Law on audio and video recordings

This post from June 2017 has had a lot of search hits over the last couple of days in relation to the Jami-Lee Ross recording and threats of releasing more recordings, so worth a re-post:


The Todd Barclay saga, in which the Police decided not to prosecute Barclay for making audio recordings of an employee in his electorate office in Gore (the Police are currently reviewing that decision) has raised the issue of what can and can’t be legally recorded.

Video recordings are legal:

Surveillance video is common in public and in work places.

The Privacy Commission website states that it is “usually unfair to record someone without telling them”.

Can I record someone without telling them?

Whether making an audio or visual recording of someone without telling them will breach the Privacy Act will depend on the circumstances in each case. In particular, it will depend on who is making the recording and why they are making it.

If you are an individual and you are making a recording in relation to you own personal, domestic or household affairs (for instance you’re recording a personal conversation with a friend), there is an exception which says that, generally, the Privacy Act won’t apply to what you do.

However, if you collect, use or disclose personal information in a way which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, this exception will not apply. In other words, someone could make a complaint about you.

If you are making the recording for any reason, other than your own domestic, personal or household affairs, the general rules about collection of personal information will apply. In particular, it’s usually unfair to record someone without telling them.

You should also keep in mind that there may be other laws which apply apart from the Privacy Act – for instance, recording a private conversation that you’re not involved in will often be a crime.

That seems to be what Barclay was investigated for.

On usually unfair to record someone without telling them:

Can an agency make a video or audio recording of me without telling me?

Generally speaking, an agency must tell you if it is collecting your personal information.

However, there are some cases where an agency could collect your information without telling you. For instance, it might not have to tell you it was collecting your information if this would undermine the agency’s purpose for collecting the information in the first place, or if it would endanger the safety of any individual.

If you believe an agency has collected your information without telling you, we suggest that you contact the agency and ask to speak to their privacy officer to see if you can resolve any concerns you have about this directly.

If you’re not able to resolve your concerns, and you believe you have suffered some sort of harm as a result of the collection of your information, you can make a complaint to us.

Or make a complaint to the Police, as Glenys Dickson did in the Barclay case.

Andrew Geddis comments on this in It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup

…it’s not an offence to record yourself in conversation with others, even if they don’t know you are doing so. Nor is it an offence to record other people without their knowledge if they are not engaged in a “private communication”.

But the allegation against Barclay is that he left a dictaphone running when he wasn’t in his office so as to record what Dickson was saying in conversations with constituents.

Also in Police take another look at Barclay secret recording investigation

Geddis said the alleged breach in law on which Barclay was investigated needed to tick three boxes to be proved.

The first was there needed to be a recording with an “interception device”, as the law phrased. In this case, he said, the “device” was alleged to be a dictaphone.

Then it needed to be proved it was a private conversation – in this case, said to be the electorate office where Dickson worked.

The third element was proving that the recording was made intentionally, he said.

“If you could prove all three elements, the offence carries a jailable offence of up to two years.”

Conviction to the two-year point is the trigger which forces MPs to resign from Parliament.

Steven Price at Media Law Journal (in reference to the Bradley Ambrose case):

It’s a crime to intentionally intercept a private communication using an interception device. A private communication is one that is made under circumstances that may reasonably taken to indicate that any party to it desires it remain private, but:

does not include such a communication occurring in circumstances in which any party ought reasonably to expect that the communication may be intercepted by some other person not having the express or implied consent of any party to do so.

Although a battalion of journalists were about a metre away behind a window, let’s assume that Key and Banks couldn’t reasonably expect it to be overheard, and that the circumstances indicate that both desired their conversation to remain private.

In an electorate office if the conversation was in an open office where others were present and could hear it then it may not be private. But if Dickson was the only person present then it could be private.

The only issue, then, is whether the interception was intentional. On the paper’s account, it was inadvertent. In fact, it says, the cameraman tried to retrieve his recorder before the conversation but was stopped by Key’s security folk, and didn’t know that the recording was even happening. Now, I don’t know anything more than has been reported. But I wonder whether there is room for doubt about whether the cameraman genuinely didn’t know that the conversation was being recorded.

If it could be established that he did know, then he has committed an offence.

