Source: The Australian – International cricketer Chris Gayle has won his highly publicized defamation lawsuit against Fairfax Media over a series of articles that alleged he exposed himself to a female masseuse during the 2015 World Cup.
A jury of four people this afternoon found the media organization had not established that Gayle, 38, intentionally exposed himself or indecently propositioned a woman.
“No,” the jury foreman said to three questions relating to the defence of truth. “Yes,” he said to the question about whether Gayle’s team had established that Fairfax was motivated by malice.
The court will decide damages at a later date.
Gayle sat silently in a Sydney courtroom every day last week in his bid to sue Fairfax Media over the articles, published between January 5 and 9 last year.
Leanne Russell, a massage therapist who worked with the West Indies cricket team during the World Cup in February 2015, claimed Gayle exposed himself to her in the change room at an inner-west Sydney oval.
Gayle denied the claim, and is seeking damages, aggravated damages, special damages, and interest for the damage to his reputation.
Gayle smiled when the verdict was read out today, and his team patted each other on the back.
“That was a triple century: no, no, no,” he said outside the NSW Supreme Court afterwards. “I’m happy with the decision the jury has made, they’ve actually made the right decision. I came this far, all the way from Jamaica to actually defend myself, my character. Life is going to go on for me.
“It was very emotional for me, to be criticized in such a manner. This was the first time being in a court as well. I’m glad the public gets a chance to read into things. At the end of the day, I’m very thankful.”
Fairfax Media’s lawyer Peter Bartlett, from Minter Ellison, said it was very disappointing.
“It could cost the company a lot of money unless we can reverse it on appeal,” he said. “We are shocked and disappointed by the outcome.”
He said he thought the “surprising address and strong address” by Gayle’s barrister Bruce McClintock SC was the deciding factor.
The case involved text messages, emotional courtroom confrontations, and journalists being questioned about their methods.
Fairfax stood by the reports using two defences, including that the allegations are true, which were rejected by the jury.