The actor’s partner Craig McLachlan has been accused of ‘fabricating’ evidence to ‘bolster’ his case on day seven of his defamation trial.
McLachlan is suing the ABC, Nine Entertainment Co and actress Christie Whelan Browne over 2018 reports alleging he assaulted, harassed, bullied and exposed himself to female cast members during the 2014 Australian tour from the Rocky Horror Show.
McLachlan denies all allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in the stories and says they ruined his reputation and ended his acting career.
On her second day on the witness stand, McLachlan’s partner, bandleader Vanessa Scammell, was accused by the attorney representing the news networks of giving “false evidence.”
Ms Scammell told the jury that apart from two days she was in Brisbane while The Rocky Horror Show played in the city in 2014.
She said that meant she had seen the show about “four times” in its entirety and had seen act two about “15 times”.
In response, Michael Hodge QC said she had ‘exaggerated’ that number to ‘bolster’ Mr McLachlan’s case, suggesting she was retrospectively ‘inserting’ herself into the theater so that she would be present for the incidents in question.
Mrs. Scammell replied “no”.
Yesterday the jury heard from Ms Scammell that she was in McLachlan’s dressing room in Brisbane overhearing a conversation between her partner and Whelan Browne.
Ms Scammell claimed Whelan Browne came to the changing room door, ‘pushed her pubic bone out, pointed and said, ‘Can you see my slit through my lower parts? “”
In court today, Mr Hodge said that conversation did not take place in front of Ms Scammell in Brisbane and exclaimed ‘you made that up’.
Ms Scammell replied: ‘I didn’t.’
The jury also heard from actor Kristian Lavercombe, who starred in the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show.
Lavercombe, who gave evidence via video link from the UK, told the court he had played the role of Riff Raff “around 2,000 times” over the past 10 years.
The courtroom heard from Lavercombe that the actors were “quite affectionate” with each other and often kissed, hugged and sat on their laps.
He also spoke in court about the “risky” sense of humor he witnessed in McLachlan and Whelan Browne.
He claimed the co-stars “often pinched each other’s butts.”
The longtime performer described McLachlan’s mental state in the days following media reports of bullying and assault allegations.
Lavercombe told the jury, “I felt like I was on a little suicidal watch” and said he later saw McLachlan wearing a disguise to conceal his identity.
The trial continues.