Human Rights Tribunal slams Cameron Slater

In what has been reported as a landmark decision he Human Rights Review Tribunal has found that Cameron Slater breached the privacy of Matthew Blomfield by obtaining and publishing Blomfield’s personal information in a series of posts at Whale Oil, cherry picking and embellishing data from a hard drive that the Court found that had been obtained illegally and given to Slater.

The tribunal found that Slater’s posts about Blomfield had caused genuine harm and humiliation through an interference in his privacy:

This blog can only be described as a calculated attack on Mr Blomfield and an extended assassination of his character.”

Even if Mr Slater was not party to any illegality, it seems likely the information was obtained illegally by Mr Slater’s sources.

In October last year Slater lost a five year defamation case brought against him by Blomfield. Damages and costs haven’t been awarded yet, but last month Slater filed for bankruptcy.

Slater’s defence in the Humaan Rights case was that he had been acting as a journalist so had legal protection (similar to his defamation defence), but the decision states that the attacks were sustained over six months and were extreme, well beyond the responsibilities of journalism.

Note the date of the hearings (over four years ago), and the date of the decision (yesterday).

Also note the name of Slater’s assistant. Nottingham and Slater have records of over the top attack blogging, and hopeless legal attacks and defences. They are both now bankrupt, and both suffer from health problems. Slater has been distanced and dumped from Whale Oil, and Nottingham is banned from using the Internet.

[171] On the facts there can be little doubt the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings described by Mr Blomfield were caused by Mr Slater. In legal terminology we are satisfied Mr Slater’s disclosure of Mr Blomfield’s personal information was a material cause of the harm suffered by Mr Blomfield. See Taylor v Orcon [2015] NZHRRT 15, (2015) 10 HRNZ 458 at [59] to [61].

[174] We do not propose making a training order. The events in question occurred some time ago and much has happened since then, particularly extensive litigation between Mr Slater and Mr Blomfield. We are confident that upon publication of the present decision Mr Slater will appreciate that the news medium exemption from the Privacy Act is but a limited exemption. Whether a blogger is exempt from application of the information privacy principles is a question to be determined blog by blog, item of personal information by item of personal information. Only if the particular item of personal information comes within the definition of news activity is exemption from the Privacy Act triggered in relation to that particular item.

[175.1] A declaration is made under s 85(1)(a) of the Privacy Act 1993 that Mr Slater interfered with the privacy of Mr Blomfield by disclosing personal information about Mr Blomfield contrary to IPP 11.

[175.2] An order is made under s 85(1)(b) of the Privacy Act 1993 restraining Mr Slater from continuing or repeating the interferences with Mr Blomfield’s privacy, or from engaging in, or causing or permitting others to engage in, conduct of the same kind as that constituting the interferences, or conduct of any similar kind.

[175.3] An order is made under s 85(1)(d) of the Privacy Act 1993 that Mr Slater erase, destroy, take down and disable any personal information about Mr Matthew John Blomfield as may be held on http://www.whaleoil.co.nz and on http://www.scribd.com. Mr Slater is to likewise erase, destroy, take down or disable any of Mr Blomfield’s personal information published by Mr Slater and which may be found on any other website or database which is within Mr Slater’s direction or control.

[175.4] Damages of $70,000 are awarded against Mr Slater under ss 85(1)(c) and 88(1)(c) of the Privacy Act 1993 for the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings experienced by Mr Blomfield.

A media release from Blomfield:

Human Rights Review Tribunal orders Cameron Slater to pay damages

The Human Rights Review Tribunal has today upheld a complaint against Cameron Slater. The Tribunal found that Slater had breached the privacy of Matthew Blomfield by obtaining and publishing Mr Blomfield’s personal information.

The Tribunal ordered Slater to pay $70,000 in damages for the “humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to feelings experienced by Mr Blomfield”. That is one of the highest awards ever made by the HRRT. It also ordered Slater to destroy Mr Blomfield’s personal information and to cease publishing stories based on that information.