Bill English has said (in the now public police statement) “I had a conversation with him regarding Glenys Dickson leaving his office and he said to me that he had recordings of her criticising him”.

Barclay has said “I have read and Mr English’s statement to the police and accept it.”

“Recordings” is plural. It could be difficult claiming that more than one recording was accidental.

We will find out next week what the Police decide to do and whether they re-open the case or not.

More talk on ‘drug use is a health issue’ but where’s the action?

More talk but still a lack of action on drug abuse issues.

Minister of Police Stuart Nash talks some talk on addressing drug problems, but his Government is still failing to walk any meaningful walk on addressing urgent drug abuse issues.

RadioLive: Drug use should be treated ‘as a health issue’ – Stuart Nash

So why the fuck doesn’t the Government take urgent action to do that?

Police Minister Stuart Nash is refusing to say whether he’s for or against ending marijuana prohibition, but appears to be leaning in favour.

“I’m not going to give you a yes or no, because I want to see what this looks like,” he told host Duncan Garner.

“I’ll weigh up the benefits and I’ll vote accordingly.”

But as long as there are sufficient social services in place to deal with the harmful effects of marijuana, Mr Nash appears to be in favour of legalisation.

But the Government seems to be dragging the chain on this – they opposed Chloe Swarbrick’s bill, their own bill is limited to medicinal use of cannabis and they are not exactly rushing on that, and while greens got a promise of a referendum on cannabis law before or at the next election there is no sign of action there.

Drug abuse is already a major health and crime and prison issue. people continue to die, lives continue to be ruined, and all Nash does is parrot ‘drugs should be treated as a health issue’.

“I was incredibly proud of Jacinda Ardern not to sign up to Donald Trump’s new war on drugs,” he added. “We need to treat this as a health issue – the police are doing this, we’re doing this as a society.”

But nowhere enough, and nowhere near urgently enough.

He said the police are already using discretion not to criminalise drug users – even those consuming hard drugs.

“We refuse to treat every single addict out there as a criminal. This is a health issue. An example – Operation Daydream, this is going after the meth dealers and suppliers. Police did that, they rounded them up.

“After that they went to all the addicts and instead of putting them in front of a judge, as they have done in the past, they put them in front of social services to help these people. That’s the sort of society we need to create.”

One approach has had some success. Newsroom: Addiction courts save millions in prison costs

With more than 10,000 people behind bars and total prison costs expected to top $1 billion next year, politicians are desperate for ways to rein in the corrections system.

The problems sometimes seem intractable, the financial and human costs ever-increasing.

But far from the halls of power and policy summits, one approach being employed to stop people offending and going back to prison has had some real success.

Grounded in evidence and criminal justice research, the country’s two Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) courts are tasked with handling one of the toughest, and most costly, cohort of offenders: recidivist criminals.

There is a clear pattern in the lives of this cohort. They commit crimes, go to prison, get released, and then start the cycle again.

In the AODT courts, the offenders also have an added layer of complexity – their offending has been clinically assessed as driven by their alcohol and/or drug addiction.

The two Auckland-based pilot courts, set up nearly seven years ago, have shown interesting results.

Great. So why not have more of this?

In an interview with Newsroom, Justice Minister Andrew Little is positive about the AODT courts, but says any expansion will not occur before a final impact evaluation. This is due to be completed next year.

An interim-evaluation took place four years ago, and showed positive progress.

“I have a personal and principled commitment to seeing more of this, but there is a commitment to doing a more formal evaluation of the court,” he says.

“That is underway. Following that, [will be] the basis for making my bid for more resourcing to see more of them.”

Little also alludes to the challenges of pushing for long-term change.

“This is the whole question in the broader criminal justice system. Treasury kind of weighs it every time. There might be greater resources needed at the front-end, but if that means that is resulting in fewer people going to prison, and we are still reducing the reoffending rate significantly and materially, then … that is the right place to put the resources rather than at the far end when it is kind of too late.”

However, for those who understand the improved outcomes achieved through AODT courts, waiting for another evaluation is a tough ask. Feedback from the recent Justice Summit in Wellington included queries around when other parts of New Zealand would have access to AODT courts.

