St Kilda, AFL, establishment vs teenage girl

This is a much worse look than a couple of naked footballers:

St Kilda vice president Ross Levin, speaking after the Federal Court extended an injunction preventing the girl from publishing photographs taken from footballer Sam Gilbert’s computer, vowed that she would not get off “scot-free” and that today’s hearing was only the start of the club’s legal response.

“If she thinks that because it is too late and she is going to get off scot-free and she has already put the photos out there, well she is wrong,” said Mr Levin, who is also Gilbert’s solicitor.

“This is only the start of the legal process against her. The next stage is seeking that this injunction becomes permanent and suing her for damages and costs for breach of copyright, breach of confidence and also adding claims of deliberate infliction of mental distress and trespass. The unjustified attack on the players and our club will be met by us in the strongest possible way.”

I suppose they’re banking on being able to run her into the ground with the significant funds at their disposal – certainly they’re not skimping on the high-powered legal representation. Big football club vs 17 year old nobody: what kind of a fair fight is that?


I will devote my energies – my professional knowledge, my money, the skills I’ve spent a lifetime developing – to grinding this teenager into the Earth LIKE A BUG.

That is unless the courts resist being used by the powerful to bully the powerless, and refuse to make oppressive orders just because expensive QCs have demanded they do so. Let’s hope they remember that just because someone’s unrepresented – or even absent – doesn’t mean they have to give the party present everything it demands. Particularly if it’s massively over-reaching.

Seriously, St Kilda and the AFL are in trouble here because of the allegations that their players abused and took advantage of a teenage girl. Do they really think upping the ante and crushing her as thoroughly as they can will improve their image?

UPDATE: From The Age‘s version of the story:

Mr Houghton proposed to Justice Shane Marshall that the teenager be ordered to destroy any pictures she took from Gilbert’s computer, printed or electronic, and ”without limitation, copies stored on an internet account or website, computer hard drive, memory stick, MP3 device, camera phone or in any electronic repository or format”.

Justice Marshall replied that he found the proposal ”fairly draconian” and did not want to make any orders in the teenager’s absence. He extended the order banning publication of the photographs, with the hearing set to resume this afternoon.

With the greatest respect to my learned colleague, I can’t say I’m all that sorry to hear that his submission was not accepted.

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28 responses to “St Kilda, AFL, establishment vs teenage girl

  1. Do you think the reason they are doing this is to stop the next teenage girl who has sex with footballers?? Or by doing this, they reasssure their female fans that the allegations aren’t true?? Either way, this is intended to demonstrate something to their female fans.

  2. This girl appears very angry. At the end of the day, the pictures were taken and kept, by whom is still not quite clear. What amazes me they considered the matter important enough to have 20 meetings with the girl. Nothing the court can do at this time to remove the pictures from the public minds. I believe it is one of those cases were everyone is wrong.

  3. “any pictures she took from Gilbert’s computer”

    It’ll be interesting to hear Gilbert give evidence on oath that he took those photographs and stored them on his computer – surely something the court should require before even considering such an order.

  4. jordanrastrick

    Wait, since when is there any allegation of this girl being abused? The only thing I’ve heard claimed is that she had consensual sex with a player, and it ended badly. Now it may be somewhat creepy or distasteful for a 20 year old footballer (or however old he is – older? Younger?) to sleep with a 16 year old schoolgirl. But it’s not abuse (a word you seem very happy to throw around willy nilly lately.)

    In response, shes posted photos to the internet with, by her own admission, the express purpose of publically humiliating players who had no involvement in what she’s claiming to be angry about, purely to get revenge on the AFL as an organization by proxy. She’s gone on to make jokes about whether the initial injunction telling her to stop is “legal”.

    On top of what appear to be those uncontested facts,iIt’s further alleged that as well as being published without their consent, the photos may in fact have been obtained without the subjects’ consent, and illegally to boot.

    Why does she get a free pass on this just because her targets are rich and powerful? Her actions are easily worse than Brendan Fevolas, for which he was rightly condemned. Their comparable IMO to the scumbag journalists who outed NSW transport minister David Campbell for the sake of a few ratings.

    She’s only 17, which obviously mitigates any culpability. If it turns out she’s unstable, as some had suggested, than perhaps she needs counselling more than she needs to be “crushed like a bug.”

    Nonetheless, if someone did this to me, or a family member, or an employee of mine as part of a vendetta against me, I’d certainly want them sued, and forcefully. I suspect if the photos were of anyone other than famous male footballers, there wouldn’t even be any question about where anyone’s sympathies would lie.

