'Other motives' in McLachlan assault case

Caroline Schelle
Women accusing Craig McLachlan of indecent assault have "other motives", says another actor

An actor who worked with Gold Logie winner Craig McLachlan claims some women accusing him of indecent assault have "other motives".

The former soap star is facing 16 counts of indecent assault, attempted indecent assault and common assault involving four women who were part of a production of the Rocky Horror Show.

"I'm trying my best to tell what I know, unfortunately it does suggest that women may have had other motives, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm on one side or another," actor Brendan Irving told a Melbourne court on Thursday.

The question came after prosecutor Matt Fisher asked the actor whether he supported McLachlan.

He said the motives of the women "go beyond the truth".

Irving said he was "devastated" one of the the alleged victims took action, after originally telling him she wouldn't do anything about it because she didn't think it was that serious.

He said the woman's ego had been "bruised" after she wasn't accepted into a later production of the musical.

She had become "increasingly aggressive" after she found out she hadn't been cast and believed McLachlan had influenced the decision, Irving said.

Another one of the complainants had caused "friction" within the show's cast but he said she had been "inseparable" with McLachlan, Irving told the court.

The four women involved in the case cannot be named and gave their evidence in a closed court.

The show's stage manager Dwan Delker said one of the alleged victim's had told her McLachlan was bullying her but wanted the conversation to be "off the record".

The stage manager said the woman had been "teary and shaky" when she approached her but after she was asked for examples said "just everything".

Later the woman told Ms Delker: "Please forget this conversation ever happened."

Theatre company producer John Frost told the court he had an "angry" reaction to the allegations but wasn't aware of who the accusers were initially.

He also said McLachlan was the "star" of the show and given respect because of it.

"We wouldn't have done the show without Craig," he said.

McLachlan argues the allegations - which include pressing his penis against a woman's back, kissing women without consent, running his hand between a woman's leg and straddling a woman's lap - either didn't happen or were not indecent.

The actor became a household name for roles in the Australian soap operas Neighbours, and Home and Away.

He launched defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media, the ABC and a former co-star in 2018. That case has been delayed until after the criminal charges are dealt with.

The contested hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington will continue on Friday.