The press release

A press release was posted on Your NZ yesterday and was also emailed to me as a PDF. Here is most of it:

Press release of [name withheld]  4 November 2015 concerning the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015

The date is obviously incorrect.

First Interim Injunction against unmoderated mainstream “bully boy blog” Your NZ.

Your NZ was not and never has been ‘unmoderated’.

The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 [HDCA], the brain child of ex Justice Minister Judith Collins, had its first test in a District Court application today with the Court granting [name witheld] application for an interim injunction [CIV-2015-004-001653] against previous Dunedin Mayoral candidate Peter Donald George, aged 60, of 9 Babsie Road, Ravensbourne, of unknown occupation.

Name incorrect, age incorrect.

Peter Georges behaviour, in abusing people, and inciting other people to come on to his blog to abuse people, and to lie, and fabricate the most serious criminal allegations against innocent persons that he nor his fellow bloggers have ever met, needed to be brought under control by the processes of justice” said [name witheld].

Suffice to say I strongly dispute this. And it is chilling that “the processes of justice” be used in this way to try and enforce the anonymity and impunity for those taking this action.

The Courts interim ruling by District Court Judge Gary Harrison takes immediate effect as against Mr George and his blog site “Your NZ”. It provides that Mr George is restrained from mentioning the names of [name withheld], his employer, or any of the employers associated companies, on his blog “Your NZ”, and that Mr George is restrained from directly or indirectly communicating with [name withheld], or any employees of [name withheld] employer, or any of the companies associated with [name withheld] employer. The second part of the ruling is that Mr George has to, with immediate effect, remove all direct and indirect references to [name withheld], his employer, and any of the employers associated companies. The third and final ruling is that Mr George has to, with immediate effect, introduce a full time moderator system so that no comment that is harmful to those protected by the Courts orders, is “placed on the Blog “Your NZ”.

That replicates the court order.

I felt that the Court understood that Mr Georges articles were fiction, fabrication, and falsehood, designed to grab readership, and incite malice, in order to harm persons inclusive of myself, and those associated with me. I took particular umbrage at an attempt by [redacted seriously false accusation], and I felt that Mr George needed to be reeled in” said [name withheld].

I’m confident that the Court does not yet understand the full truth and nothing but the truth.

[Name withheld] intends to prosecute Mr George under s22 of the HDCA seeking that Mr George receives the maximum penalty for his actions. The maximum penalty for causing harm to a person is a $50,000 fine, or imprisonment for a maximum term of 2 years. Mr [Name withheld] believes his application and orders were the first under the new Act.

That could be because the framework of the new Act is not fully in place yet. As I understand it no one else has used it yet because it can’t be used.

In keeping with the new age of communication, and the content of the order, [Name withheld] intends serving Mr George by posting the order on Mr Georges website, which will be, for the last time in its history, as of today unmoderated.

So he posted his name here numerous times while demanding I don’t allow anyone to post his name.

Numerous friends and associates that were reading the hateful and hurtful
fabrications of Mr George have agreed to stump funds to assist me bring Mr George to justice, and that I feel that serving the Courts orders online by posting them on his blog, in his comments section, is somehow appropriate in the circumstances. said [Name withheld].

Should Mr George not immediately obey the Courts orders, [Name withheld] will apply to the Court to have Mr George imprisoned for contempt, and prosecuted for noncompliance which could see Mr George, if he were convicted, serve a maximum term of imprisonment of 6 months. [Name withheld] is unsure whether Mr George could operate his blog from a prison cell.

Heavy threats are par for the course.

“Mr George has attacked the likes of Cameron Slater and other bloggers for years, when in fact it has been his behaviour that has been, by far, the worst.”

I wonder whether they believe their own bull. I think sometimes they actually do think they are the victims and the world is against them.

“The  statutorily enforced moderation of blog site comments should be made law in an immediate amendment to the HDCA, with the addition that the website owner is liable for any comments that are posted after moderation. If these additions were to become law, the significant expense to date will have been worth it” said [Name withheld].

I’m not sure how much support they will get for trying to clamp down on freedom to speak.

