McLachlan conduct 'planned and predacious'

Craig McLachlan's behaviour towards women was "planned and predacious", a court has been told.
Craig McLachlan's behaviour towards women was "planned and predacious", a court has been told.

An actor who believes Craig McLachlan behaved in a "planned and predacious" way towards women during the production of a musical refused to work with him again.

The Gold Logie winner is facing 16 charges including indecent assault, attempted indecent assault and common law assault that coincide with a run of the Rocky Horror Show.

The way McLachlan behaved towards women in the cast was "planned and predacious", actor Tim Maddren told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

Though the actor had been invited to take part in subsequent productions of the musical, he wrote to the theatre company telling them he didn't want to.

"I didn't want to work a second season ... solely because I didn't want to work with Craig," Mr Maddren said on Friday.

"I took a stance that Craig's behaviour towards the women in the cast was unacceptable and I didn't want to return."

This was despite the role involving a well-paid, short run with the potential for him to tour his native New Zealand.

While the former Hi-5 actor did attend a Sydney audition, he said he was "reinvigorating" his contact with the company rather than seeking a part.

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 allegations relate to four women who cannot be named and gave their evidence in closed court proceedings.

Another witness told the court he saw McLachlan grab one of his accusers around the jaw on-stage and squeeze.

"It looked like it was aggressive," actor Vincent Hooper said.

He said the alleged victim "looked genuinely scared".

The same woman had also told him she felt uncomfortable during a scene where McLachlan was present on stage but not visible to the audience.

She told him things were happening "that were sexual", Mr Hooper told the court.

McLachlan told this woman another actress' "pussy stinks", he said.

But Mr Hooper said the actor had been "lovely and supportive" to him during the production and he had liked McLachlan.

The best friend of one of the accusers testified that McLachlan's alleged actions left the woman feeling stressed and anxious.

Her friend told her McLachlan touched the woman's vagina through her clothes while on stage during a scene while he wasn't visible to the audience.

The friend told the court the woman reported the incidents to the company management, including the resident director.

McLachlan became a household name for roles in 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 hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington will continue next week.

Australian Associated Press