    Nonetheless

  5. jordanrastrick

    Apologies for the many typos. On a bus, on my phone, hadn’t had any coffee yet…

  6. Isn’t there a law that says something about it being illegal for adults to have sex with minors ?

    Where is the police investigation into the player/s who have been involved sexually with this under-age girl ?

  7. “Isn’t there a law that says something about it being illegal for adults to have sex with minors ?”

    Yes, but she was at least 16, possibly 17.

  8. Ahh, thanks Bloods, I need to catch up on our consent laws — I thought it was illegal for adults to have sex with anyone under the age of 18 unless they were no more than a couple of years older or were married.

    Live and learn :)

  9. “unless they were no more than a couple of years older or were married”

    Or Mormons I think.

  10. “Or Mormons I think.”

    Really ?

    That’s interesting, separate laws for what is a fairly small religious sect — very odd, is that the case here or just in the USA ?

  11. What would you have St Kilda FC do, Jeremy, lay down and die? The girl is clearly malicious. The players (Gilbert & Armitage that is, the ones who slept with her) are not entirely innocent either. I don’t agree that professional footballers should go for the easy lay with 16 y.o. groupies, but the fact is they’ve really done nothing illegal and nothing wrong.

    Worse still, the 3 players whose photos were put up appear to have had nothing to do with her and have now had their reputations severely tarnished – especially Riewoldt, who will probably lose millions he would have received from companies wanting to use his image.

    I know you like to champion the underdog, and good on you for that – this girl needs help, which is why I suggest the AFL, not St Kilda, has met with her 20 times – but you’re painting an overly dramatic picture in my opinion.

    My guess is they are making a statement that they won’t put up with this kind of invasion and malice, but will probably ease up on her once some kind of order has been made.

    Cheers & merry Xmas.

  12. womanvsfeminist

    I love that this is happening. I feel a (tiny) bit sorry for the individual men involved, but I love the fact that the shoe is now on the other foot. The girl involved may not have been ‘abused’ but she’s obviously angry about the way they treated her. She’s using the tiny amount of power that she does have to scare a very powerful institution that normally gets away with a lot, including treating women badly.

    When Lara Bingle’s near-naked picture was circulated she was blamed for it. She, and by extension, all women, were told to be ‘more careful’. I see very little of this happening now. Why are the men not being told to be ‘more careful’?

  13. jordanrastrick

    In Victoria, more or less in line with most Australian juristictions, you can fully consent to sex with a person of any age once you turn 16. The only exception is anyone you are in a guardian-like relationship with – teacher, foster carer, social worker etc; you must be 18 (or married to them) to give conesnt in that circumstance.

    The “couple of years” age gap rule applies to people under the age of 16; so for instance a 14 year old can legally consent to sex with a 16 year old.

    http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/745.htm

  14. “That’s interesting, separate laws for what is a fairly small religious sect — very odd, is that the case here or just in the USA ?”

    Sorry Gavin, I was just kidding.

  15. No worries Bloods, I have to say I’ve never looked into the laws surrounding consent — I’ve always just assumed 18, a bit lazy of me, but there you have it. I suppose I’ve always conflated them with the voting age, drinking age etc…

  16. narcoticmusing

    Not sure if people saw this, the Child Safety Commissioner commenting on the Saints/AFL’s behaviour http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/24/3101043.htm

    I think it is abhorrent that a young girl, who players were happy to have sex with and has obviously ended badly, could be so further mistreated by this hypcritical institution with unlimited resources compared to her resources of a facebook page. The media/AFL/etc were all ‘Poor Fev’ when he took a photo of his girlfriend, without her consent (to the extent she tried to cover herself up). He did this abusing her trust, without her consent, and without considering consequences but it was all ‘poor Fev, he’s a bit mixed up’. The commentators went as far as to suggest she deserved it, for not being more careful and/or she’s a model and thus that suggests something, say, that it didn’t harm her?
    Oh, but a footballer POSES for a picture, which is thus consenting to having it being taken regardless of what happens afterwards. And he is still the victim.
    Hypocrites.

  17. I gotta say, I’m with womanvsfeminist on this.

    There’s some genuine poetic irony in the idea that a girl has finally turned the tables on the AFL, although admittedly it seems that a relatively innocent player has bourne the brunt of her wrath. She is clearly engaging in collective punishment against the AFL which, while quite satisfying in a way, is also difficult to defend.

