Craig McLachlan to face Neighbours co-star during sexual harassment legal battle

Steve ZemekNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

One of Craig McLachlan’s Neighbours co-stars from more than three decades ago is set to be a key witness in his upcoming defamation trial over sexual harassment allegations.

The Gold Logie winner is suing the ABC, Nine and former colleague Christie Whelan Browne over allegations relating to his time starring in the Rocky Horror Show in 2014.

He is suing in the NSW Supreme Court, claiming that allegations of indecent assault, bullying and that he exposed himself to female colleagues have injured his character.

The media companies and Ms Whelan Browne are defending the lawsuit, denying assertions the former soap star was defamed, as well as relying on a truth defence.

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Camera IconAustralian actor Craig McLachlan has launched defamation proceedings against several media outlets and one of his Rocky Horror Show co-stars. NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi. Credit: News Corp Australia

The lawsuit will be decided by a jury with a four-week trial before Justice John Sackar due to begin in May next year.

Justice Sackar on Friday afternoon allowed an application for the media companies to amend their defence, allowing the new witness to give evidence.

The court heard the new witness co-starred alongside McLachlan on Neighbours during his time on the hit soap in his breakthrough role in 1987-89.

His co-star had made allegations that Mr McLachlan had sexually harassed her including by touching her breasts, the Supreme Court was told on Friday.

“They are factual matters for the jury, they will be the judges of the facts,” Judge Sackar said.

“On the face of it they clearly relate to the plaintiff … They will be a matter for the jury to weigh up.”

Craig McLachlan will give evidence at his upcoming defamation trial next year. Supplied/Seven.
Camera IconCraig McLachlan will give evidence at his upcoming defamation trial next year. Supplied/Seven. Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr McLachlan launched proceedings in 2018 but they were stayed the following year when he was charged in Victoria with assaulting and indecently assaulting four women during the stage production of the Rocky Horror Show.

He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of all charges in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2020 before restarting the defamation proceedings.

McLachlan, who was launched into stardom after stints on Neighbours and Home And Away, has consistently denied the allegations against him.

“Frankly, they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety,” he said in a 2018 statement.

“In either event, they are to the best of my knowledge utterly and entirely false.”

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