Cricketer Chris Gayle wins defamation case against Fairfax, but publisher claims it ‘did not get a fair trial’

West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle has succeeded in his defamation battle against Fairfax Media over a series of articles which alleged he exposed himself to a masseuse in February 2015.

The Sydney Morning Herald, owned by the defeated Fairfax Media, is reporting the jury in the NSW Supreme Court found Fairfax was motivated by malice in publishing the allegations. 

The SMH is also reporting the jury found Fairfax had not established a “defence of truth” in relation to the allegations.

The reports – which appeared between 6 and 9 January in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times – suggested Gayle had “exposed his genitals to” and “indecently propositioned” a female massage therapist.

Fairfax Media had defended the articles on the basis the allegations were true and qualified privilege, which requires a publisher to show defamatory articles were of public interest.

A Fairfax solicitor told Seven’s Chris Reason the company is considering an appeal:

The timing of Fairfax Media’s hearing on damages has not been confirmed.

The win comes after Gayle caused controversy in 2016 when he asked then Ten sports reporter Mel McLaughlin on a date during an on-air interview and then said “don’t blush baby”.  At the time, Gayle was criticised for sexism.

Update 5:02pm: 

A Fairfax Media spokesperson told Mumbrella the publisher was “seriously considering its appeal rights.”

“Fairfax Media is concerned with the conduct of the trial to the extent that on Friday it sought an order that the Jury be discharged and a new trial ordered,” the spokesperson said.

“The Judge accepted that the Jury had been misled in a way that prejudiced Fairfax, but declined to discharge the Jury. Fairfax believes that it did not get a fair trial. It is seriously considering its appeal rights.”


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