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‘He leant up against her’: Court hears McLachlan got a bit too close

The female actor was ‘‘taken aback’’ and felt uncomfortable and ‘‘violated’’, her friend said, and didn’t know what to do.

‘‘She felt she was unable to do anything about it,’’ the friend said.

Mr McLachlan, 54, has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges, comprising counts of indecent assault, common assault and attempted indecent assault, related to the Melbourne leg of a 2014 stage show.

He is accused of putting his tongue in one woman’s mouth during an unscripted kiss on stage and of inappropriately touching another female actor when they were in a scene together but he was hidden from the audience.

He is also accused of putting his hand up a third woman’s leg while she was on stage, and kissing the fourth woman offstage without her consent.

The four women cannot be named.

Mr McLachlan’s lawyers argue some alleged acts didn’t happen and the ones that did were either consensual or didn’t constitute an assault or indecent assault.

The court heard that after Mr McLachlan kissed the female actor when it wasn’t in the script, she confronted him offstage and told him, ‘‘Don’t you do that again.’’

‘‘She said he backed her up against a wall and said, ‘Don’t you talk to me like that, I will end you’,’’ the friend recalled of the conversation the two women had in the days afterwards.

‘‘It absolutely threw her. No one had ever spoken to her with such intensity in such a negative way.’’

The friend said the female actor didn’t feel comfortable being around Mr McLachlan when she was ‘‘potentially going to be violated at any moment’’.

‘‘She didn’t want to work with Craig any more,’’ the friend said.

The actor wanted to work in future shows, the friend said, but not with Mr McLachlan.

During the 2014 Melbourne run, the four women who accuse Mr McLachlan of indecent assault spoke about his behaviour, the friend said.

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After the opening show in Melbourne the cast and crew gathered to celebrate with family and friends, and during that function the female actor told her friend not to have anything to do with the star.

‘‘She made a passing comment when he entered the room … ‘That’s Craig, he’d love you, stay away from him’,’’ the friend said.

The contested hearing continues.

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