In reaching its decision, the Tribunal rejected an argument from Slater that he was protected by a privacy exemption for news media. The Tribunal accepted that the blog site Whale Oil could be a news medium. However, it found that all but one of the publications complained of could not properly be described as a news activity. Rather, they were “gratuitous allegations” as part of a “sustained campaign” against Mr Blomfield. The Tribunal described the blog as “a calculated attack on Mr Blomfield and an extended assassination of his character”.

While being elated at the result, Mr Blomfield was very disappointed that the decision had taken so long. “I feel like I have lived the maxim, “justice delayed is justice denied”” he said. The hearing of this complaint before the Tribunal occurred more than four years ago. A few weeks ago, Slater had himself declared bankrupt. Since the hearing, the private information has appeared on other blog sites including one run by the lay advocate who assisted Slater before the HRRT. “The Tribunal has sat on this case for so long that it will now be very difficult for me to enforce any of its orders” said Mr
Blomfield.

“Mr Slater’s actions have been an extended nightmare for me and my family. He has boasted online about having my family’s private information including the photos of my kids growing up and our family home movies. This has been especially traumatic for my children and my partner.” said Mr Blomfield. “Every allegation he made about me was a fabrication. As has become clear in the defamation case, there was simply no basis for the allegations, he just made them up.”

I think it’s unlikely to get a statement from Slater or Whale Oil.

The full judgment [2019] NZHRRT 13 is here.

David Fisher at NZ Herald:  Bankrupt blogger Cameron Slater carried out ‘character assassination’ – ordered to pay $70,000 in landmark media ruling

Bankrupt ex-blogger Cameron Slater has been found to have carried out an “extended assassination” on the character of a businessman in a series of blog posts he attempted to defend as journalism.

The Human Rights Tribunal has found his six-month campaign against businessman Matt Blomfield on his Whaleoil blog in 2012 wasn’t news and Slater did not have a journalist’s protection from prosecution under the Privacy Act.

It has ordered Slater pay Blomfield $70,000 in damages and never write about him again.

The ruling from the Tribunal also sets a new rules for how the Privacy Act applies to journalism, saying media are bound to act “responsibly” if it wants to be exempt from the law.

That is an important point for bloggers as well as journalists. I operate as a journalist of sorts here at times, but it’s pretty obvious that doesn’t give me a license to over the top run paid for attacks on people. This decision makes this clear in legal terms.

The basis of the claim was the blogger’s sourcing information from a hard drive he had obtained on which Blomfield had stored personal information over 10 years.

The case was taken up by the office of the Director of Human Rights Proceedings which prosecuted Slater for breaching the Privacy Act.

The tribunal’s finding, like a previous High Court judgment, raised concerns about the legality of Slater obtaining the hard drive containing Blomfield’s information.

The tribunal ordered Slater be declared as having breached Blomfield’s privacy and to be barred by restraining order from ever doing so again. It also ordered Slater destroy any personal information he held or had published about Blomfield.

It also delivered one of the tribunal’s highest awards for hurt and humiliation, ordering Slater pay Blomfield $70,000.

It is possible the award would outlast Slater’s bankruptcy with findings of damages being exempt from creditor settlements in some cases.

I don’t know how that might work.

Blomfield is likely to remain significantly out of pocket with his legal actions against Slater, but he has done many others who have been attacked and famed and had vexatious litigation against them a favour of sorts.

Slater reached great heights with his blogging at Whale Oil, but power and money seem to have driven him way over the top. This is just one of a number of court rulings that have resulted in him being discredited and facing huge legal costs and awards made against him.


An associate of Slater’s, Marc Spring, tried to continue attacks against Blomfield here at YourNZ when a court agreement prevented Whale Oil from being used for that purpose. Spring, Slateose failures: NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018] (the charges against me were withdrawn before trial).

On Monday I received an anonymous letter which included court judgments involving Blomfield. I was aware of these judgments already and had little interest in them, they are business/legal matters of little or no public interest.