As drink driving researcher Gerald Waters puts it: “I’ve also looked at all offending in New Zealand – 80 percent of crime is alcohol and drug related. It’s obvious that you shouldn’t be having drug court once a week – you should be having it six days a week with one day for normal crime”.

Like may things under the current Government, after making a big deal with what the achieved in their first 100 days – mostly initiating things that would take more time – Andrew Little ‘says any expansion will not occur before a final impact evaluation. This is due to be completed next year.’

In the meantime, drug use will be in part treated as a health issue, but will remain a large criminal and prison issue until they get off their inquiry laden arses and take urgent and comprehensive action.

Jacinda Ardern has promoted her Government as progressive – it may be, but it seems to be snail’s pace progress on things she and he ministers have claimed to be in need of urgent attention. This is very disappointing.

Lundy appeal dismissed – “we are sure of Mr Lundy’s guilt”

Gloriavale man convicted of beating children

A man from Gloriavale, Clem Ready, was convicted last year of beating two of his children. He has just lost he bid in the Court of Appeal to keep his name suppressed.

A daughter who ran away from Gloriavale after her sister died and complained to the police says that men are taught to be violent with their families.

Stuff: Gloriavale dad Clem Ready hit daughters with shoe, slipper, belt as discipline

A Gloriavale man who disciplined two daughters by hitting them with his hands or objects including a shoe and belt because he “thought it was doing them good” can finally be named.

Clem Ready assaulted the girls – Prayer and Constance (Connie) Ready – between 1998 to 2014, when they were aged between 5 and 17 years old.

So that’s more or less throughout their childhoods.

His battle to keep his name secret has lasted more than a year. It went all the way to the Court of Appeal where, on Thursday, his bid for name suppression was rejected.

Clem Ready first appeared in court on the charges in July last year.  He sought a discharge without conviction for the offending, but in May this year was convicted and sentenced in the Greymouth District Court to 12 months’ supervision for the abuse.

He was ordered to pay Connie Ready, who is now 24 years old, $1000 in emotional harm reparation.

Prayer Ready, who had Down syndrome, died in Gloriavale when she was 14. She choked to death on a piece of meat while in an isolation room where the door handles were disabled.

Her father was not charged for that.

Connie Ready, speaking to Stuff Circuit ahead of Thursday’s hearing, says the beatings were relentless.

“He could just be tired and come home from work, he gets annoyed so he’ll throw something at you or kick you if he gets really worked up, he’ll grab anything that’s around and lay into you with it and beat you, you know, his belt, a coat hanger, one of his tools from his work bag. Anything.”

At the May sentencing, Judge Anthony Couch said the charges related to multiple instances of assault using his open hand or objects such as a shoe, a slipper, a belt and, on one occasion, a framing square (used in carpentry).

It’s very sad to see a father resorting to beating his children.

“No estimate of the total number of assaults has been provided, but it was clearly a large number.”

“The victims were children, unable for the most part to defend themselves. The defendant was in a position of absolute authority over them. They were highly vulnerable.”

“He believed that it was appropriate, and indeed necessary, to strike his children and to cause them pain in order to discipline them and to change their behaviour. Objectively he was hurting them but, subjectively, he thought he was doing them good,” the judge said.

He hit one daughter with a framing square and explained this by saying “I was concerned for her safety and needed [her] to be like her sisters who were more respectful, happy to read or knit at home and not be so sociable.”

Using violence to try to force her into becoming what sounds like a compliant and obedient female. That’s dark ages mentality.

The judge said Clem Ready was working up to 70 hours a week. Since the offending, he had completed an anger management course, a parenting course and a restorative justice conference with Connie Ready, after which he acknowledged a sense of responsibility for the harm he caused her.

This raises a lot more questions about the well being of the other children, and also about whether this violence towards his children was isolated within one family or whether it was generally accepted practice at Gloriavale.

More detail from Stuff Circuit: OUR FATHER

“Men are taught that this is the way to run a family, to be the father of your home. If your wife won’t listen to what you say, you beat her. If your children don’t listen to you, you beat them.

“I don’t want to take away from anything that my father did because you still have a mind and a conscience and you can still say no at any point. But the system that has been created within there by the leaders – they need to be held responsible for that as well. They have allowed, encouraged, taught that this is how things should happen.”

