Following a preliminary hearing in the Federal Court of Australia in a court action brought against a 17 year old ward of the State, Judge Shane Marshall issued an interlocutory injunction prohibiting the teenager from distributing further embarrassing photos of the Saints procured from St Kilda Football Player Sam Gilbert’s computer.
The Judge had also ordered the plaintiff and the teenage defendant to engage in mediation prior to the 28 January with a view to settling the matter.
The teenager at the centre of the legal storm with the St Kilda Football Club met with club officials and her Lawyer in mediation aimed at resolving the issue. The deal breakers included Vice-president Ross Levin and CEO Michael Nettlefold.
The 17 year old went into the negotiations with an attitude which has been consistent from the start of the saga, namely she wanted an apology from the club and the AFL for treating her with disrespect. She also expressed a strong desire to tell “her side of the story“.
Through her internet tweets and posts she had indicated that she feared court proceedings brought against her in the Federal Court.
Gleaning her internet posts on Twitter and other internet sites she appeared to be looking forward to the day when her court ordeals were over.
In the difficult weeks leading up to the mediation she also said she wanted the AFL to enforce its code of conduct.
Legal action had earlier been initiated against her for various causes of action including breach of copyright. Ross Levin, acting as legal counsel for the Plaintiff/Applicant in the proceedings said he intended to pursue the matter aggressively.
The teenager was not represented at the preliminary hearing until an hour or so prior to the Interlocutory Order being made by Judge Marshall, an order based largely on uncontested Affidavit sworn by St Kilda player Sam Gilbert.
The teenager’s participation in the mediation followed weeks of uncertainty and personal hardship during which she endured a barrage of abuse, harrassment and threats from angry fans, including death threats and mockery through her various internet accounts.
lt is well documented fact that cyberbullying has resulted in the suicide of teenagers who have been subjected to single incidents of abuse, let alone sustained abuse in the online world coupled with widespread abuse in the ‘real world’.
Whilst the teenager’s critics have been quick to characterise her simplistically as an online social media attention seeker, many havn’t paused to consider that is was partially the harsh gaze of society which contributed to her retreat into a digital existence.
Not long prior to the mediation discussions, she was involved in an incident in which she was threatened with physical violence as a man attempted to punch her. The attempted assault was reported to the Police.
Prior to the mediation session the teenager stated:
“I want a public apology from the club and from the AFL, but then they want me to apologise to Nick Riewoldt……….They’ve said ‘If you apologise to Nick publicly, then we’ll apologise to you privately’, but if it’s private it’s as though they’ve done nothing wrong. I want them to be public about it, that’s what we’re sort of trying to mediate“.
Clearly, prior to the mediation negotiations, the teenager expressed ambivalence about apologising to Nick Riewoldt.
The St Kilda Football Club, on the other hand went into the negotiations demanding the girl apologise.
As reported on the 3AW website following discussions today between the St Kilda Football Club and the girl who has become known as the ‘Saints girl’, a settlement has been effected.
As the negotiations are confidential in nature, we won’t know what transpired. There isn’t much detail available regarding the nature of the agreement reached between the parties.
St Kilda Football Club CEO Michael Nettlefold came marching out of the settlement negotiations expressing the fact he was pleased to have struck an agreement to provide assistance to the teenager to enable her to move on with her life. The ‘help‘ consisted of a few months accommodation to the homeless teenager.
The Saints have expressed a desire to move on and heal, and recently engaged a team of specialists including Sarah Galbally to assist them with their legal and public relations affairs. The Saints had expressed a desire to get on with the business of playing footy and an online reputation management consultant has been engaged by them to clean up their online image.
One of the terms of the settlement is that the club will provide the teenager with temporary accommodation for a period of a few months so that she is able to restore a stability in her life, since becoming estranged from her family and left without support since December 2010.
The following Statement was issued and read by the Club after the mediation:
“The young woman has confirmed that the players did not pursue her, provide her with their (phone) number or act in any way that was inappropriate at the AFL school visit and that she first met the players socially in Sydney after the Rd 1 Sydney Swans match on March 27”
The teenager confirmed she has deleted all photographs of the AFL players in compromising positions either already disseminated or which she may have been in possession of.
The teenager issued the following statement on Channel Nine Network after the mediation:
“I’ve deleted the images and will comply with the orders of the court. I was not present when the photos were taken“
No disciplinary charges have been laid against any St Kilda Football Club player, although this of course is a matter for the AFL in the performance of their disciplinary functions.
Based on the inaction of the AFL Chief Andrew Demetriou to date, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
- Dikileaks: Legalities AFL Photo Scandal
- DICKILEAKS – SAINTS GIRL WANTS AFL CODE OF CONDUCT ENFORCED
- Dikileaks St Kilda Photo Scandal – What is the joke Nick?
- DICKILEAKS – AFL CONDONE ILLEGAL BEHAVIOUR; THE ST KILDA DEFENCE
- Dickileaks – Reputation Management – ‘Remove’ and ‘Move On’ – How To Sanitise A Saint