The letter falsely accused me of supporting Blomfield in those matters – they have absolutely nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with them.

It also made a number of accusations against Blomfield that sound very similar to what Slater has just been slammed for by the Human Rights review Tribunal.

Whoever sent the letter must be nuts if they think I’m going to publish their anonymous unsubstantiated accusations.

Leave a comment

18 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  March 13, 2019

    can see why Slater is so…unwell.

    Reply
  3. Tipene

     /  March 13, 2019

    The judgment can be sustained beyond bankruptcy, as settlements of this nature escape the scope of the Official Assignee.

    Blomfield has commented that he is disappointed that Slater isn’t being held accountable, but I would argue that the law of natural consequence is doing exactly that – holding Slater accountable.

    With the Food & Grocery Defamation case against Slater to to come, costs for Blomfield to be determined in Blomfied v Slater, and an appeal decision in Craig v Slater incoming, Slater simply is never going to recover either physically, mentally, or financially from any of this.

    Slater sowed, Slater reaped. End of.

    Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 13, 2019

    Be careful who your friends are. Slater has made a Shakespearean tragedy from his.

    Reply
    • Loki

       /  March 13, 2019

      But yet he still has a nice shiny new Isuzu D-max mobility scooter to drive around in.
      He must be laughing his tits off

      Reply
  5. Finbaar Rustle

     /  March 13, 2019

    Right wing slime balls like Slater are never down for long.
    Their radar always finds a way back to the trough.
    The “confessions of an online freedom warrior” is probably
    already being sent to Honk Kong for printing.

    Reply
  6. MaureenW

     /  March 13, 2019

    Would have to wonder about the strategy of being assisted by Dermot Nottingham. He has quite an extensive profile of harassing people and pissing off the courts. Brothers in bankruptcy and legends in their own minds I guess.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 13, 2019

      I wouldn’t spend much time wondering, Maureen. His track record and results speak for themselves.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  March 13, 2019

      The wheels of justice have ground slowly, but finely, and finally, it seems.

      Reply
  7. Finbaar Rustle

     /  March 13, 2019

    One victim has spent years fighting to defeat Slater on one count.
    Slater of course has announced bankruptcy
    (lots of time to have secreted resources in untraceable accounts).
    But what of hundreds of others who were subject to Slaters slurs?
    The message is that if you know the ropes and choose to champion
    the powerful and the rich you can say what ever you want.
    Slater will be back because the right wing like his politics
    and the right wing can use their power to enforce their propaganda.
    The odd loss i:E Niki Hagar and this one off defeat of Slater
    and despite a left wing Government does not change the fact
    that right wing power, money and privilege still control NZ

    Reply
    • I doubt Slater will be back any time soon. He had already been cut loose and treated as toxic by most of National, especially the leadership.

      He has ruled himself out of any activity in social media while he tries to avoid further court action and costs.

      And it looks like financial pressure may continue well beyond his three years minimum as a bankrupt.

      He has pretty much crashed and burned all his bridges.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  March 13, 2019

        We need to see what the SFO decides to know if he’s crashed the one he wanted to. 😐

        Reply
  8. I wonder what the Human Rights Review Tribunal would have to say about Hager obtaining Slater’s personal correspondence and revealing it to all and sundry. If you take your first two paragraphs and swap the names it could have similar outcomes. Putting aside any personal bias or desire for karma or utu, is it fair or just that Hager got away with it, happily aided and abetted by MSM and bloggers alike?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  March 13, 2019

      Are you suggesting Cameron should lodge a complaint with them?

      Reply
      • There are lots of legal issues that I don’t have knowledge on, but the similarity between the two situations is intriguing to say the least.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  March 13, 2019

          He probably should. He may have to wait a while for a decision. Dunno if he could afford the filing fee if there is one. He could plead poverty. And cite their latest decision as one cause, I suppose. They might be disposed to waive any fee after thinking about it.

          Reply
  1. More court costs for Slater and co-defendants in defamation entree | 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