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Jarryd Hayne supporter to get $38,000 over spitting story

A supporter who spat towards Jarryd Hayne's rape victim will be awarded nominal defamation damages with a judge finding he engaged in "generally disgraceful behaviour" after the former league star was sentenced.
Mina Greiss was among a group attending Newcastle Courthouse in May 2021 when Hayne was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison after being found guilty of two charges of sexual assault without consent.
Hayne's victim left the court surrounded by sheriffs and prosecution lawyers with the group making their way past waiting journalists as well as Greiss and his friends.
Jarryd Hayne walking out of Downing Centre Courts after a guilty verdict. Mina Greiss is not pictured. (Edwina Pickles)
Seven Network journalist Leonie Ryan snapped a photo of Greiss and posted it to her Twitter feed, accusing him of "staring the victim down" and spitting in the woman's direction.
Greiss denied he spat at 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 Justice Anna Katzmann found Seven had falsely reported Greiss had "stared down" the woman and had spat at her.
Instead the judge found he had spat in a garden bed in the victim's direction and stared at her as she walked past.
Seven succeeded in running a contextual truth defence for its news article and Ryan's tweet however, with the judge finding the publication contained true statements that Greiss had engaged in other disgraceful behaviour outside the courthouse.
Greiss stared at the victim, spat in her direction and urged waiting journalists to describe her as an "escort" in their articles, Justice Katzmann said.
"Ordinary decent people would regard any expression of contempt for a sexual assault victim as disgraceful, particularly when, as in the case of the first matter, they were informed that the sexual assault was 'brutal'," she wrote.
The defamatory statements he spat at the victim did no further harm to his reputation, the judge found.
Seven failed in a defence its news article or Facebook post were merely honest opinions.
However, it succeeded in showing Ryan's tweet was her own opinion.
With Greiss only able to show that the network's Facebook post was defamatory, Justice Katzmann awarded him "nominal damages".
The Hayne fan had showed "overt hostility" towards the rape victim as she left the courthouse and had engaged in "generally disgraceful behaviour" in front of journalists and television cameras on a public street, she wrote.
She awarded $35,000 in damages plus interest for 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 town for a bucks' weekend and paid a taxi driver $550 to wait outside the house, which the woman shared with her mother, before he was driven to Sydney.
His first trial was abandoned in 2020 due to a hung jury before he was convicted in May 2021 in Newcastle.
This conviction was overturned on appeal and the matter went back for a third trial in 2023 where the ex-footballer was convicted once again.
In May, Hayne was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail with a non-parole period of three years.
He has since appealed this decision again, however a hearing has yet to be scheduled.

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