West Indian opening batsman Chris Gayle was awarded $220,770 (300,000 Australian Dollars) in damages by an Australian court on Monday. This comes more than a year after he won a defamation case against Fairfax Media over an alleged incident that took place in Sydney during the 2015 World Cup.
The case relates to articles published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times in January 2016 which alleged that Gayle had exposed himself to a masseuse named Leanne Russell during the tournament. Fairfax Media is the publishing house which owns these newspapers. Justice Lucy McCallum of the New South Wales Supreme Court pronounced the award.
A jury in October 2017 had found that Fairfax had failed to establish the truth of the reports. The jury also found that Fairfax was motivated by â€śmaliceâ€ť in publishing the stories in question. "In light of the jury's verdict I am required to assess damages on the basis that the allegation of indecent exposure was not true and that the attribution of such conduct was very damaging to Mr Gayle's reputation," Justice McCallum said.
Justice McCallum also said Gayle's assertion of hurt to his feelings due to the incident generally was "surprisingly compelling" and "a particular source of hurt for Mr. Gayle were the fact that there were calls for him to be banned from international cricketâ€ť.
Fairfax Media has since planned to lodge an appeal in the case and a company spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday it remained "concerned with the conduct of the trial".
"The jury was misled in a way that prejudiced Fairfax, and Fairfax did not get a fair trial," the spokesperson said.
The representative also continued to say that, â€śThe damages award merely confirms the appalling burden of defamation laws in this country. Fairfax is immediately bringing an appeal.â€ť