‘The most hurtful thing’: Chris Gayle arrives in Sydney for defamation trial

The star cricketer arrives at NSW Supreme Court.

The star cricketer arrives at NSW Supreme Court. Photo: AAP

International cricket star Chris Gayle’s barrister has told a Sydney defamation trial a journalist from The Age wanted to “destroy” the cricketer because of the “don’t blush baby” on-air controversy last year.

The West Indies all-rounder is suing Fairfax Media — the publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Canberra Times and Brisbane Times — for defamation over a series of articles he says falsely accuse him of exposing his genitals to a female masseuse at the World Cup in 2015.

Gayle, who flashed a trademark grin as he entered the New South Wales Supreme Court this morning, was called today to give evidence in the civil trial before Justice Lucy McCallum and a jury of three women and one man.

The barrister representing Gayle, Bruce McClintock SC, told the jury the allegation published in January 2016 was “completely false”.

He described his client as a “rare talent” who grew up in poverty and lifted himself up.

McClintock described an on-air incident in which Gayle asked former Channel 10 reporter Mel McLaughlin to have a drink with him and said “don’t blush baby” as “a bit of banter”.

“Perhaps some flirting going on from Mr Gayle to Ms Laughlin,” the barrister said.

The Big Bash League team Gayle was playing for, the Melbourne Renegades, fined him $10,000 following those comments.

McClintock said the journalist at The Age who wrote the article alleging Gayle exposed himself knew McLaughlin.

“They intended to blacken his name … They wanted to destroy him,” he said.

“They knew what they were doing. It was a vicious and savage and false attack.

“He comes to court to prove to you and the whole world the allegation is wrong. It’s false. He will tell you that the incident never happened.”

The barrister described the allegation of sexual impropriety against Gayle as serious and questioned his client over the newspaper’s claims.

When asked if he exposed himself to massage therapist Leanne Russell, Gayle said “I didn’t” and later added “it never happened”.

“It’s the most hurtful thing I’ve actually come across in my entire life,” Gayle said when commenting on the allegations.

“This is one case I have to fight. I want to clear my name.”

Gayle added that any person guilty of such an offence should be punished.

Justice Lucy McCallum said the matter should conclude within two weeks.

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