SYDNEY, Australia, CMC – A Sydney court yesterday ruled in favour of West Indies star Chris Gayle, in a widely publicised defamation case involving leading Australia media company, Fairfax Media.
Following the six-day trial, a four-member jury comprising one man and three women concluded in less than two hours that Fairfax Media had failed to prove that a series of articles it published about Gayle last year were true.
The court will decide on damages today.
“I’m happy with the decision the jury has made. They actually made the right decision. I came this far, all the way from Jamaica, to defend myself and defend my name and my character as well,” Gayle told reporters afterwards. “At the end of the day I am very, very happy it has come to a close now. I’m glad the public actually got a chance to read into things and they could’ve heard what transpired in the courtroom as well. I am very thankful.
He added: “This is a serious thing and these things do happen around the world and to sportspeople as well.”
Fairfax Media, publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald, the Canberra Times and the Age, had reported that during the 2015 World Cup here, Gayle exposed his penis to team masseuse, Leanne Russell, on an occasion when she walked into the West Indies dressing room.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” Gayle was alleged to have asked Russell in the dressing room at Drummoyne Oval while dropping his towel to reveal his penis.
Russell had given a tearful testimony during the trial, saying she was forced to shield her eyes when Gayle dropped his towel to expose himself, before walking out abruptly. Gayle maintained the incident never occurred and was supported by former Windies teammate, Barbadian Dwayne Smith, who testified during the trial.
Gayle’s legal counsel, Bruce McClintock, slammed Russell during the trial as “plainly neurotic”, “bitter and vengeful”.
In a statement, Fairfax Media said it did not receive a fair trial and was considering an appeal. The lurid story broke on the heels of Gayle’s now infamous “don’t blush baby” scandal which saw him appear to proposition Channel 10 reporter, Mel McLaughlin, in an interview during a Big Bash game in January, 2016.
His comments were condemned by the Big Bash League as “disrespectful and inappropriate” and he was subsequently slapped with a $10 000 fine.