Chris Gayle attorney Bruce McClintock has accused Fairfax Media of continuing to defame his client after the company released a statement questioning the fairness of the trial.
The court reconvened in Sydney today to discuss the award of damages, after Gayle and his legal team were victorious in a defamation lawsuit filed against the company who published allegations he indecently exposed himself to masseuse Leanne Russell. A jury also found that the company had acted with malice.
In its statement last night, however, Fairfax Media seemed to question the legitimacy of the decision. On Friday, the media conglomerate had sought to have the jury discharged and a new trial set after objecting to an instance of the jury being misled. The judge, however, denied the request.
“The Judge accepted that the jury had been misled in a way that prejudiced Fairfax, but declined to discharge the Jury. Fairfax believes that it did not get a fair trial. It is seriously considering its appeal rights,” a part of the statement read.
McClintock argued that the company’s statement implied that the verdict was incorrect and as such continued to make it appear as if his client had been guilty of the accusations.
“It’s a repetition of the defamation,” McClintock told the court.
“It’s extremely disappointing that a media organisation like Fairfax … should try to go on and fight like this.
“I utterly reject that Fairfax did not get a fair trial here,” he added.
“That should not have been said.”
Justice Lucy McCallum admitted that she was concerned by the statement.
“It seems to me to be a clear criticism of the court,” she said.
While insisting that his clients stood by the statement, Fairfax’s attorney Matthew Collins insisted the statement was not a criticism of the jury’s verdict.
The legal teams handed in written submissions on damages before the judge adjourned the hearing to a date to be fixed where she will hand down her decision.