Rebel Wilson leaves the Melbourne Supreme Court after the jury came back in favour of the actress in her defamation trial against Bauer Media last year. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Rebel Wilson leaves the Melbourne Supreme Court after the jury came back in favour of the actress in her defamation trial against Bauer Media last year. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian

Epic cost of Rebel’s court win

MOVIE star Rebel Wilson spent more than $1.4 million fighting her high-profile defamation case, her lawyer has told a Melbourne court.

She won $4.5 million in damages - the highest defamation payout in Australia's history - but now she wants those court costs back.

The Pitch Perfect star is now fighting to have most of those costs repaid by Bauer Media, which defamed her in a series of articles published in 2015.

It was revealed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday that Wilson spent well in excess of $1 million over the 22-day trial held in June.

The court was also told that Wilson's high-profile barrister Matthew Collins cost $9900 a day, including GST.

It is expected she will have at least 80 per cent of those costs repaid by Bauer, but Wilson is seeking more.

Her barrister Renee Enbom argued that Justice John Dixon made an order on costs rather than have the matter go to a dedicated costs court.

She said Wilson and Bauer Media were arguing over a difference of between $100,000 and $200,000.

'WORRIED ALL THE WAY TO THE VERDICT'

Justice Dixon previously found that Bauer had relied on "hopeless", or unwinnable defences during the trial, purely to keep Wilson "worried all the way to verdict".

Ms Enbom argued that was an "improper motivation", and the matter of costs should be decided by the trial judge as a result.

Wilson won a four-week trial during which her lawyers successfully proved to an all-woman jury that Bauer branded the screen star as a “serial liar”. Picture: Getty Images
Wilson won a four-week trial during which her lawyers successfully proved to an all-woman jury that Bauer branded the screen star as a “serial liar”. Picture: Getty Images

However, Justice Dixon said he had already dealt with the matter by awarding Wilson aggravated damages and didn't want to "interfere" with the normal process for determining costs.

Ms Enbom also argued Wilson may have to wait until the end of 2018 before recovering her costs if the matter went to a specialist court.

In September, Wilson was awarded the highest defamation payout in Australian history of $4.5 million, which included $650,000 in general and aggravated damages.

It followed a four-week trial during which Wilson's lawyers successfully proved to an all-woman jury that Bauer branded the screen star as a "serial liar" who fabricated untruths about her age, real name and childhood in order to make it in Hollywood.

Bauer Media plans to appeal against the $4.5 million payout, with the matter listed for mid-April.

Justice Dixon adjourned the costs matter for a date to be determined.



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