A fan who spat at Jarryd Hayne rape victim will receive nominal damages for defamation and a judge will determine he engaged in “generally disgraceful behaviour” after the former League star was sentenced.
Mina Greiss was among a group who attended Newcastle court in May 2021 when Hayne was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison after being found guilty of two counts of sexual assault without consent.
Hayne’s victim left the court surrounded by bailiffs and prosecution lawyers and the group made their way past waiting journalists, as well as Mr Greiss and his friends.
Seven Network journalist Leonie Ryan took a photo of Mr Greiss and posted it on her Twitter account, accusing him of “staring at the victim” and spitting in the woman’s direction.
Mina Greiss (pictured) successfully sued Channel 7 after the network published a story claiming she stared and spat at Jarryd Hayne’s rape victim.
Greiss denied spitting on Hayne’s rape victim.
He sued Seven for defamation over a news article published on the company’s website and Facebook page, as well as Ryan’s tweet.
Federal Court Judge Anna Katzmann concluded that Seven had falsely reported that Greiss had “stared” at the woman and spat at her.
Instead, the judge found that he had spit on a garden bed in the direction of the victim and stared at her as he passed.
However, Seven managed to put forward a contextual truth defense for its news article and Ryan’s tweet, and the judge found the post contained true statements that Greiss had engaged in other disgraceful behavior outside of court.
Greiss stared at the victim, spat in her direction and urged waiting journalists to describe her as an “escort” in their articles, Judge Katzmann said.
“Ordinary, decent people would consider any expression of contempt towards a victim of sexual assault shameful, especially when, as in the case of the first matter, they were informed that the sexual assault was ‘brutal,'” he wrote.
Channel Seven (file image) published a story which was also posted on social media accusing Mr Greiss of “staring at the victim”.
The defamatory statements he spat at the victim did not further damage his reputation, the judge concluded.
Seven failed to defend that their news article or Facebook post were simply honest opinions.
However, he managed to prove that Ryan’s tweet was his own opinion.
Because Greiss could only prove that the network’s Facebook post was defamatory, Judge Katzmann awarded him “nominal damages.”
The Hayne fan had shown “open hostility” toward the rape victim as she left the court and had engaged in “generally disgraceful behavior” in front of journalists and television cameras in public, he wrote.
She awarded $35,000 in damages plus interest for Mr. Greiss’ feelings of shame, anger, embarrassment and distress regarding the Facebook post.
Hayne raped the woman at her home near Newcastle on the night of the 2018 NRL Grand Final.
He was in the city for a weekend and paid a taxi driver $550 to wait outside the house, which the woman shared with her mother, before he was taken to Sydney.
Former football star Jarryd Hayne (pictured left) was found guilty of raping the victim on the NRL grand final night in 2018.
His first trial was abandoned in 2020 due to a hung jury before he was found guilty in May 2021 in Newcastle.
This conviction was overturned on appeal and the matter returned for a third trial in 2023 where the former footballer was convicted once again.
In May, Hayne was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison with a three-year non-parole period.
He has since appealed this decision again, although a hearing has not yet been scheduled.