Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has been accused in court of repeatedly touching an actress inappropriately while on stage.

Rush is suing Sydney's The Daily Telegraph for defamation over articles it published detailing the allegations.

In court on Monday, the newspaper's lawyer Tom Blackburn claimed the 66-year-old touched the actress on five consecutive nights in the final week of the Sydney Theatre Company's production of King Lear in 2015.

The newspaper's legal team has previously told the court that the articles, published in 2017, did not allege Rush engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature.

During the latest hearing, Mr Blackburn told the court that Rush had touched the unnamed actress in a way he had not done before that made her feel uncomfortable.

He said: "She said stop – he didn't. He went on doing it. Our case is that that in itself is inappropriate."

Image:Geoffrey Rush pictured in March last year. He is suing an Australian newspaper over articles which claim he was 'inappropriate' towards a co-star

Rush's lawyer, Richard McHugh, told the court that the accusations were vague – adding that his client and the actress had been required to touch on stage at the time.

Mr Blackburn is fighting the actor's request to have the newspaper's truth defence struck out. The judge has delayed his decision on that request to a later date.

Rush who was not in court on Monday, has denied behaving inappropriately.

The Sydney Theatre Company said the allegations were made after the production of King Lear closed, and the actress had not wanted Rush to be informed of her complaint.

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Rush has performed in the Sydney Theatre Company for 35 years. He won an Academy Award for best actor in 1997 for Shine, and has been nominated for three other Oscars over his career.

He is perhaps best known as Captain Barbossa in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films.

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