I wonder how Facebook and Twitter would get on?

[Name withheld] is not available for comment.

The usual spray and hide.

Leave a comment

45 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  5th December 2015

    Welcome to the real political world you like to play in. Sucks n’est pas?

    Reply
    • This isn’t politics. It’s an abuse of the justice system and online freedom of speech.

      The politicians just get to look silly because their new Act has been made a mockery of.

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  5th December 2015

        Age wrong, name wrong….was anything else wrong ? They seem to be talking about a completely different person…

        I may be dim, but if it’s a press release, why can’t the person be named ?

        They are trying to sound high-minded and lofty, but they just sound peevish and petulant.

        Reply
        • jpwood

           /  6th December 2015

          Wrong registry of the Court – the proceeding should have been filed in the Court registry closest to the residence of the defendant (rule 5.1)

          Reply
  2. pickled possum formely WhyBother

     /  5th December 2015

    Morning Pete so it starts the down hill spiral of digital freedom in NZ
    You are one of the very best site owners and a great headline deconstructing investigative writer and have always been to my knowledge a very fair Southland man,
    tho I have never met, phoned or emailed you 🙂
    Kia kaha

    Reply
  3. Whoever wrote this isn’t familiar with the process, and is attempting to illegitimately capture and link the HDCA legislation. The statutory body that hears these types of complaints under the HDCA won’t be set up until 2017. You’ve been hit with an standard interim injunction, pending a Hearing – that’s it. This application has nothing to do with the HDCA -any journalist with a modicum of knowledge about the HDCA will see right though this “puff release”

    Reply
    • Not sure if it’s bluff and bluster or ignorance. Possibly both.

      Reply
    • Ben Rachinger

       /  5th December 2015

      Correct. I find a few things quite interesting:

      1. Why use a piece of legislation that hasn’t come into force yet in a “press release” on the topic? Is it a strawman to get people talking about the effects of the HDCA? Who would gain from that angle? Using the court system to stifle speech about a person is all well and good but it does nothing for ones argument to be fundamentally flawed. Which leads me to the next interesting thing…

      2. It’s been very much obvious that people have been commenting here under false pretences or in an effort to frame the conversation the way they want. I guess to the casual observer it’s all very tiresome. I’ll confirm I am facing no legal battles nor have I ever been served with defamation papers or the like. Which means that *some people*, after carefully controlling the allowed commenting on their own sites, seek to stifle speech on other people’s blogs by use of restraining orders. Now, in a perfect world the system would be used to protect victims of egregious harrasment from ongoing harrasment I.e. Blomfields successful injunction against WhaleOil.

      3. The applicant for the order is a minor person. Their history and geographical proximity to matters of interest really means nought in the greater scheme of things and particularly to YourNZs continued operation. It does bog Mr George down in tedious and vexatious litigation but with the support of people who don’t take kindly to bullying, this issue is surmountable.

      4. I CANNOT wait until sunlight hits everyone. Besides the legal angles of silencing opponents or blog site operators, there are a wide array of tactics on display being used against the ‘conversation’. The use of sock trees (socks agreeing with each other, up vote/down vote brigading, socks used to make OTT remarks for malicious purposes etc) is a notable one. There aren’t many angles of attack for anyone looking to shut down a blog site with this structure. Mr George doesn’t appear to ask for site upkeep costs or to monetise the site. So there’s no direct financial attack vector except litigation. Which leads me to my final point..

      5. Why do these people not use the right of reply they are offered? They offer no right of reply for the things they do and say. They may or may not use sock trees prolifically all over the web but, to my knowledge, they never use right of reply or their own names to make statements that might ‘clear the air’ or ‘restore their honour’. That is a huge warning flag for me as a rule. We try to be as honest and forthright as we can (if we are reasonable people) and this avoidance of sunlight or debate is symptomatic of some people’s entire approach to the way they conduct themselves.

      I’m happy to have my motives questioned, my character attacked and my evidence debated. They’re just words on a screen on the Internet. Better that ALL are allowed to speak than just SOME. Only then will our intellectual evolution be assured of the sunlight it needs to grow.