People calling themselves Christians acting like cretins.

“I believe still there are children who suffer at the hands of their parents.”

Daily like your family did?

“Yes.”

This is alarming but not really very surprising.

Bill Cosby sentenced to prison, counselling for life

After being found guilt of drugging and sexually assaulting a victim Bill Cosby has been sentenced to prison and lifetime counselling. The victim is just one of many woman who have claimed that Cosby assaulted them.

RNZ:  Bill Cosby sentenced to prison for sex assault

Cosby, 81, has also been categorised as a sexually violent predator, meaning he must undergo counselling for life and be listed on the sex offender registry.

At a retrial in April, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.

Ahead of the sentence, Judge Steven O’Neill designated Cosby a sexually violent predator, despite the defence’s argument that Cosby’s age and blindness mean he is not a threat.

Tuesday’s classification means he will need to register with state police and notify any community he lives in of his sex offender status, as well as undergo mandatory counselling for life.

The actor’s defence team had argued the state’s sex offender law was too severe given Cosby’s age and the fact that he is legally blind.

The comedian was arrested in 2015 and a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial in June 2017.

This year’s retrial occurred amid the #MeToo movement that has seen people worldwide come forward to share stories of sexual harassment and assault.

Justice has been served to some extent on an alleged long term serial offender.

Collins versus Swarbrick

Judith Collins made another unfathomably bad taste tweet attack again today, and Green MP Chloe Swarbrick was one prepared to call her out for it.

A reprehensible crime punished with a sizeable prison sentence, but a reprehensible response from Collins:

Swarbrick stood up to Collins:

A poor look for Collins, and Swarbrick shows more maturity than most MPs.

Also:

Appalling sex offences against children

I’ve just seen an item on 1 News about Martin Lawes, It’s appalling.

Some of the story from Stuff: Sex offender Martin Lawes’ ‘truly shocking’ personality behind closed doors

He is a husband, a father, a grandfather and a multi-millionaire who live streamed child sexual abuse for his own gratification.

Before his downfall, Martin Lawes was heavily involved in the North Shore community.

He was a successful businessman, had a property portfolio, he was a Justice of the Peace and was best known as the former chairman of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.

It started in 2000, when Lawes claimed he was “overworked”. His way to escape was talking on chat forums to Asian women overseas.

At the time, those women were of the age of consent, but that soon spiralled and he began to pay to watch and direct children being sexually abused.

He claimed the amount of money sent by him was not a significant amount as he was a multi-millionaire.

“He also stated that he was helping the people involved by giving them money as they were often living in poverty,” court documents showed.

Using his alias, and a Yahoo email account, he made contact with users in the Philippines where he communicated with a number of different women whom he would instruct to perform various sexual acts on webcam for him.

In return for “shows”, Lawes would pay money to those he was communicating with via a third party. He made the transfers using his alias and also under his own name.

During the live stream child sexual abuse “shows”, Lawes would direct what he wanted the child to do by giving typed instructions, the summary of facts said.

Some of the shows involved children aged between seven and 17.

Appalling. No remorse. Cretin.


And that’s not all in today’s court news.

Caught by colleague molesting girl

A staff member at a Hamilton childcare centre jailed for molesting a girl there was previously queried by police over an earlier alleged incident involving children enrolled at the facility.

Gregory William Van de Worp, 34, was sentenced to 16 months and two weeks in prison in July after earlier pleading guilty to a single charge of indecent assault on a child.

That charge was laid by police in response to an incident earlier this year involving a girl aged under 12, who Van de Worp assaulted in a room at Pukete Neighbourhood House.

But it has been revealed it was not the first time Van de Worp had drawn the scrutiny of the police over his behaviour with children.

In response to a complaint made some two years ago, they investigated his activities at the centre but opted not to lay charges at that time.

And Van de Worp was also the subject of concerns raised by a parent 10 years ago, alarmed by apparent “grooming” behaviour he exhibited towards a young girl attending the centre at that time.

This is appalling for the victims.

It also makes things very awkward for males involved in child care centres.

