Craig and MacGregor admit defamation trial is of no benefit to either of them

The Colin Craig versus Rachel MacGregor defamation trial has now been going for a week. I don’t have any interest in rehashing old evidence dragged up again.

There are two things worth noting.

One is the bizarre situation where, accused of harassment but acting for himself, Craig is able to cross-examine MacGregor as a witness. Stuff:  Colin Craig begins cross examination of Rachel MacGregor in defamation trial

In an awkward interaction, Craig cross-examined MacGregor on Friday afternoon, with MacGregor refusing to look at her former employer.

It is the second time this has played out – Craig cross-examined MacGregor at his defamation trial against blogger Cameron Slater last year.

The second:

Craig told MacGregor on Friday he did not “consider that this proceeding is in the interest of either party”.

“Do you accept that?” Craig asked.

“Yes, I do,” MacGregor replied.

So why the hell is it happening? Courts are overloaded with important stuff, so this is a drain on limited resources.

I think it’s unlikely this is MacGregor’s choice. Craig seems to have become obsessed with using the courts to try to prove something. There has been:

  • Williams versus Craig (not Craig’s choice)
  • Craig versus Slater & Slater versus Craig
  • Craig versus Stringer
  • Craig verses Stiekema
  • Craig versus MacGregor & MacGregor versus Craig

Obviously the last of those is before the court still. Stringer may be finished with, but all the others are in various states of progress through the courts.

Related to these (having also been caused by posts on Whale Oil):

  • Blomfield versus Slater (due in court in October)
  • Sellman, Swinburn, Bradbrook versus Slater, Graham, Facilitate Communications Limited, Katherine Rich, New Zealand Food and Grocery Council Inc

The latter provides some insight into claims that seem to be common across all of these cases:

[11] In 31 causes of action the plaintiffs seek general damages, aggravated and punitive damages and costs from Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL in various combinations for defaming them in different combinations in the 31 posts. In nine more causes of action (numbers 32 to 40) the plaintiffs allege Mr Graham and FCL defamed them in various combinations in comments on the posts. In one cause of action, number 41, all plaintiffs seek general damages, aggravated and punitive damages and costs from Ms Rich and the NZFGC for procuring Mr Graham, FCL and Mr Slater to publish the substance and sting of the defamatory statements.

[12] The defendants deny the allegations against them and offer several affirmative defences

(a) a number of the causes of action are time-barred;

(b) all statements on all causes of action are true and statements of honest opinion;

(c) all statements attract qualified privilege as part of robust political debate about matters of legitimate public interest regarding the regulation of alcohol, sugar, fat and tobacco

Result

[125] I decline the applications to strike-out the causes of action except in relation to the pleaded meanings identified in the table annexed to this judgment.

SELLMAN & ORS v SLATER & ORS [2017] NZHC 2392 [2 October 2017]

That judgment was almost exactly a year ago. I presume this case is still progressing, slowly as defamation cases seem to. They tend to be drawn out and expensive.

What you see in news reports is mostly just on actual trials. There can be a lot of other processes including submissions, rulings and court hearings involved.

I doubt there will be any real winners in all of this. Some may get enough damages and costs to cover their expenses, but most reputations have been irreparably damaged, and that gets amplified by all the court carry on.

Leave a comment

7 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 29, 2018

    There seem to be a few crazy people involved in all this. No names though – just in case.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 29, 2018

      The two of them deserve each other.

      What sort of person thinks that a copy (painted in a painting factory where they turn out hundreds of them) of a real work of art would be an acceptable present ?

      Reply
  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  September 29, 2018

    Why don’t they just play a video of the last trial that these two had and save everyone’s time, money and sanity ?

    I imagine that it will be a replay anyway.

    There must be a few lawyers wondering if they went to law school for THIS.

    Reply
  3. Bill Brown

     /  September 29, 2018

    All it does it makes sure the public reads more about it ….. the irony

    Reply
    • I think that most of the public have never known or never cared, and most of those that had an interest that had an interest are over it, apart from being fed up with the same few people trying to drag others through the mud – the mudslingers just keep looking dirtier. It’s very sad if they think that is somehow winning something.

      Reply
      • Bill Brown

         /  September 30, 2018

        One must feel for Craig’s wife …. she must be sick to death of it all

        Reply
        • It is surprising she has kept supporting him.

          I think there’s signs that Craig himself may be starting to see the futility of all his time and money spent in court. And he could get slapped with bill for the current case.

          I think that the likes of Nottingham and Slater can’t that thick that they see the costs of all their behaviours as being worth it. . Nottingham has already been significantly affected with self inflicted bankruptcy and a conviction. Slater has been affected financially and could be hit with some big bills if any of the three defamation cases he is involved in go against him.It’s hard to see him coming out on top.

          And both have been affected a lot through health problems. Big prices to pay don’t you think?

          What surprises me is that others have seemed happy to help them towards such self inflicted negative outcomes, and continue to do so.

          Reply

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