Thursday 23 November, 2017

Gayle's attorney attacks Fairfax Media over massage therapist claims

Jamaica and West Indies batting star Chris Gayle.

Jamaica and West Indies batting star Chris Gayle.

The massage therapist who accused Jamaica and West Indies batting star Chris Gayle of exposing himself to her is  "bitter" and "vengeful", the cricketer's attorney told the jury on Friday in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

In his closing address to the jury of three women and one man, Gayle's attorney Bruce McClintock, SC, accused Fairfax Media of publishing "tabloid trash" by reporting the allegations in The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Ageand The Canberra Times.

In response, the defence claimed Russell has simply being “honest” despite several attempts made to discredit her by the prosecution. 

McClintock insisted that based on arguments presented, the evidence was completely in favour of his client, who has brought the issue to court in a defamation lawsuit against Australia media entity Fairfax.

“It’s about whether a specific incident involving three people occurred on February 11, 2015. Two of the people said it didn’t, one person said it did,” McClintock told the jury. 

Russell claims she had gone into the changing room looking for a sandwich during a practice session for the West Indies at the 2015 World Cup in Australia. While there, she encountered Gayle, who asked what she was looking for, after responding “a towel” she claims the cricketer removed the towel he was wearing to reveal a part of his penis before asking “Are you looking for this?”

Gayle has strongly denied the event took place and received support from teammate Dwayne Smith who was also present at the time the incident was alleged to have happened.

McClintock also took issue with Russell’s account of the incident, calling the masseuse “plainly neurotic” after she told the player that she had been looking for a towel when she had, in fact, claimed to be looking for a sandwich.  Russell had explained to the court that she had anorexia and it was a “kneejerk” reaction to avoid talking about food.

A jury of three women and one man are expected to retire on Monday before returning with a verdict.  Gayle is seeking damages in the region of US$1m after claiming the media entity sought to deliberately tarnish his reputation.

“They wanted to damage my client’s reputation and they certainly achieved that,” McClintock said.