“Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

“Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem (in other words, the leading mind of that blog) or he is so intimately related to it that it is proper to conclude that he provided information and draft articles to that blog site knowing and intending that they would be published.”

“He makes the concession…that he has never denied that he has supplied information to the website…”

Following a jury trial in the District Court in Auckland in April and May 2018  Dermot Nottingham was convicted of two breaches of non-publication orders, and five charges of criminal harassment. He was sentenced to a term of a maximum one year home detention. See NZH Blogger dodges prison over court suppression breaches, harassment campaigns

The offending largely involved a website laudafinem.com that has a notorious reputation for posting many breaches of suppression as well as numerous attacks on many people, including judges, lawyers, police officers, pooliticians, journalists, business people (and businesses), and individuals – including me and two individuals who participated here.

I think that there is public interest in Nottingham’s connection with laudafinem.com be made known, as many people have been subjected to attacks and defamation.

Open justice is an important part of our country.

From a court document that is a public document (not yet available online):

[13] The detective sergeant’s efforts to establish links between Mr Nottingham and the Lauda Finem website led to an expansion of the investigation once he discovered a number of Lauda Finem articles which indicated several campaigns of harassment against individuals identified in those articles.

Conduct included:

  • Repetitively publishing articles on Lauda Finem containing fictitious, offensive and defamatory material.
  • Repetitively publishing articles on Lauda Finem about associates and family members containing fictitious, offensive and defamatory material about those persons.
  • Obtaining private photographs of the complainants and family and publishing those on Lauda Finem.
  • Photographing or causing to be photographed for publication on Lauda Finem.
  • Recording communications for publication on Lauda Finem m conjunction with offensive and defamatory material.

[18] It was clear to me that, for some of the complainants, life over an extended period of time had been made very uncomfortable and distressing, in some cases affecting the daily lives of some complainants whose reputations in their community had been so badly maligned as to cause them to withdraw within themselves.

[22] Now, I make some findings of fact. Consistent with the verdicts of the jury I have concluded that between 2010 and 2015 Dermot Nottingham published or had published numerous articles on the blog site laudafinem.com. Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem (in other words, the leading mind of that blog) or he is so intimately related to it that it is proper to conclude that he provided information and draft articles to that blog site knowing and intending that they would be published.

[23] During that five year period the defendant undertook numerous campaigns of harassment against a number of individuals, the most egregious and persistent of which were represented by the five complainants in the trial. I concluded that his conduct by publishing said articles, through other intimidating and harassing conduct – including threatening, watching, photographing, following – was either carried out directly by Dermot Nottingham or at his direction and that he knew his conduct was likely to cause the individuals to fear for their safety or the safety of family members.

[24] It was plain to me from the evidence that a number of these courses of conduct started with Mr Nottingham crossing the path of the individual complainant, either in his own capacity or on behalf of another individual, acting as their advocate. Initially, it is possible in some instances that Mr Nottingham reasonably believed he had legitimate concerns or complaints. However, rather than pursuing those complaints by lawful and reasonable means, he adopted a combative approach, I have to say reminiscent of his approach generally to the authorities and even to this Court, where he sought to achieve his goals or obtain justice by resorting to personal attack. Mr Nottingham seems to believe that, when it comes to informal media through blog sites and social media, “anything goes”.

[25] It is important to recognise and note at this stage that mainstream media are subject to codes of conduct which avoid the type of abusive and threatening articles being published in mainstream media, but bloggers and other persons who carry out their personal attacks through the medium of the Internet seem to feel that they are not bound by similar moral codes of conduct. Mr Nottingham seeks to justify and make
lawful his conduct towards others by reference to the conduct of other bloggers who habitually take an aggressive and attacking approach in purporting to uncover corruption and injustice. Further, Dermot Nottingham seeks to argue that the prosecution of him discloses bias and unfairness on the part of the police, the Crown and the Court, because others are doing similar things and getting away with it.

[26] I proceed on the basis that two wrongs do not make a right. Individuals can never escape the consequences of their unlawful conduct simply by pointing to someone else who is similarly acting unlawfully. It must also be said in the context of the evidence in this case that the degree of attack, abuse, harassment and its relentless nature appears to be far worse in Dermot Nottingham’s case than in the examples he relies upon to claim unfair and biased treatment.

[28] …The Crown submits that the key purpose of sentencing in this case should be to hold the offender accountable for the harm done to the victims, to denounce his conduct and to deter him and others from offending in a similar manner. I accept that those purposes apply in this case.

