West Indian batsman Chris Gayle has been awarded approximately R3-million (AUD 300,000) in damages after winning a defamation case against Fairfax Media.
The publishing company alleged Gayle had exposed himself to massage therapist Leanne Russell during the World Cup in 2015. After Gayle sued the company, the court ruled in his favour.
Fairfax Media have since stated they will appeal the ruling, which relates to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times in January 2016.
Gayle allegedly asked Russell, ‘is this what you’re looking for?’ while she was fetching a towel from the West Indies’ change room at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.
Judge Lucy McCallum insisted the allegations ‘went to the heart of Mr Gayle’s professional life as a batsman and a particular source of hurt for Mr Gayle were the facts that there were calls for him to be banned from international cricket.’
Gayle had said the allegations were ‘the most hurtful thing I’ve actually come across in my entire life’ during the trial.
A Fairfax Media spokesperson added: ‘The damages award merely confirms the appalling burden of defamation laws in this country. Fairfax is immediately bringing an appeal.’
Fairfax Media have requested McCallum order a new trial, claiming closing statements by Gayle’s lawyer had prejudiced the jury against it.
McCallum has since said she did ‘not regard there to have been anything improper in the submissions put by Mr McClintock.’