Wednesday 29 January 2020

Rebel Wilson back in Australian courts in defamation appeal

The 38-year-old comic actress wants a £2.6 million damages claim to be restored after it was slashed by the Court of Appeal.

Rebel Wilson (Ian Wilson/PA)
Rebel Wilson (Ian Wilson/PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

Rebel Wilson has applied to Australia’s highest court to increase her payout in a defamation case against a magazine publisher.

The 38-year-old comic actress, best known for parts in the Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids movies, was awarded a national record 4.6 million Australian dollars (£2.6 million) in damages in September.

It came after a Victoria state Supreme Court jury found that German publisher Bauer Media defamed her in a series of articles in 2015 claiming she lied about her age, the origin of her first name and her upbringing in Sydney.

But three judges at the Court of Appeal last month upheld an appeal by Bauer and slashed Wilson’s payout to 600,000 dollars (£335,000).

She was also ordered to pay 80% of Bauer’s legal costs from its appeal.

Wilson has lodged an application at the High Court to restore Judge Dixon’s ruling.

The Court of Appeal overturned his finding that Wilson’s career had been on an “upward trajectory” before the articles, instead saying the judge had given “a picture of the plaintiff’s career trajectory that significantly overstated its success and ignored its hiccups”.

According to court documents, Wilson’s lawyers will argue Judge Dixon was correct, and that he was also right in finding the articles caused a “huge international media firestorm” affecting Wilson’s career and reputation.

The lawyer will also argue the Court of Appeal was wrong to conclude Wilson needed to prove economic loss by showing a project had been cancelled.

A single High Court judge will hear Wilson’s application at a date yet to be set.

The judge would then either reject her appeal or rule that the full bench of seven judges will hear it.

PA Media

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