Storm coach and ex-boss reach settlement - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm coach and ex-boss reach settlement

18/10/2010 06:09:42 PM Comments (0)

Members of the NRL judiciary have accepted a six-figure financial settlement from Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and former chief executive Brian Waldron, ending defamation proceedings stemming from a post-match press conference before the 2008 grand final.

Under the settlement which will form a judgment in the NSW Supreme Court, the pair will pay a combined total of $105,000 to judiciary chairman, Judge Greg Woods, and panel members Royce Ayliffe and Darrell Williams.

Bellamy and Waldron will also meet all legal costs incurred by the parties, estimated to be a further six-figure sum.

The judiciary panel members initiated defamation proceedings following the club's preliminary final win in 2008, which concluded with Bellamy and Waldron attacking the judiciary.

The NRL fined the Storm club a record $50,000 over the comments.

"The conclusion of these proceedings vindicates the reputations of the judiciary panel members, who have always said that the disciplinary procedures of the NRL are independent, fair and properly conducted," Judge Woods said in a statement on Monday.

"The payment of damages and the payment of all the legal costs makes it clear that Mr Bellamy and Mr Waldron accept that the reference to bookmakers in relation to the NRL judiciary case heard on 24 September 2008 had no basis, and should never have been made.

"The plaintiffs note that the defendants have made an apology, withdrawing any reflection on the judiciary's integrity, and in particular recognising that there was no basis for the suggestion that the outcome of the proceedings against Cameron Smith had somehow been decided beforehand.

"In their apology, Mr Bellamy and Mr Waldron acknowledged they were incorrect in suggesting that betting had any relevance to the Cameron Smith decision, and they particularly apologised for any hurt that suggestion made.

"It is a matter of history that the NRL imposed a fine of $50,000 on the Melbourne Storm club shortly after the offending statements were made at the press conference.

"The judiciary panel members recognise this as having been a necessary step by the NRL to vindicate the integrity of its disciplinary procedures, to which the plaintiffs have each made a substantial contribution over the years.

"We accept the apology by Mr Bellamy and Mr Waldron.

"We point out that it has taken two years for the defendants to make the offer which led to the conclusion of the case. During this time legal costs on both sides have progressively accumulated.

"We assume that, now this matter has been concluded, the suggestions made by the defendants in the press conference of 26 September, 2008 will not be repeated by them."

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