[29] The Crown further proposes that there are a number of aggravating features to the criminal harassment charges, namely the extent of the harm. The allegations against the complainants included that that they were alcoholics, used drugs, were promiscuous or were corrupt professionals and public officials. The Crown characterised the language used by Mr Nottingham as malicious, misogynistic and entirely abhorrent. Without the need for me to repeat any of those specific offensive allegations, I concur with the summary of Mr Nottingham’s conduct. I also accept that those aggravating features are present.

[31] The third aggravating feature as proposed by the Crown is that the offender, Dermot Nottingham, clearly researched his targets extensively and published intimate and personal details, including making reference to friends and family, photographs of homes and cars and their licence plates. The level of research and preparation for a number of these articles demonstrates, the Crown says, a high degree of premeditation.

[32] Finally, the Crown submits that another aggravating feature, being the number and seriousness of the offences, is present, relating not only to the number of complainants, but also the persistence and time over which that harassment was carried out or continued. I accept that all three of those aggravating features are present in this case and to a high degree.

[38] I turn now to Mr Nottingham’s position, or his submissions on sentencing. In his written submissions, Dermot Nottingham, as I have previously indicated, relies on the proposition that the Lauda Finem website treated the complainant no differently to anyone else it reports on; for instance, like Mr Slater does on his website. He makes the concession at paragraph 32 of his submissions that he has never denied that he has supplied information to the website, although he maintains his denial that he is the leading mind of that website or has any significant control over its operators

[40] On the subject of cumulative sentences, Mr Nottingham simply states that is not appropriate. Further, he submits that imprisonment is not appropriate and he seeks to focus on the behaviours of the complainants, presumably to suggest that his conduct towards them was, at some level, justifiable.

[42] Not only does such a statement reinforce the contempt with which
Mr Nottingham holds the decisions of the Court and the non-publication orders, but establishes beyond doubt that Mr Nottingham harbours no sense of remorse in relation to any of this offending.

[52]  Mr Nottingham does not qualify for any consideration of reduction of sentence for guilty pleas, or indeed for remorse. He has doggedly defended the allegations and required the complainants to give evidence. Although this does not add to the sentence I impose, it highlights why Mr Nottingham is not entitled to any discount for remorse or acceptance.

[53] In his written submissions, Mr Nottingham makes it plain that he disagrees with the findings of the jury and challenges many of the rulings of the Court. As is characteristic of his approach to legal proceedings, I anticipate that Mr Nottingham will pursue all avenues of review and appeal and is unlikely ever to accept that what he did was not only unlawful, but reprehensible.

[59] Mr Nottingham, the message to you and to others by way of deterrence is that “anything goes” is wrong. The right to free speech or freedom of expression is not a paramount right. It must be balanced against the competing rights of others in the community to be free from harassment, to be protected from harm by others who malign, abuse, threaten and undermine their peace and safety. Your activities were not harmless. Nor were they justified by your sense of injustice or unfairness. They were destructive of good order and good human relations. They were misconceived and wholly disproportionate to the harm or injustice that you believed you and others had suffered.

Given his extensive record Nottingham is likely to appeal everything he can. The Crown may also appeal the sentence – they sought a substantial prison sentence.

There are also some important lessons for bloggers in the judge’s comments.

“He makes the concession…that he has never denied that he has supplied information to the website…”

I dispute that, but that’s for another story.

I will note however that on the Lauda Finem website it was often denied that ‘Team LF’ included people in New Zealand, even though it was obvious they used a large amount of New Zealand sourced material, their posts were almost exclusively New Zealand subjects, and their campaigns had things in common with campaigns on other websites.

Nottingham has not been acting alone in all of this (the court suggested a prominent role), but associates are for another story.

The laudafinem.com website started up in July 2010, and was shut down by a New Zealand court order in late 2016. Another site was set up but ceased activity in March 2017.


NOTE: This case was subject to suppression (non-publication orders) – and the private prosecutions of myself and three others were also bound by this. I have been advised by the court that this suppression lapsed on the sentencing of Nottingham.

However the case involves other cases that are still subject to non-publication orders (suppressed), so details on them must not be published.

Due to on-going suppression orders comments here will be strictly moderated. Do not try to identify anyone who is not named in the quotes from the court document here in any way.

Leave a comment

21 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 14, 2018

    A thoroughly nasty piece of work, Mr Nottingham.

