Yesterday the New South Wales Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from three newspapers against a decision awarding international cricketer Chris Gayle AUD$300,000 for a string defamatory articles that were published about Mr Gayle that alleged he had indecently exposed himself to a team masseuse in a dressing room at a suburban oval in Sydney. The NSW Court of Appeal also dismissed a cross appeal from Mr Gayle where he contended that he should be entitled to more damages.
The decision is the latest in a series of high profile Australian defamation decisions that have come with a big price tag. In May 2019 Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush was awarded a record AUD$2.9million in damages by an Australian court in respect of defamatory articles that alleged inappropriate conduct by Mr Rush towards a female actress. The decision is under appeal.
The Rush decision follows the 2017 and 2018 Australian decisions relating to actress Rebel Wilson where she was initially awarded AUD$4.5million for magazine articles published painting her as a serial liar. The amount was later reduced on appeal to AUD$600,000.
It will be interesting to see whether we start seeing this level of damages awards in the England & Wales courts. We've certainly been seeing that privacy awards are on the rise over here, and perhaps defamation awards will follow suit.
Three Australian newspapers have lost an appeal against a defamation payout that was awarded to West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle. Articles published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times reported claims that Gayle had exposed himself to a female massage therapist in Sydney in 2015.