SYDNEY, Australia – Craig McLachlan, one of Australia's most acclaimed television and music stars, has been charged with assault and eight indecent assault charges for events up until 2014 – a potential breakthrough for the media companies he accused of defamation and for the #MeToo up-and-coming -Movement of the country.
Mr. McLachlan, 53, a well-known face in Australia playing roles in television favorites such as "Neighbors" and "Home and Away", was charged by the Victoria Police for allegedly appearing in Melbourne at about the same time as his Now. the performance in a stage version of "The Rocky Horror Show" under the magnifying glass.
The mysterious legal system in Australia – its strict privacy laws and restrictions on the exchange of information in individual cases – make it impossible to explain the criminal The charges relate directly to the allegations of the "Rocky Horror Show".
The police refused to provide any information about the specifics of the alleged attacks. A spokesman for Mr. McLachlan said, "Craig is innocent of these charges, which are vigorously defended."
But legal experts said the charges threatened to undermine Mr. McLachlan's defamation claim while emphasizing the muddled nature of the Australian legal system when it comes to cases of sexual assault.
Australia's defamation law strongly supports the plaintiff, and it is widely accused of making it more difficult to accept the issue of sexual harassment.
The powerful men who are accused tend to complain, and the costs can be immense. not only for media companies, but also for those who file the allegations.
Mr. McLachlan sues Fairfax Media and ABC, and actress Christie Whelan Browne for $ 4.7 million for damages for damages.
[ReadHowGeoffreyRushdenFallDiffamationThat resulted in a #MeToo billing. ]
Yet, Mr. McLachlan now appears to be partially more vulnerable, media attorneys say, because the judge in Mr. McLachlan's case has allowed a rare defense of "contextuality" to be true. "
According to the December Judge's decision, the media companies can defend their coverage during the lawsuit (which begins on February 4 in the New South Wales Supreme Court) by arguing that McLachlan is" a sexual predator "in that he improperly attacked and sexually harassed female colleagues in the workplace.
The criminal charges in the state of Victoria have not yet been proven, but whether they refer to the "Rocky Horror Show" claims, lawyers might claim Medi A's defense.
The defamation procedure could be postponed to play the criminal case. Or details from the criminal charges could in one way or another become part of the civil defamation process.
"There is some room to run, but it does seem to be quite significant," said Daniel Joyce, a law lecturer at the University of New South Wales who specializes in freedom of expression issues. "It could really strengthen the context-dependent truth defense of the media."
For Mr. McLachlan it seems at least more time in the spotlight.
Four days after the start of the defamation trial on February 4, he is due to appear before the Magistrates & # 39; Court in Melbourne and is being brought to ten charges by the Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse Investigations Team in Melbourne.