 

 

Nottingham has not been acting alone

Dermot Nottingham has not acted alone in his actions taken against many people, including harassment and defamation via laudafinem.com and in a number of legal proceedings, some of which have been described as abuses of process, vexatious and more by various judges.

In April Nottingham was found guilty at a jury trial of five charges of criminal harassment and two charges of breach of non-publication orders (suppression). He was sentenced in July to the maximum one year of home detention and ordered not to use the Internet. The Crown had sought a prison sentence and may appeal (Nottingham already indicated he would appeal).

See Blogger dodges prison over court suppression breaches, harassment campaigns and “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

Last week Nottingham was adjudicated bankrupt, largely due to unpaid court costs of about a quarter of a million dollars as a result of five failed private prosecutions.

See Dermot Nottingham adjudicated bankrupt

Nottingham has given post traumatic stress disorder and mental health as reasons for some of his behaviour, but that doesn’t explain everything. And he has not acted alone.

While stating he had debts of about $2 million Nottingham tried to avoid bankruptcy by putting a proposal to creditors. A majority of alleged creditors with claimed debts of over $1.5 million voted in favour of the proposal, but as none of them provided proof of their claims these were rejected by the judge, who said:

“In my view, there is a public interest in Mr Nottingham being bankrupted so that the Official Assignee can investigate and establish whether all of these claims are legitimate…”.

Those claims were mostly if not entirely made by family and associates of Nottingham, including:

  • Phillip Nottingham$480,728 – cash advances, unpaid rent, guarantees, work completed – not paid, goods and services supplied
  • Phillip Nottingham with power of attorney for his mother for $450,000  – advances, guarantees
  • Earle McKinney for $248,650 – cash advances, guarantees, unpaid services (two others giving the same address also made claims)
  • Marc Spring for $28,765 – cash advances, multiple motor vehicle expenses, Breiting mens (sic) watch
  • Cam Slater $10,450

I have no information of what Slater’s claim was for, but for the others the above descriptions are all that was given. There was no substantiating evidence for about 18 creditors. Some claims, and part of some claims, may be legitimate, but that will be checked out by the OA.

Nottingham’s sentencing notes allude to others being involved:

[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.

In the private prosecution of myself and Allied Press (charges withdrawn after eleven months) and similarly with the private prosecutions of APN Ltd and Lynn Prentice (charges dismissed at trial) there were a number of people involved with assisting Nottingham, including:

Earle McKinney arranged service of court documents, shared the same email address as Nottingham linked to McKinney’s business Advantage Advocacy Ltd (registered address was Nottingham’s residential address, now in liquidation) of which Nottingham was an employee, threatened further charges via that email, signed court documents on Nottingham’s behalf, has appeared with Nottingham at court hearings.

McKinney has been virtually joined at the hip with Nottingham in the private prosecutions, including acting as a ‘McKenzie friend’.

[24] Importantly, for present purposes, the affidavit was in any event inadmissible. As I noted in my judgment, it was replete with irrelevant material, opinion evidence and pontification by a Mr McKinney, who appeared as Mr Nottingham’s McKenzie friend, as to what he – Mr McKinney – thought the law is, or perhaps more precisely,
should be. The affidavit contained a number of pejorative comments about Judge Collins and how he ran the trial.

NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 1004 [9 May 2018]

Cameron Slater was named as an informant with all four prosecutions. He was named as an ‘expert witness’ but never provided a witness statement in my and Allied Press prosecutions. He was a witness in the APN/Prentice trial:

Mr Cullen submits that the prosecutor’s failings can be summarised in this way:

  • calling a witness who had not been brief (sic), Mr Slater. The detail and nature of this evidence had not been provided to the defence prior to the presentation of the witness to the Court;

NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]

Phillip Nottingham submitted a lengthy affidavit in support of his brother Dermot for the costs hearings in 2016.  I spent half a day reading the only copy at court when I discovered it was there (this was never served despite follow up court orders to do so).

Marc Spring served charging documents. He openly tagged teamed with @laudafinem on Twitter, starting just prior to charges being served, in what amounted to months of harassment via Twitter. I believe he was also a contributor to laudafinem.com via posts and comments. Under numerous pseudonyms he breached court orders and tried to severely disrupt the operation of Your NZ.