    But at the end of the day I say suck it up boys. It’s just a naked picture or two and I doubt any of those impacted are entirely guilt-free when it comes to their treatment of young female fans. If you can’t stand the heat . . . .

  18. jordanrastrick

    Jeremy, what’s not the case? I assume you’re making the same point I was about consent laws judging from the link, although that seems to go against your claims earlier of “abuse” being inolved.

    womanvsfeminist, I don’t even know where to start. Well, here’s an attempt.

    I love that this is happening. I feel a (tiny) bit sorry for the individual men involved, but I love the fact that the shoe is now on the other foot.

    I guess that’s “two wrongs make a right” logic?

    The girl involved may not have been ‘abused’ but she’s obviously angry about the way they treated her.

    So anger is a justification for acting spitefully? Maybe Brendan Fevola was angry at Lara Bingle? I’m sure lots of people who commit immoral and even criminal acts do so out of anger. So I don’t see what your point could possibly be.

    She’s using the tiny amount of power that she does have to scare a very powerful institution that normally gets away with a lot, including treating women badly.

    And if scaring that powerful institution revolves entirely around inflicting massive damage on innocent individuals associated with it, well that’s OK, because the AFL had it coming and ergo so did any of its players?

    If I’m angry with Microsoft over their repeated anti-trust violations, should I be allowed to publish humiliating naked photos of a receptionist from their Australian office? I don’t like U.S. government foreign policy, so the private lives of any U.S. citizen are fair game for me to take my revenge, right?

    This is some prize bullshit, if you ask me.

    When Lara Bingle’s near-naked picture was circulated she was blamed for it. She, and by extension, all women, were told to be ‘more careful’.

    By idiot commentators, who were rightly admonished by others who possessed even a modicum of intelligence and a sense of decency.

    see very little of this happening now. Why are the men not being told to be ‘more careful’?

    You’re not looking very hard. From Tory Shepard at the Punch, blaming the footballers for allowing naked photos of themselves to be taken, and to continue to exist:

    He says he asked the photographer to delete the photos. Smart. He didn’t make sure that happened. Dumb. He was naked with a camera around in the first place. Even dumber. In the latest chapter of this unfolding story there are three footballers identified. There’ll apparently be more pictures to come, thanks to a young, angry woman. Will footballers ever learn?

    Then there’s the next article on the topic published on the same website, demanding greater public scrutiny and analysis of the homo-erotic culture within male sports teams evidenced by the photos. As if their legal, consensual, private activities, sexual or otherwise, are even remotely the business of anyone except the team members and their families; if they happen to be having four hour orgies of hot gay sex after every match, while still being publically in the closet, there’s still absolutely zero legitimate public interest in any of it.

    This reminds me a little of the reaction to the female Duke student who published her sex diaries on Jezebel, with graphic, intimate and humiliating details of her conquests, who were all openly named. Reaction amongst “progressives” seemed pretty violently pretty split amongst those who said “this is exactly the kind of hateful, emotionally abusive douchebaggery that misogynist men perpetrate against women… its disgusting and against everything we stand for, and should never have seen the light of day”, and “this is exactly the kind of hateful, emotionally abusive douchebaggery that misogynist men perpetrate against women… hahaha isn’t it funny and awesome that both genders have to suffer this kind of trauma! You go girl!”

    Suffice to say, the latter is morally bankrupt under any kind of coherent worldview.

  19. jordanrastrick

    But at the end of the day I say suck it up boys.

    Sexist, patriarchal horsecrap, that boys should be able to “suck it up” when it comes to having their privacy violently invaded.

    It’s just a naked picture or two

    Oh yeah, there’s nothing at all truly upsetting about having explicit naked photos of yourself published all over the internet. And wasn’t one of the players masturbating in one of the photos?

    Please be forthcoming with such images of yourself Mondo, and your partner if you have one, too, as a token of how little you think it matters.

    and I doubt any of those impacted are entirely guilt-free when it comes to their treatment of young female fans.

    Of course not! Nerds who run libertarian internet organisations are entitled to such a strong presumption of innocence, that even credible allegations of actual rape by two people must be automatically dismisssed as an elaborate CIA conspiracy. But a footballer, any footballer, ipso facto, must be guilty of some sort of sexual impropriety, even when none of any kind has been alleged by anyone. Because you know, he plays football.

    The hypocrisy here is sickening.

    If you can’t stand the heat . . . .

