West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has won his defamation case against Fairfax Media.
The NSW Supreme Court found that he did not intentionally expose his genitalia to a massage therapist in the West Indian team dressing room during the Cricket World Cup in February 2015, with the jury also finding that Fairfax was motivated by malice.
Gayle had told the court that the allegations made by team masseuse Leanna Russell – that he had pulled down his towel in the change room and asked, “Is this what you are looking for?” – were “heartbreaking”, and that he felt compelled to “clear my name.”
“I’m a good man,” Nine reports that Gayle said outside court today. “The jury has made the right decision. I came all the way from Jamaica to defend myself.”
Russell stood by her allegations when giving evidence. She said she’d contacted The Age newspaper last year, after being angered by a live TV interview in which Gayle told reporter Mel McLaughlin, “Don’t blush, baby.”
Fairfax defended the articles, claiming the truthfulness of the allegations (which the jury rejected) and pleading the defence of qualified privilege, which requires a published to show defamatory articles were of public interest and acted reasonably.
However, that defence can be defeated by malice, which the jury found.
A hearing on damages will be held at a later date.