In December Spring served a court order on me that attempted to force me to edit him out of Your NZ (where he was named, not where he used pseudonyms, and attempted to force full time moderation with no comments automatically posting. This turned out to be a legal farce, as it used the Harmful Digital Communications Act but didn’t follow correct procedures, and it was a year before the Act came into force, so was discharged when the judge was informed of this – see Court order discharged.

This was discussed on Kiwiblog, with Slater becoming involved indicating he was also linked. He said:

“Your fascination with me and your allowing of despicable and defamatory comments about me and my friends is coming to an end”.

(Emphasis added)

It was covered again later at Kiwiblog in  Judge got it wrong on HDCA – there are some interesting comments.

“If that was done in the knowledge that the grounds did not exist, it seems a clear attempt to pervert the course of justice. If not, it says something about the legal skills of the applicant.”

“Seems the lawyer who sought the order needs to be hauled up before a disciplinary committee. The lawyer is as much to blame as the judge for the foul-up, indeed significantly more so.”

“Negligent is a more than charitable description. It is at best appalling incompetence and at worst an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Assuming, of course, that a lawyer was involved. If not, then the judge really dropped the ball.”

Associated with this a press release was published showing Dermot Nottingham as the document author, which threatened prison. Following the failure of the court order Nottingham tried to get this action included in his prosecution and demanded I be imprisoned by Christmas (2015) but that was rejected by the judge.

In May 2016 Slater put out a press release over the Rachinger/Standard hack – this was posted a day before suppression lapsed on laudafinem.com – either he or someone with access to his press release in advance must have passed it on to ‘Lauda Finem’. Slater may have breached his own suppression. See Slater on the Standard hack.

In my case (also Allied Press, APN and Prentice) Nottingham may have also breached his own suppression over a period of months, if he had anything to do with the posts attacking me and revealing details of his private prosecution. Someone with knowledge of his prosecutions was writing posts for Lauda Finem.

Dermot Nottingham, Phillip Nottingham and McKinney have been engaged in a protracted dispute involving three people and the Real Estate Authority that started in think in 2011 and is still unresolved. A summary (to early 2017) here: NOTTINGHAM, NOTTINGHAM AND MCKINNEY v THE REAL ESTATE AGENTS AUTHORITY [2017] NZCA 1 [27 February 2017]

Another protracted proceeding, going for over six years and scheduled for trial, is the defamation case Blomfield v Slater. Nottingham and Spring have also been associated with that.

[1] The appellant, Mr Slater, operates a blog on the internet which he calls Whale Oil. The respondent, Mr Blomfield, has sued him in the Manukau District Court claiming he has been defamed by material published on the website.

[14] However, the Judge considered there was no evidence that Mr Blomfield had endeavoured to bully and intimidate Mr Spring, or others who had already been disclosed as sources of information given to Mr Slater. The email exchange between Mr Blomfield and Mr Spring indicated that Mr Spring appeared “to be sending Mr Blomfield aggressive and abusive texts”, with Mr Blomfield taking a “relatively defensive position”.

[33] In his submissions, the main emphasis Mr Slater gave this second affidavit related to the fact that Mr Blomfield had telephoned Mr Mattu on Monday 5 October 2015. Mr Mattu recognised the caller’s number as that of Mr Blomfield and decided not to take the call. Instead, he telephoned Mr Slater to seek his advice. Mr Slater was unavailable, but an associate, Mr Nottingham, advised him to take the next call from Mr Blomfield and to record it. It was then arranged that instead Mr Mattu would telephone Mr Blomfield while Mr Nottingham remained on the line and both would record what was said. That then ensued, the discussion lasting for some 26 minutes. A little over an hour later, Mr Mattu again telephoned Mr Blomfield while Mr Nottingham was on the line.

SLATER V BLOMFIELD [2015] NZCA 562 [19 November 2015]

Counsel: C J Slater, in person, Defendant
(D Nottingham as McKenzie Friend for Mr Slater)

BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2017] NZHC 1654 [18 July 2017]

Court notes show that a hard drive belonging to Blomfield, containing business and personal data, was supplied to Slater, and he used contents of that to put up posts on Whale Oil attacking Blomfield. When Blomfield took Slater to court alleging defamation, Slater made an agreement with the court not to post further attacks on Blomfield.