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  September 14, 2018

      Seems like a very decent chap who has been unfairly maligned due to the world being against him. I’m sure a group mediation session with a sing-along and hugs would resolve all these misunderstandings.
      No – on second thoughts, I think you’re spot on there Gezza.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  September 14, 2018

        I guess maybe sometimes it can just start with campaigns of silly little snide personal attacks on innocuous articles by bloggers from odd people with extreme views and a sanctimonious self-righteousness that makes them completely blind to the fact they are basically just harassing their target for reasons of personal dislike.

        Reply
  2. Ray

     /  September 14, 2018

    I feel Dermot should have got prison time and should consider himself lucky he did not.
    Through part of my life I have had to deal with Gangs and some of the unpleasant people society throws up. They know who I am and could easily find out where I live, I refuse to be intimidated by them and apart from a few simple precautions (there are some unpleasant surprises to anyone who breaks into my house) just as aside I do have a special Government card, with a phone number, 111 😂
    So in an exchange with Peter, Dermot acknowledged my comment with a wink, I think he thought I was a fake but the thought of the [no name calling please] hassling me was not a pleasant one.

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 14, 2018

    Mr Nottingham’s character and behaviour made public.

    Reply
  4. FarmerPete

     /  September 14, 2018

    He phoned me out of the blue some time ago seeking information in support of a person whose cause was being heavily promoted on Whaleoil. This person had a known issue with drugs and had restraining orders against him. When I said I couldn’t help he intimated that he would send a very large person to my door. I told him I would have the baseball bat ready. That was the last I heard from him.

    Reply
  5. phantom snowflake

     /  September 14, 2018

    Distantly related; Blomfield vs. Slater appeared on the Auckland High Court list yesterday;
    1st Call – Application by defendant (Slater) for stay and strike out
    https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/going-to-court/calendar/daily-lists/HC_130918.pdf

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  September 14, 2018

      I wonder if he’s rented rooms there?

      Reply
      • phantom snowflake

         /  September 14, 2018

        It’s easy to see similarities between Nottingham and Slater; pugnacious, obnoxious, never admit fault, never back down even to the point of self-sabotage. No shortage of narcissistic traits.

        Reply
    • Actually not so distantly related. When a court order stopped attacks on Blomfield they moved to Lauda Finem, and they also tried attacks here as well until I put a stop to it (it was also breaching a restraining order). That’s part of the reason why they turned on me.

      Nottingham and Marc Spring have featured in court judgments in Bloomfield v Slater – surprise surprise, including making secret recordings and them making ridiculous allegations.

      A hard drive of Blomfield’s with a lot of business and personal data was given to Slater which he used for attack posts, and when the court put a stop to that the data somehow found it’s way to lauda Finem.

      And in Blomfield v Slater, Nottingham has acted as a ‘Mackenzie friend’ for Slater in court hearings.

      There’s more interelationships between the two of them (and others), which I will be covering more on that.

      Reply
      • phantom snowflake

         /  September 14, 2018

        I find it odd that posts which severely slag off Slater weren’t removed from the LF site after Dermot and Cameron became ‘besties’. Still online even now.

        Reply
        • That’s a bunch of people with some very odd relationships.

          Spring was actively involved in LF (tag teaming with them on Twitter and I believe active on their website), was the registrant of laudafinem.co.nz (registered to his employer’s address), and his employer had been slagged off badly on LF years earlier and that was still up.

          Reply
  6. phantom snowflake

     /  September 14, 2018

    A piece of trivia: Lauda Finem is the motto of Nottingham High School in the UK.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  September 14, 2018

      Piexe of trivia, Snowy? Wonder if the poor sods realise that down here in the colonies it’s apparently come to mean a piece of poo?

      Wondering if I should email & enlighten them. Not an easy one. Thoughts?

      Reply
      • phantom snowflake

         /  September 14, 2018

        Thoughts? Blissful ignorance, for those who can attain it is truly a wondrous thing!

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  September 14, 2018

          Indeed: there’s no better kind. Look at the stress created for the man at the helm of the US where his Best Ignorance Of Any President Ever. Period. completely lacks the bliss.

          Reply
  7. [Name edited out]

     /  September 14, 2018

    “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem (in other words, the leading mind of that blog) – It seems bazaar to call Dermot a “leading mind” more like a “bankrupt mind”. If any one thoroughly deserves comeuppance it’s this scoundrel

    [I have edited out the pseudonym and url as a legal precaution. PG]

    Reply
  1. Nottingham has not been acting alone | Your NZ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s