    Get… off the football field, I guess? Quit your career, because you know, if you’re an athlete, someone might steal highly private and embarassing images and defame you with them, and that’d be ok, because some other atheletes have done immoral or illegal things in their private lives at some point?

    I hope for your sake you were being subtly ironic, Mondo.

  20. I wasn’t being ironic Jordan – but don’t let that fact cause your gigantic head to implode all over your nice shoes.

  21. narcoticmusing

    Jordanrasrick – is it defamation? i don’t think so. Truth can’t be defamation. It may be damaging, inconvenient, or a downright violation of privacy, but defamation? No.

    I think there is a complete lack of understanding of the interwebs and social media in terms of their impacts/consequences on lives but also on things like privacy, defamation and libel laws. It is quite concerning.
    People think something they don’t want others to know is a basis for defamation, it is not. It must be untrue to be defamation. The basis for the injunction was on the claim the images were stolen. This will be hard to prove – but the AFL have QCs fighting for them, what does this girl have?

    Fair fight? I think not…

  22. Jordan, my earlier comment was to Gavin, but when I approved some comments it buggered up the order so I’ve added his name to make it clear.

    As for your response to this incident – you’re kind of assuming the footballers are telling the truth. What if the girl is?

  23. Jeremy,

    Merry Xmas and happy new year to yourself and Keri, and best wishes of the season to everyone who posts here.

  24. I feel I have got to say (not that I give a rat’s arse about these preened, pumped up, pussy footballers), way to show the aussie public that the AFL (let alone the players) knows how to treat their female fans with the respect they deserve.
    I think they would have been better served by publicly offering the girl counselling if and when she needs it. I think they doth protest a little too much… unless there is some small grain of truth somewhere, still waiting to get out?

  25. narcoticmusing

    I agree with Jeremy here. The other concern is that the mass media crucified Bingle when Fev sent pics out, with only obscure commentators asking wtf? The situation is reversed and yet once again the mass media demonise the girl for the sake of the heavily resourced AFL. That is a concern.

  26. Truth about what? She hasn’t actually made any specific allegations publicly, as far as I am aware, other than to say she was mistreated. That could mean almost anything from being told to piss off and stop pestering the players to being raped.

  27. jordanrastrick

    Ah Mondo, once again providing ample evidence that you graduated summa cum laude from the “I know you are I said you are but what am I?” school of debating…

    @Jeremy: I’m not actually assuming the girl’s side of the player’s or the girl’s side of the story. I’ve expressed some opinions that are premised (and explicitly conditional) on the players’ accounts being true, but the broad thrust of my argument concerns only the uncontested facts, namely that Riewoldt et al are not the alleged to have slept with or otherwise mistreated girl, but merely happen to be on the same team as those who have. Read my comment from 8:51 am.

    @narcoticmusing: You’re right, I was wrong on that point, it looks like it can’t be defamation. Truth didn’t used to be an unqualified defence in Australia unless you could also prove public interest, it seems, but that was changed in 2005. As far as your subsequent comment on the media goes, well I’ve already provided links to the first two articles that a News Ltd run website published on this, both highly critical of the players with little to say about the girl at all. I won’t speak to any of the victim blaming that occured in the Bingle case, because I agree a lot of it was pretty appaling – in fact, its precisely my point that the same standards should be applied, that its completely out of line to blame Bingle for that case or Riewoldt for this one. And as for your earlier thoughts, even assuming they did pose (Riewoldt strenuously denies doing so), that doesn’t constitute consent for everyone in the world to view it, anymore than consenting to go home with a person gives him or her carte blanche to rape you.

    @milfot: The AFL contends that in fact they offered and indeed have been providing the girl counselling,, privately, for months, and are supposedly willing to continue to do so (although perhaps that’s changed subsequently.)

    Personally, I feel extremely sympathetic toward the girl – I think even if it turns out there is no issue of mental illness or other such cloud on her capacity for fully rational judgement, her age alone is sufficient for her to lack full understanding of the consequences of her actions. And there’s no doubt she will be the target of a lot of ugly public sentiment by AFL fans now.

    Nonetheless, her actions have had consequences, and there’s clearly at least some element of malice in her motive. I’m sure the university students in America who publically broadcast their secretly gay roommate having sex were mainly just young and stupid, and I doubt it even occured to them he might end up committing suicide as a result. Nonetheless, he’s dead, and you’d have to be sympathetic if his parent’s want to sue them to set an example.

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