The hard drive ended up in the hands of ‘Lauda Finem’, who then posted many attacks on Blomfield. Eventually (late 2016) according to Lauda Finem, Blomfield shut down their website with a court order.

Marc Spring also started posting attacks on Blomfield at Your NZ using a variety of pseudonyms (for example he would post an attack, then under another name support that comment to try to legitimise it). I was informed that this may be in breach of a restraining order:

Mr Blomfield’s application for a restraining order against Mr Spring was successful in the Auckland District Court. In delivering judgment, Judge Dawson noted that the relationship between the two was “toxic”. The Judge proceeded to find that text messages sent to Mr Blomfield by Mr Spring constituted harassment under the Harassment Act 1997. A restraining order was accordingly made against Mr Spring and remains in force until 9 April 2016.

So I prevented Spring from posting further comments on Blomfield. Spring then started accusing me of acting under Blomfield’s instruction (I wasn’t).

Over a year later Nottingham made written submissions (during a costs hearing that he didn’t attend) accusing me of some sort of collusion with Blomfield. The judge rejected this submission as irrelevant.

Leading up to a costs appeal hearing Nottingham emailed me on 27 June 2017 (using the Advantage Advocacy Ltd email account):

I confirm that you still face contempt applications in police v dn.  You will be required to attend at Auckland or by video link if the court allowed.

I have copied in messrs slater and so they can apply to comment on your defamatory statements.

It may be that they consider a fresh application under the hdca 2015

Kind regards

dn

Another email on 28 June 2017 (also to Spring and Slater):

Dear Messrs Spring, and Slater

I am available with others tomorrow to discuss the issues relating to Mr Georges campaign of criminal harassment.

Please find annexed the highly defamatory and contemptuous documentation filed by [the perp] Peter George.

I agree with both of you that a further application under the Harmful Digital Communications Act might be appropriate, but this time for a complete close down, and I further accept that proceedings under section 24 of the Defamation Act 1992, would also be appropriate for you both.

I have invited professionals that can advise you Mr Spring, in particular given Mr Georges inimical contact with your ex employer, who I understand is prepared to give evidence.  They have advised that the entire proceedings would be held in Auckland.

Such an application would need to be made on notice to Mr George.  George will likely represent himself which would be an issue, and I suggest that an application for Amicus to assist Mr George might be necessary.

Mr George has lied in his recent subs to the Court, and this will be proved to the Criminal Standard by your evidence to the High Court at Dunedin.

I look forward to your presence tomorrow.  At your instructions, Mr Slater, I have ordered in catering for 14, and an international video link in relation to one of your supporters.

Kindest regards

Dermot Nottingham

I wonder if the international ‘supporter’ is @laudafinem from the Netherlands (ex Australia, ex New Zealand), another brother. or it could be just more bluster.

Claims in that are laughable and ridiculous, but typical of numerous threats of further litigation and ‘investigations’. My wife has also been threatened, my brother implicated, and my lawyer was threatened with being reported for misconduct if he didn’t get me to plead guilty.

Dermot Nottingham is generally regarded as the main offender, hence his prosecution. As described by the sentencing judge:

“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.”

“The leading mind” implies some sort of higher intelligence, which is debatable, but it could be true given the line up of associates.

But it is clear that there is a line up of associates alongside Nottingham, aiding and abetting and engaging in similar bullying, harassment and defamation. A common practice of Nottingham, Spring and Slater is to accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of doing – to the extent that sometimes their accusations sound almost like confessions, or revealing intent.

With the convictions and bankruptcy things have finally unravelled for Nottingham, and there could be more repercussions for him. Some of his associates may also find themselves under more scrutiny (Slater ‘already’ faces trial next month).

In my opinion this group of people have run despicable campaigns against many people, including possible defamation of judges, and allegations of judges and court officials being corrupt (for example allegations of court transcript tampering, and collusion with police and media as happened in the application to file charges against myself).

They may finally be held to account.

