SYDNEY, Australia, Wednesday December 4, 2018 – West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle has a few thousand reasons to smile today. That’s because he has been awarded AUS$300,000 (US$221,000), more than a year after a jury ruled in his favour in a defamation lawsuit against Fairfax Media over articles published in newspapers and online that wrongfully claimed he exposed himself to a female massage therapist during the 2015 World Cup in Sydney.
The judgement was handed down yesterday by Justice Lucy McCallum in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Gayle was not in court.
The former West Indies captain had won his lawsuit in October last year, when the jury found that Fairfax Media had not established that he had exposed himself to masseuse Leanne Russell in the team dressing room.
Justice McCallum accepted that Gayle was hurt by the publication of the articles and that “the imputations had particular resonance in cricketing circles, among fans, coaches, officials and players”.
“The evidence on hurt feelings was surprisingly compelling,” she said, adding that she was satisfied that the articles had been read very widely and the allegation “gained some currency around the world”.
Gayle said during his testimony that the story had gone viral. The judge accepted them.
“Having regard to his high profile and popularity as an international cricketer, the nature of the allegation and the fascination of humankind with all things salacious, particularly in relation to people of some celebrity, I accept that it probably did,” Justice McCallum said.
Gayle’s spokesman, Grant Vandenberg, said the cricketer had now been vindicated by the judge after being vindicated by the jury last October.
However, Fairfax Media plans to appeal. It said it was concerned about the conduct of the trial.
“The jury was misled in a way that prejudiced Fairfax, and Fairfax did not get a fair trial,” a spokesperson for the publisher said.