West Indies cricket star Chris Gayle was awarded US$221,000 in damages by an Australian judge, three months after a jury found he was defamed in an Australian newspaper, which claimed he had exposed himself indecently to a female masseur.
Justice Lucy McCallum levied the damages recently in a long-awaited ruling after a four-member jury in the New South Wales High Court found in October 2017 that Fairfax had not establish that Gayle had exposed himself in a team dressing room during a Sydney training session at the 2015 World Cup.
The jury also found Fairfax was motivated by malice, rejecting the media group’s defense of qualified privilege, which argues the organization acted reasonably by publishing information, which is in the public interest.
Justice McCallum awarded Gayle a single sum for a series of articles published in January 2016 in the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and Melbourne Age.
Aggravated damages were not awarded and the figure was at the lower end of recent defamation payouts.
The judge found imputations in the articles published by Fairfax “went to the heart of Mr. Gayle’s professional life as a batsman,” but she agreed with Fairfax, the allegations were “not at the most serious end of the spectrum.”
The judge said Gayle’s evidence that the articles had hurt his feelings was “surprisingly compelling.”
She said a particular source of hurt were calls for Gayle to be banned from international cricket.
The newspaper said it would appeal the judgment.