judgment”.
Wigney also says Rush’s salary will probably be lower than previously, for any jobs he does get, until 18 months from now.
But he wants to discuss this further with both parties to judge this amount.
Wigney is now wrapping up. He tells the court that people should read his judgment before they begin their critique.
“Before you judge my judgment, as you are entitled to do, I ask that you read my judgment, so you can fully appreciate the reasons,” he says.
There will be a case management hearing on 10 May to figure out further details.
And Wigney adjourns the c