The Daily Telegraph is denying that articles it published about actor Geoffrey Rush carried imputations of sexual misconduct, a Sydney court has heard.
Rush is suing the tabloid newspaper's publisher, Nationwide News, and journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation over the articles, which alleged he behaved inappropriately to a colleague during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015.
In the Federal Court on Thursday, Rush's barrister, Richard McHugh SC, successfully had the paper's defence suppressed until a February 19 hearing when an amended version will have been filed and an application to strike part, or all, of it out will be considered.
Mr McHugh said the Daily Telegraph was only claiming a defence of truth with regard to some of the articles' imputations and they were "very much the lower case imputations" which didn't concern sexual misconduct.
He told Thursday's case management hearing the newspaper steadfastly refused to try to justify any imputation of sexual misconduct.
But defence barrister Lyndelle Barnett said the articles didn't make any allegations that Rush engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature.
Ms Barnett said an issue at trial would be whether the articles did actually carry such imputations.