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  5th December 2015

        “I’m happy to have my motives questioned, my character attacked and my evidence debated. They’re just words on a screen on the Internet. Better that ALL are allowed to speak than just SOME. Only then will our intellectual evolution be assured of the sunlight it needs to grow.”

        Glad to hear it and I’m the same so long as what is said is the truth. The thing about the new law is that truth is no longer a defence.

        Reply
        • Kevin

           /  5th December 2015

          What, two down votes already? Are there idiots here who actually think that the new law not allowing truth as a defence is actually a good thing??? FMS.

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  6th December 2015

            I can think of times when truth might not be a defence-like when someone has been accused of something that they haven’t done. ‘John Smith accused of kiddy-fiddling’….when John Smith has name suppression. It’s true that he’s been accused, but as he has name suppression this ought not to be made public and its being true is not a defence.

            Reply
  4. Check Newstext via the Auckland Library website in about 48 hours – it will list any media organisation that has picked it up – I’m picking:

    1/ You are the only one it has been sent to;

    2/ No other media organisation (if it’s been sent) will give it the time of day.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  6th December 2015

      They may if we’re right !!!

      This could be the own goal of the millenium.

      Reply
  5. Standard “bully boy” scare tactics – nothing more, nothing less, and engaged by the “usual suspects”.

    Mouth and trousers the lot of them.

    Reply
  6. Pete Kane

     /  5th December 2015

    I wonder if Andrew Little is conserving a similar gagging approach in regards to his ‘friend’ Chris Trotter.
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2015/12/stacking-deck.html

    Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  5th December 2015

    Document your costs well, Pete, and claim them when you win the case.

    Reply
    • Alan – can you ask for a Bond to be put by the other party up to cover your costs when beginning a court hearing?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th December 2015

        I’m not a lawyer but I have certainly heard of that being done.

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  5th December 2015

          Really ??? This ought to be more widely known, as I don’t see why someone should go bust when they have done nothing wrong. It’s iniquitous.I have heard of people having to sell their houses and being bankrupted.

          I have heard that in China, false accusations result in the accuser being given the penalty that the accused would have been given had the accusation been genuine and the accused person had done it. I don’t know how many still risk it, but I’d say not many.

          Reply
  8. unitedtribes2

     /  5th December 2015

    “Numerous friends and associates that were reading the hateful and hurtful
    fabrications of Mr George have agreed to stump funds to assist me”
    I noticed that Pete Belt was begging again yesterday. Wonder if this project is the recipient

    Reply
  9. Kevin

     /  5th December 2015

    Having a full time moderation system is probably a *good* thing but would need help from volunteers. WO has help from volunteers and so does The Standard to help with moderation. I’m not able to volunteer myself but I’m sure there are people here who will be willing to put their hand up.

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  5th December 2015

      @Kevin

      I think George is doing a fantastic job 🙂

      And we all know what happened to the Whale when Slater appointed Belt as a Moderator. LOL.

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  5th December 2015

        I don’t know, but I can guess.

        It is bizarre that someone who’s volunteered their own name is demanding that this be removed. We’d better all change our names to to prevent anyone knowing that we’re called kittycatkin, Mike C, Zedd, Alan Wilkinson, Jaspa….oh bugger, I’ve said them.

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  5th December 2015

          There was a longish blank space between to and to, which was meant to indicate our new names. But it was somehow closed up, so that will have fallen flat.

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th December 2015

      No, having a pre-emptive moderation system is a seriously backward step inhibiting lively debate and negating the power of new technology in order to make it operate like old technology. The courts must not be allowed to degrade human progress in that way.

