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Thursday, November 16, 2017

when WI allrounder Marlon Samuels won defamation against Geoff Lawson

He bowled fast creating doubts and fears in the minds of batsman. In all he took 180 test wickets and 88 ODI scalps.  At a young age, Lawson had problems with tunnel vision. He also had to endure blind spots and red mist; he later became a qualified Optometrist, though we know him better as a fast bowler and a coach later.

During Asia Cup 2008,  Journalists stormed out of Geoff Lawson's press conference as tempers frayed after Pakistan's 64-run loss to Sri Lanka, which pushed the hosts to the brink of elimination.  

A visibly irate Lawson, Pakistan's coach, attended in place of captain Shoaib Malik and immediately set down some ground rules. "Couple of rules before we start. Don't make statements, ask questions. If someone asks a question twice, I won't answer it. Make questions sensible, otherwise I won't answer it."  Shortly thereafter, he was  sacked as the Pakistan coach and said that he  was better off than other officials working with the Pakistan board since he was paid out and got a decent exit.


Remember very well that famous 175 n.o. by the great Kapil Dev, retrieving the team from 17/5 against Zimbabwe.  Earlier on 9th   June 1983 In their very first one-day international, Zimbabwe announced their arrival with one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, beating Australia by 13 runs at Trent Bridge. Brief scorecard reads :   Zimbabwe 239 for 6 (Fletcher 69*, Butchart 34*) beat Australia 226 for 7 (Wessels 76, Marsh 50*; Fletcher 4-42) by 13 runs.. Zimbabweans had played with ease the renowned Australian pace attack of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson,  Geoff Lawson and Rod Hogg.

A couple of years back,  WI Cricketer – all rounder, Marlon Samuels filed a defamation case against Geoff Lawson for ‘erroneous, malicious and unjustifiable comments’ that the former Australian fast bowler had made about the West Indies batsman accusing him of being ‘tied up with gangs in Jamaica’ during a radio show in April this year. According to Samuels’ statement, the defamatory comments were made by Lawson in a radio podcast, ‘Big Sports Breakfast’ on April 4, a day after the Jamaican had led his team to their second World T20 triumph in Kolkata.

“He’s tied up with some shady people back in the West Indies….he’s a guy you don’t muck around with on or off the field. He’s from Kingston, Jamaica, it’s one of the murder capitals of the world…he’s tied up with gangs there, it goes well beyond cricket,” Lawson is quoted as having told the radio podcast in the statement.

The law suit also includes journalist James Matthey, who published a news story on the website news.com.au, accusing Samuels of ‘being involved with criminal gangs in Jamaica’. The statement states that both the website and Big Sports Breakfast were  sued for defamation for publishing and airing the comments.

There were also stories  on the  strong comments that Samuels had made against Shane Warne following his second man-of-the-final winning World T20 performance in response to a few extremely critical remarks that the Australian spin legend had passed about the West Indian.  Samuels’ statement stated that he found the comments not just defamatory but also deeply offensive and damaging to his character.

An year or so later, Marlon was successful – the award came forcing Lawson to tender   a full apology and undisclosed "substantial damages".  Samuels instructed his lawyers Richard Owen-Thomas and Suzette A Thompson in London after defamatory comments were made about him on the Big Sports Breakfast radio programme.   London based barrister Thompson in a release said "These comments were published and aired without proper journalist research, nor was Samuels contacted to give his views on the damaging remarks about his character.  We are delighted that Lawson and the Big Sports Breakfast radio have now settled and are issuing a full apology and agreed to pay substantial damages to Marlon".

Samuels said: "Through this case, my intention was not only to defend my integrity and image as an international cricketer, but also the values I have defended all my career.   “I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished."

Interesting to say the least !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Nov. 2017.

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