The celebrated law suit that if successful could have ruined Chris Gayle’s international cricketing career was decided by a Jury in Australia today. Gayle was found to be defamed by Fairfax Media. The Media Group had published that Gayle exposed himself to a massage therapist. Gayle had insisted from day one on his innocence.
Gayle responded to the verdict by saying “”I am a good person” Asserts the international West Indies batting star.
We have no evidence that the claim of “indecent exposure” as alleged by the massage therapist and published by Fairfax Media is racially motivated, but we are not ruling out such a suspicion. The jury rubbished the claim as the only true judge(s) of the facts presented in court. They have no reason to be biased in favour of Gayle, so their verdict has to be viewed as significant.
Fairfax said through a lawyer that the jury could have been “misdirected” … they opined that it could be a “costly claim”. The avenue of appeal is open to Fairfax Media should they be so inclined.
We hope the powers at be will take note of the Court’s ruling handed “Down Under” as Australia is commonly referred to … by a mixed jury. We must do our jobs despite court ruling.
The case got extensive publicity and was carried by major international correspondents and media outlets including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Gayle was repeatedly interviewed as he left court daily.
In our perspective we do not gloat at the downfall of another media house, but the lesson learnt is, we have to be very enlightened in our coverage as the impact of negative reportage can ruin lives. Enough said!
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & photojournalist for Vision/Gtaweekly Newspapers.