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  5th December 2015

        This is the relevant section for the act:

        Liability of online content host for content posted by user
        (1)
        Section 24 provides protection for an online content host in respect of any specific content of a digital communication posted by a person and hosted by the online content host if the host follows the process in that section.
        (2)
        The fact that an online content host does not take advantage of section 24 does not of itself create any civil or criminal liability for hosting the specific content.
        (3)
        Section 24 does not affect any rights or defences otherwise available to the online content host in respect of the hosting of the specific content (for example, the removal of content or the creation, exercise, or taking advantage of any contractual indemnity or immunity or any other term of use).
        (4)
        This section is subject to section 25(5).
        24 Process for obtaining protection against liability for specific content
        (1)
        No civil or criminal proceedings may be brought against an online content host in respect of the content complained of (the specific content) if the online content host—
        (a)
        receives a notice of complaint about the specific content; and
        (b)
        complies with subsection (2).
        (2)
        The requirements of this subsection are that—
        Host to notify author of complaint
        (a)
        the online content host must, as soon as practicable but no later than 48 hours after receiving a notice of complaint,—
        (i)
        provide the author of the specific content with a copy of the notice of complaint, altered to conceal personal information that identifies the complainant if the host has received confirmation that the complainant does not consent to the host providing that information to the author; and
        (ii)
        notify the author that the author may submit a counter-notice to the host within 48 hours after receiving that notification:
        (b)
        if the host is unable to contact the author (for example, because the identity of the author is unknown) after taking reasonable steps to do so, the host must take down or disable the specific content as soon as practicable after taking those steps but no later than 48 hours after receiving a notice of complaint:
        Author’s counter-notice consenting to removal of content
        (c)
        if the author submits a valid counter-notice no later than 48 hours after receiving the host’s notification under paragraph (a) in which the author consents to the removal of the specific content, the host must take down or disable the specific content as soon as practicable after receiving that counter-notice:
        Author’s counter-notice refusing consent to removal of content
        (d)
        if the author submits a valid counter-notice no later than 48 hours after receiving the host’s notification under paragraph (a) in which the author refuses to consent to the removal of the specific content, the host must leave the specific content in place and, as soon as practicable after receiving that counter-notice,—
        (i)
        notify the complainant of the author’s decision; and
        (ii)
        if the author consents, provide the complainant with personal information that identifies the author:
        Author failing to submit valid counter-notice
        (e)
        if the author does not submit a valid counter-notice in accordance with this subsection (whether by failing to submit a counter-notice or by submitting an invalid counter-notice), the host must take down or disable the specific content as soon as practicable but no later than 48 hours after notifying the author under paragraph (a).
        (3)
        A notice of complaint must—
        (a)
        state the complainant’s name and a telephone number, a physical address, and an email address for the complainant; and
        (b)
        state the specific content, and explain why the complainant considers that the specific content—
        (i)
        is unlawful; or
        (ii)
        breaches 1 or more communication principles and has caused harm; and
        (c)
        sufficiently enable the specific content to be readily located; and
        (d)
        state whether the complainant consents to personal information that identifies the complainant being released to the author; and
        (e)
        contain any other information that the complainant considers relevant.
        (4)
        A counter-notice must state—
        (a)
        the author’s name and a telephone phone number, a physical address, and an email address for the author; and
        (b)
        whether the author consents to personal information that identifies the author being released to the complainant; and
        (c)
        whether the author consents to the removal of the specific content.
        (5)
        An online content host must not disclose any personal information about the complainant or author under privacy principle 11(e)(iv) in section 6 of the Privacy Act 1993, except by order of a District Court Judge or a High Court Judge made on an application under this subsection.
        (6)
        Nothing in subsection (5) affects the application of any other provision in the Privacy Act 1993.
        (7)
        This section is subject to section 25(5).

        In short, if someone makes a complaint the blog has 48 hours to remove the post unless the author of the post says he wants the post to remain up. So a moderation system where posts are put up immediately but only taken down when a complaint is received would still comply with the Act, in my opinion.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  5th December 2015

          Again at first glance, it appears that the Court Order requiring full time moderator is also ultra vires as it is not permitted in the explicit list of orders provided by Section 19 of the Act:

          19 Orders that may be made by court
          (1) The District Court may, on an application, make 1 or more of the following orders against a defendant:
          (a) an order to take down or disable material:
          (b) an order that the defendant cease or refrain from the conduct concerned:
          (c) an order that the defendant not encourage any other persons to engage in similar communications towards the affected individual:
          (d) an order that a correction be published:
          (e) an order that a right of reply be given to the affected individual:
          (f) an order that an apology be published.

