Rigby Cooke Lawyers, acting on behalf of the St Kilda Football Club have posted a message on Ustream informing the girl at the centre of the Dikileaks scandal to be in Court at 10.30am.
The case is yet another example of the increased use of the internet and social media websites for the purpose of service of Court documents. Court documents have been served online by Victoria Police in Intervention Orders involving cyberstalking and in civil cases in family law and debt proceedings.
Although the matter has yet to be fully aired in Court, the internet itself shouldn’t be the focal point of this sordid affair, for it is just a medium of publication. ‘Respect and responsibility‘ programs apply to both online and offline behaviour, in the real world and in the heady world of Aussie Rules.
There still hasn’t been any mention of any disciplinary action against Sam Gilbert or any other St Kilda player for that matter since the girl brought her grievances to them in April. Of course the presumption of innocence applies, and we don’t know why the girls’ allegations weren’t pursued by Police.
However it appears that both the girl and Sam Gilbert are the two figures being demonised and treated as the villains by the media, whilst Nick Riewoldt has been seen as the real victim in this sorry saga.
It never really occurred to me to ask the question of what Sam was doing in possession of a collection of these kinds of photos on his computer. Surely it couldn’t have been the kind of “locker room nudity and homoeroticism” Jason Akermanis spoke of in his piece of social commentary which saw his career harshly and abruptly terminated by the Western Bulldogs.
What is the photo of Nick and Zac symbolic of? Nick said it was “just a joke” so we are left to speculate. I suppose humour is after all something you either get or don’t get.
It appears that the betrayal of one male player to his football team or team mate is more likely to break the fabric of a club than either writing a well balanced opinion piece in a newspaper as Akermanis did, or engaging in male bonding activities involving women and young girls. Although on the other hand, Akermanis was also a victim of speculation that he was allegedly about to ‘out a homosexual AFL player’. Jason Akermanis committed the cardinal sin of being suspected of breaching the trust of a team mate in addition to canvassing an issue of public importance sensitively and candidly true to his customary style.
Perhaps Akermanis was right in his prediction that the world of AFL isn’t prepared for certain realities. If the allegations of the girl are validated, it certainly demonstrates that the cultural and legal rules are different in AFL land, where male bondage and harmful masculine expression is elevated above respect for women and maybe even homosexual men.
Where is all the vitriolic commentary from homosexual men directed at Akermanis for his depiction of what he felt was an unfortunate reality in AFL footy today? Are they not offended by the image which could be interpreted as suggesting that Nick and Zac found the concept of sharing a condom together as worthy of capturing on film and memorialising? Why did Nick not say he regretted the photo having been taken in addition to it not having been deleted?
The post contained in the message from the AFL lawyers on Ustream reads:-
“Good afternoon … My name is Brad Ross and I am a partner at Rigby Cooke Lawyers. We are the solicitors for the St Kilda Football Club and also Sam Gilbert … You should be at court tomorrow. If you do not attend, the court can make orders in your absence. You should have legal representation tomorrow.”
It also explained the legal effect of a current Federal Court order restraining the girl from disseminating any more pictures allegedly lifted from Sam Gilbert’s computer. One hopes that the AFL, St Kilda Football Club and Ross Lewin wouldn’t attempt to destroy evidence that might be relevant in either future civil or criminal proceedings.
The teenager undertook not to post any further photos online of AFL players, indicating she was now aware of the presence of the Court Order which she would not defy.
Meanwhile Sam Gilbert has apologised to Nick Riewoldt for not deleting the photo which was apparently taken in a Miami Hotel room. Riewoldt is considering legal proceedings with his Solicitors for defamation.