Chris Gayle scared of Being around women court told
West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle is suing Fairfax Media for defamation. Photograph: David Moir/AAP
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Australian Associated Press
Thursday 26 October 2017 02.49 BST Last modified on Thursday 26 October 2017 10.24 BST
The West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle is scared of being around women ever since stories were published saying he exposed himself to a female massage therapist, a Sydney jury has been told.
“He always feels someone is out to get him,” close friend and professional cricket coach Donovan Miller told the New South Wales supreme court on Thursday.
Gayle is suing Fairfax Media for defamation, saying it falsely claimed he intentionally exposed his genitals to and indecently propositioned Leanne Russell in the West Indies dressing room during a Sydney training session at the 2015 World Cup.
Matt Collins QC, acting for Fairfax Media, said Russell bravely bared her soul to give raw and honest evidence about Gayle.
She not only repeatedly described the incident but, in the full glare of the national media, revealed she suffers from anorexia, he said.
But Gayle’s barrister, Bruce McClintock SC, said Russell was so troubled by anorexia and so “mentally fragile” that when she went into the dressing room she said she told Gayle she was looking for a towel rather than a sandwich.
“The significance of this is the whole thing starts with a lie told by Ms Russell,” he said in his closing address in the NSW supreme court on Thursday.
However, Collins said it was impossible not to be moved by the evidence of Russell, who was subjected to “a ferocious attack on her credibility” but remained calm and resolute.
“What sane person would put themselves through what happened to Ms Russell in this courtroom yesterday?” he asked the jurors.
She had explained her motive in going to Fairfax, saying she was horrified when she saw a live TV interview in which Gayle invited reporter Mel McLaughlin to have a drink with him and told her “don’t blush baby”.
He said her version was supported by a February 2015 email sent by team manager Sir Richie Richardson to players referring to Russell being put in a “few uncomfortable situations” and reminding them to treat her with respect.
But McClintock, who will continue his submissions on Friday, questioned her credibility while submitting the jurors would accept the evidence of Gayle and teammate Dwayne Smith who both said the exposure did not happen.
Earlier, Miller said he had known the cricketer for more than 22 years and had become particularly close to him because of his work with the Chris Gayle Foundation.
The UK-based organisation helps disadvantaged young children by using cricket to guide them.
Asked about Gayle’s reputation before the articles were published in January 2016, Miller said, “I think everyone loves him” and added he was a big role model to young cricketers.
When the exposure claims were first aired “we all thought this was a joke … not serious”, Miller told the court.
Since then, Gayle had become very reserved “and scared, especially [around] females and he always feels someone is out to get him”.
“You can see the incident has affected him,” Miller said. “When you look in his eyes you can see he is really hurting about it.”
He recalled selecting Gayle to be on a panel in England around the time the story was in the media and being asked, “Why would you pick Chris Gayle, with this sort of reputation?”
“I do feel a bit sorry for him,” he said. “I have known him for so long, I feel people have the wrong perception.”
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