Dirty prosecution, dirty blogging

A case involving a dirty private prosecution and associated dirty blogging has surfaced again.

NZ Herald:  Lawyer waged ‘personal vendetta’ against ex husband and Kristin School head Peter Clague

A lawyer who embarked on an “orchestrated campaign” to destroy her former husband’s professional career, cause him distress and gain advantage in a property dispute could be struck off after being found guilty of misconduct.

Jeanne Denham breached professional standards and “tarnished the reputation of the profession” through an abuse of court process, a just-released Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal decision has found.

The decision sets out the lengths she went to damage her former spouse, then Kristin School principal Peter Clague. It reveals private emails and texts detailing a secret media strategy against him labelled akin to “waging a personal vendetta”.

The decision is now under appeal, with Denham’s lawyer Warren Pyke warning that the events were highly personal and emotional, involving “flawed human beings” going through an intimate relationship breakup.

Denham took a private prosecution against Clague after police declined to lay charges over an alleged assault at the couple’s Greenhithe home in 2010.

The case was eventually thrown out by a judge as an abuse of process designed to inflict maximum damage on Clague and Kristin School, and to help Denham gain the upper hand in a property claim against Clague.

She was ordered to pay nearly $146,000 in costs, which remains outstanding after Denham declared herself bankrupt.

It’s not uncommon for marital disputes to turn nasty but the lengths gone to here are extraordinary, including abusing legal processes through a private prosecution – using the court as a weapon in a dispute.

And a blog was also used as a weapon.

Nicky Hager claimed in ‘Dirty Politics’ that Whale Oil was used as a paid for attack blog, and that is what happened in this case.

Evidence included a trove of emails and text messages between Denham and PR merchant Carrick Graham, who helped organise damaging, paid posts about Clague and Kristin School on the Whale Oil attack blog.

In an email exchange in November 2012, Graham wrote that the campaign had already generated media coverage, forcing the school board to issue two letters to parents.

“It would be safe to say that Clague has had the blow-torch applied to him in terms of a much wider audience being aware of his actions. In terms of reputational hits he is damaged goods.”

In another exchange after a Whale Oil post alleging Kristin board members had known about the allegations and done nothing, Denham wrote that “Cameron’s blog is starting to generate interest in the Kristin community. It’ll spread like wildfire now!”

This was back in the days when Whale Oil had some clout.

Throwing out Denham’s case, Judge David McNaughton ruled: “I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that this private prosecution has been brought for an ulterior motive by the complainant, that is primarily to destroy [Clague’s] career and reputation and collaterally to damage Kristin School and at the same time to obtain an advantage in pressing the relationship claim.

“Furthermore … she knowingly and actively sought to subvert the operation of suppression orders with the assistance of Mr Graham and Cameron Slater and that in itself constitutes a serious abuse of process.”

Slater has never addressed the allegations made by and detailed by Hager, but this is evidence of paid for dirty blogging.

It’s not the only example that has made it into the courts. The high profile multiple defamation cases involving Colin Craig and Whale Oil and Slater may or may not have involved money, but it looked like a political and personal hit job.

Another case that has slowly made it’s way though the courts is another defamation case alleging possibly paid for attack posts run on Whale Oil against businessman Matthew Blomfield.

This is the latest ruling in the High Court but the defamation case will be largely through the District Court (not available online).

When as a part of that legal process Slater made a legal commitment not to attack Blomfield it spilled over here in 2015, with an associate of Slater using multiple pseudonyms to attack Blomfield at Your NZ. This appeared to breach Slater’s gag order.

Slater was also involved with the attempt by Marc Spring to gag Your NZ through a court order in 2015. This appeared to be a mix of malice and retaliation.

This threatened to shut down this site and imprison me. This farce was thrown out when the judge was advised he had been duped by legal incompetents. Their claims were fabricated, they didn’t follow defined procedures, and the law they used (the Harmful Digital Communications Act) didn’t come into affect for another year.

This isn’t the only time Slater has been involved in abuse of court processes against me, and there have been threats of more recently.

There is another defamation case against Slater, and also involving Carrick Graham and the use of Whale Oil as an attack blog, that is presumably still in progress – see Blogger Cameron Slater faces defamation action from health researchers.

Three top health professionals have lodged a defamation claim against blogger Cameron Slater and PR consultant Carrick Graham alleging a long running campaign against them on the Whale Oil website.

Auckland University professor Boyd Swinburn, Otago professor Doug Sellman and the director of Maori agency Shane Bradbrook said they had filed proceedings in the High Court at Auckland on Monday.

The trio said in a statement their proceedings related to blog posts and comments published on the Whale Oil website over a number of years.

As well as defamation claimed against Slater and Graham, defendants include FACILITATE COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED, KATHERINE RICH and NEW ZEALAND FOOD & GROCERY COUNCIL INCORPORATED – see JUDGMENT OF PALMER J.

So the ‘personal vendetta’ in a marital dispute that involved Slater and Graham and Whale Oil is just one example of a history of dirty blogging.

Whale Oil is far less prominent now, and the media don’t spread their campaigns any more, but posts under the authorship of ‘Cameron Slater’ will now continue to be under some suspicion of being a part of personal vendettas and/or paid for attacks.

See also this insight from 2015 into some of the Carrick/Slater mentality and Modus Operandi: Carrick Graham: Without Apologies

Previous Post

12 Comments

  1. This horrified me. What a disgusting way to conduct yourself. I only hope she never gets to act in a legal capacity again and that any man or woman considering bedding her thinks twice. This is one hell of a viper.

  2. Tipene

     /  August 9, 2017

    Clague wasn’t all sunshine and roses either.

    The dispute arose because [Cautinary deletion. PG]

    Getting into bed with Graham and Slater wasn’t smart of Denham though – they would have taken advantage of Denhams clear vulnerability, just as Slater and that Luigi scumbag did with Bevan Chuang with the Len Brown scandal – Slater gave up Chuang’s address to the media, when Chuang had specifically asked Slater et al NOT to disclose her whereabouts when she went into hiding.

    Denhams private prosecution against Clague was dismissed, [Cautionary deletion. Allegations that may put this site at risk. PG]

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/277901/charges-against-top-principal-dropped

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  August 9, 2017

      There’s plenty to dispute in the claims you put forward as fact.

      Police extensively investigated Denham’s claims of abuse and found no reason to proceed with prosecution.

      Denham’s so-called “broken back” was a cracked tailbone that she sustained during a he-said/she-said altercation.

      The dismissal of Denham’s private prosecution simply affirms that her lies failed to persuade the judge. It doesn’t meet any reasonable sniff test for affirming that DV is ok.

  3. Tipene

     /  August 9, 2017

    Which one of us has spoken directly with Denham, Joe?

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  August 9, 2017

    Does look like Carrick Graham would recognize a moral compass unlike his uncle Kennedy Graham.

    • Gezza

       /  August 9, 2017

      Am I reading that right or should the first word be doesn’t?

      • Patzcuaro

         /  August 9, 2017

        Yes poor editing apologies to Kennedy for any offence caused.

    • Blazer

       /  August 9, 2017

      Convicted felons son isn’t he?

  5. lurcher1948

     /  August 9, 2017

    Proudly banned from Whale oil….like most posters

  6. lurcher1948

     /  August 9, 2017

    I love Cameron S as a subject he threatened me and my wife once, he is easily wound up, sad really.