Blomfield may benefit from Craig costs v Slater

Here’s a possible twist to Cameron Slater’s defamation cases – he has been awarded substantial costs in the Craig v Slater defamation case, but as I understand it those will be paid to the administrators of Slater’s bankruptcy and company liquidation. And part of available funds from them could end up being paid to Matt Blomfield, who is likely to be a major creditor for both.

While Blomfield has won substantial costs in various court proceedings, Slater appeared to negate all of that by declaring himself bankrupt in February.

This week the a High Court judge awarded costs to Slater in the defamation and counter defamation trial versus Colin Craig – see Slater awarded costs v Craig, but well short of actual costs.

These costs amount to several hundred thousand dollars. It’s a good bet that Craig will appeal the costs, but there are very limited options with that, costs are at the discretion of the trial judge and are difficult to overturn unless an error of law is made.

So where do these costs go? I believe not, as I had initially presumed, directly to Slater’s lawyers. Slater has been billed (indemnity costs according to the judgment) $564,730. That is substantially more than the costs awarded, but presuming that Slater has paid not paid all of his legal bills, that is a debt incurred by his lawyers.

Costs are not paid to the lawyers, they are paid to, in this case, the first defendant Slater, and the second defendant Social Media Consultants Limited (Slater’s company).

But with Slater being bankrupt any costs will go to the Official Assignee, and with Social Media Consultants being in liquidation costs related to the company will be under control of the liquidator.

Slater’s lawyers will have to line up with all other creditors to seek their share of what is available to be paid out. Blomfield is already a creditor as well.

But there could be another substantial debt to be added, incurred before bankruptcy and liquidation, but yet to be quantified.

An award of damages in the Blomfield versus Slater defamation is yet to be made. Despite the case already taking nearly seven years, I understand that the hearing on an award of damages won’t take place until next year, and it could take some time after that for the judge to make a decision.

The judgment on defamation between Craig and Slater was made on 19 October 2018, but the judgment on costs has just been made (6 June 2019).

The award of damages in Blomfield v Slater may not be known until 1-2 years from now. But as they were incurred before the bankruptcy and liquidation, and funds available will be apportioned to Blomfield and any other creditors like Slater’s lawyers. Even if Craig appeals costs that should be decided on by then.

The cost of clearing his name has been expensive. Blomfield’s legal battles with Slater have cost him many hundreds of thousands of dollars. It may turn out that costs awarded to Slater in Craig v Slater may pay some of that back via through costs and damages incurred in Blomfield v Slater & Social Media Consultants.

But this may be even more complicated. Slater is still facing defamation in the action bought against him by Sellman, Swinburn and Bradbrook. If costs (either way) or damages are awarded there it could also affect things.

Note – I’m not a lawyer or debt expert, I’m just trying to get my head around how this all works.

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  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th June 2019

    Has WhaleOil stopped asking for money?

    • I haven’t seen them ask for donations since Slater filed for bankruptcy. They are still advertising meal and I think subscriptions, but they must be hard to sell these days.

      Despite their rearrangements of ownership I think that debts are likely to catch up with them. I don’t see them surviving the year. They may struggle to survive the month.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  9th June 2019

        Blomfield should buy the website from the receivers and publish the book on it in installments.

        • Loki

           /  9th June 2019

          He should end owning it, and because our hero tried to say the “company” was responsible he should get all the content too.
          I fitting end would be for Blomfield to gift it to Hager. Or Bomber Bradbury.. how awesome would it be for the URL to land on the Daily Blog..
          This is a great game.
          He could give it to the Greens.
          He could give it Clarke Gayford.
          Any other suggestions??

        • Liquidators – it should be available to the highest bidder.

          It’s a toxic website, still, so it’s value as a going concern must be limited unless the current operators can get funding to buy it. Effectively that would be buying it from themselves, so I don’t know if it’s even possible.

          I think that both Whale Oil dirty history (now well documented) and their continuing repeat attacks on various people – see Dirty sleaze content continues at Whale Oil – both limits it’s monetary value and increases the social value in shutting it down.

          • Loki

             /  9th June 2019

            But the value in tormenting the tormentor is priceless.

            He could give it to the Muslim council and they could put up posts scheduled to broadcast the call to prayer.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th June 2019

              They wouldn’t, of course, for any amount of money.

              How about putting something like the Birdie Dance on a loop and playing it outside the Slatery ?

        • JeevesPonzi

           /  10th June 2019

          That is the most delicious resolution imaginable.

          ” Whale Oil Be Ferralled”


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