SYDNEY – West Indies star cricketer Chris Gayle has won a defamation case against an Australian media group which claimed he exposed his genitals to a female massage therapist.
The lurid accusations by Fairfax Media newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times in a series of stories in January last year were not true, a jury in Sydney ruled on Monday.
Massage therapist Leanne Russell had told the hearing that Gayle exposed himself to her in Sydney in 2015, the BBC reported.
However, Gayle successfully argued the incident did not happen. It is unclear how much he will seek in damages. His teammate Dwayne Smith, who was in the changing room at the time, also denied the incident took place.
“I am a good man. I am not guilty,” Gayle told reporters outside Sydney’s King Street court complex.
“I am glad the public actually get a chance to read into things and they can hear what actually transpired.”
The publication of the stories followed an uproar after Gayle attempted to flirt with an Australian presenter on live TV, asking her out for a drink and telling her: “Don’t blush, baby.”
Fairfax Media said it would investigate whether to appeal, claiming that the jury had been “misled in a way that prejudiced Fairfax”.
“It will cost the company a lot of money unless we can reverse it on appeal,” said Peter Bartlett, a solicitor acting for the company.
Gayle’s legal team argued that Fairfax journalists wanted to “destroy” the cricketer.
The court will consider damages on Tuesday.
Gayle, 38, is among the world’s highest-profile cricketers and in August became the first player to reach 10,000 Twenty20 runs.