Craig v Slater – closing submissions

Cameron Slater’s lawyer gave his closing submission today in his defamation trial against Colin Craig, and Craig started his (he will complete it tomorrow).

Stuff: Closing submissions heard in Colin Craig defamation trial

In his closing submission on Wednesday afternoon, Slater’s lawyer Brian Henry again questioned the credibility of evidence presented by Craig.

Screenshots purporting to be taken from an old phone of Craig’s mostly showed texts MacGregor sent, but many of Craig’s texts were missing, Henry said.

Henry said Craig had tried to discredit his former press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, after she alleged he sexually harassed her.

He reminded the court Craig had written to his lawyer in June 2015 saying that “he was going to deliberately destroy [MacGregor’s] reputation by alleging a failed attempt at blackmail”.

“She’s not dealing with a plaintiff who to her, has turned out to be a very nice person.”

In Craig’s closing submission…

…he again denied sexually harassing MacGregor, and said allegations posted on Whaleoil were false and part of a campaign to oust him as Conservative Party leader.

Contrary to Slater’s articles, Craig did not have a “second victim,” was not a “sexual deviant” and hadn’t paid MacGregor “a large sum of hush money, being six figures”, he said.

He also denied sending MacGregor letters begging for an affair or putting financial pressure on her to sleep with him.

“These publications are highly defamatory. They all to a greater or lesser extent would lower how a normal person in society would see me,” Craig said.

Slater was counter suing Craig for defamation following comments made in a booklet Craig distributed to more than a million New Zealand households.

But Craig said the booklet was published “in response to the sustained attack”.

1 News: Closing arguments heard in Colin Craig v Cameron Slater defamation case

Representing himself, Mr Craig said during his closing argument today that the heart of the trial rested on who Justice Toogood believed was telling the truth.

He said Slater in 2015 recklessly published a series of demonstrably false allegations, including that Mr Craig sexually harassed Ms MacGregor, put pressure on her financially to sleep with him and paid her a large, six-figure sum of hush money.

He said these allegations contributed to the “media firestorm” that engulfed him after he stood down as leader of the Conservative Party in 2015 and ruined any chance he had of reviving his political career.

However, Slater’s lawyer Brian Henry…

…said it was Mr Craig’s own actions that were responsible for the damage to his reputation, not Slater’s blogs.

He said Mr Craig had not only behaved “inappropriately” with Ms MacGregor, but then lied about it and attempted to cover it up.

He also said Whaleoil was just a small publication compared to New Zealand’s mainstream media outlets and that Slater had simply republished many of the allegations made by these larger outlets.

But despite a lot of criticism of the mainstream media Slater had in the past used it to promote his stories. He now complains a lot about the media ignoring him.

Despite this, Mr Craig had chosen to sue the smaller and less-resourced Slater rather than the outlets that drove most of the media publicity, Mr Henry said.

The judge will have to decide who drove what, and perhaps work out who was the least bad.

Justice Kit Toogood may begin considering his judgment in the case as early as tomorrow, having heard closing arguments from both parties in Auckland today.

Stuff said Craig will finish his closing submission tomorrow.

It will probably take a few weeks at least for the judgment.

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  1. Sally

     /  May 31, 2017

    A few weeks! You have to be joking. Toogood is notoriously slow as it is let alone getting his head around this mess.

  2. Bill Brown

     /  June 1, 2017

    The worst thing for Craig to come out is the vindictive way he said he would deal to McGregor

    The other bits are old news, but I still can’t fathom why Craig would want it out there again as it had somewhat died it’s natural death

    • Yes, Craig went into this looking bad and now looks worse.

      I don’t think Slater has enhanced his reputation either.

      • Bill Brown

         /  June 1, 2017

        I doubt Slater cares – he is what he is, and I think he’s happy there. Frankly good him.

        But yes, Craig is a very sad individual indeed.

      • PDB

         /  June 1, 2017

        That is the big joke really – both these guys have zero reputation hence how could there be any defamation? Award each of them $0 in damages and be done with it.

        • MaureenW

           /  June 1, 2017

          Comment of the day PDB

        • Bill Brown

           /  June 1, 2017

          PDB – I’ve said before that I think it will be costs where they lay……

          BUT Craig will have some answering to do on the 1.6m flyers

          Wonder why he did not sue the NZ Herald as well hmmmmm