          (2) The District Court may, on an application, make 1 or more of the following orders against an online content host:
          (a) an order to take down or disable public access to material that has been posted or sent:
          (b) an order that the identity of the author of an anonymous or pseudonymous communication be released to the court:
          (c) an order that a correction be published in any manner that the court specifies in the order:
          (d) an order that a right of reply be given to the affected individual in any manner that the court specifies in the order.

          (3) The District Court may, on application, make an order against an IPAP that the identity of an anonymous communicator be released to the court.

          (4) The court may also do 1 or more of the following:
          (a) make a direction applying an order provided for in subsection (1) or (2) to other persons specified in the direction, if there is evidence that those others have been encouraged to engage in harmful digital communications towards the affected individual:
          (b) make a declaration that a communication breaches a communication principle:
          (c) order that the names of any specified parties be suppressed.

          Reply
          • Kevin

             /  5th December 2015

            I don’t see in the Act where it requires a full time moderation system either. The closest is s23-24, but that’s more a reporting / complaint-handling system than anything else.

            Reply
            • kittycatkin

               /  5th December 2015

              I would fully agree with false statements and threats being removed, but not things with which one happens to disagree. ‘I think that the Holocaust was a Hollywood fraud’ is quite different to ‘I believe that he Holocaust was justified.’ (bizarre as it is that anyone would think this, but we know that they do)

      • kittycatkin

         /  6th December 2015

        And it’s a goal ! An own goal to…….!

        Reply
  10. Zedd

     /  5th December 2015

    Typical legal ‘mumbo-jumbo’ designed more to confuse.. rather than clarify things !

    *A bit like the UN conventions on Narcotic Drugs.. appears full of contradictions to just confuse the issues 😦

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  6th December 2015

      We’re not talking about that; we’re talking about what’s at the top of the page. I seriously doubt if any legal documents are deliberately written as you suggest they are.They’d be challenged and found to be null and void.

      Reply
  11. Missy

     /  5th December 2015

    I was thinking about the date in the Press Release. There are two possibilities for it being incorrect in my opinion, and without seeing the original document (not the PDF, but rather the word or equivalent) to see the creation date of the document it is hard to know if my theory holds any water. My two possibilities are:

    1. The person who wrote it is an idiot and put the wrong date on it

    2. The persona who wrote it did so on 4 November, and they have been holding onto it until they could get the injunction and release it – which means if the persons who wrote/released it, or anyone connected to the persons who wrote/released it have commented anonymously on this site since 4 November it shows a form of premeditation, and intent, to ensure that this injunction could be granted – or some form of evidence fabrication maybe?

    Just a theory – I hope this comment doesn’t breach any legal orders PG – it is possible I have been watching too many cop programmes lately! 🙂

    Reply
    • I have another theory. The application tio the court was on 27 November. They may have written the press release then but it wasn’t until 4 December that it was sealed. My guess is they changed the day but forgot to change the month. A bit careless but not hard to do.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th December 2015

        The creation date on the pdf was 5pm Friday. But that may have been when it was output from the editor program.

        Reply
        • Mike C

           /  5th December 2015

          @AlanW

          How convenient that the creation time of the pdf was at 5pm on Friday … which … if I am not mistaken is the exact same time that the New Zealand Courts lock their doors and shut down their phone service 🙂

          Must be a co-incidence.

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  5th December 2015

            How could it not be coincidental ?

            I would have to say that someone has probably written November for December, which anyone could do, but it doesn’t look good in something like this. In an email to a friend, yes. But not a press release which should be proofread several times. It makes it look sloppy. It’s a press release; has anyone bothered to print it ?

            Reply
  12. Goldie

     /  6th December 2015

    “Mr George has to, with immediate effect, introduce a full time moderator system so that no comment that is harmful to those protected by the Courts orders, is “placed on the Blog “Your NZ”.”

    Freedom of expression
    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

    I don’t think Pete has much to worry about.
    I hope Pete is keeping all his receipts so he can claim costs.

    Reply
  1. The ‘press release’ and court imposed moderation | Your NZ

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