I am publishing this so that others who may have been or may be subject to their attention can know some of what they have done. I knew virtually nothing about them (apart from Slater) before they started their campaign of harassment against me. If I knew what sort of people I was dealing with I would have approached things differently – in particular I would have pushed much harder for the courts to not let them abuse processes and ignore laws, court rules and court directions often with impunity for years.

My stuff is still dragging through the courts over three years after the prosecution charges were filed. others have been battling them and the court system for much longer – six years, eight years.

There are signs that courts are finally getting tougher. Good.

I know of a number of others who say they have been subjected to egregious treatment by these people.

As the judge said on adjudicating bankruptcy:

During the 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 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.

Unquestionably these apparently groundless prosecutions have wreaked havoc with the lives of those wrongly accused of criminal activity. In my view, if Mr Nottingham’s bankruptcy puts an end to this practice on his part, then that is a public good.

I agree that putting an end to ‘this practice’ is in the public good. And I believe that making the public aware of what Nottingham and his associates have done is also in the public good.

 

Prisoner numbers reducing & 3000 offenders a year sentenced to home detention

A lot is being said about the escalating prison population over the last decade – but it could have been far worse if home detention hadn’t been introduced in 2007. There are now about 3,000 people a year being sentenced to home detention.

although the numbers have eased back since early this year due to new measures that have been successful particularly in getting people on bail more, and getting them off remand faster (by getting them to trial faster).

David Fisher at The Great Escape – prison crisis eases after Corrections thinks outside the cell

The stressed prison network has had a Great Escape – a string of innovations allowing inmates and those charged with crimes better access to justice services has seen a huge fall in inmate numbers.

Our prisons now have 1000 fewer inmates than official projections and the prison population – around 10,200 – has fallen by 600 people in the past six months.

The changes haven’t involved keeping out of prison any people who should have been locked up.

Instead, it has seen “embarrassingly simple” wrinkles ironed out of the system which appear to have improved people’s access to justice.

A number of smaller projects had been underway for about 18 months but Corrections minister Kelvin Davis signed off on a permanent programme in January 2018.

So projects started under the previous covernment and continued under the current government.

The programme of change has been led by Corrections deputy national commissioner Leigh Marsh.

Marsh said innovations included trying to understand why so many on electronic bail were “failing and clogging up the system”.

When the process was studied, it was found those arrested with literacy issues were being handed complex forms to fill in that they couldn’t understand.

About 70 per cent of those currently in prison have literacy level considered insufficient for modern life.

Others couldn’t supply phone numbers so addresses could be checked as suitable bail addresses because the number was saved on the phone which was removed after they were arrested.

When prisoners were asked how they intended getting the phone numbers to arrange bail, they had reportedly planned writing letters to family.

There were now advisers who were available to talk to those who were freshly remanded to better understand why they had been refused bail – and to help obtain details such as phone numbers.

Corrections was also trialling in Wellington a service aimed at assisting those applying for bail. The bail service would help those charged arrange appropriate bail addresses, and to connect with programmes needed to address offending, such as services to deal with alcohol and drug abuse.

Once in the community, there were others who worked to help those on bail understand their conditions and to connect with support which might be needed.

Other innovations included helping those appearing for sentence find a suitable address for home detention, getting police evidence to those accused to enable faster pleas and ensuring those appearing for parole had taken necessary courses.

He said the biggest difference had been in the remand population. The number of people sent to prison to await trial ballooned after a new 2013 law which made it harder to get bail.

Marsh said the prison population had peaked in around 10,800 in March and had since trended down to around 10,200 now. It was currently around 1000 fewer inmates than Ministry of Justice predictions.

Successful changes.

And prisoner numbers have also been kept lower than they otherwise would have been by using home detention.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll – Home Detention provides real alternative to prison

Since 2007 the District Court has been able to impose a sentence of home detention. Now about 3000 offenders a year are being sentenced to home detention.

In the sentencing hierarchy home detention sits above community-based sentences but below imprisonment. Home detention is, therefore, a real alternative to imprisonment.

Home detention means an offender has to serve their sentence at a specific residence instead of in prison.

The sentence must be for more than 14 days but no more than 12 months.  It can be imposed as a sentence in its own right or combined with other sentences such as community work.

Home detention should not be seen as a “soft option”.  It is in effect a curfew at an agreed address, and it is monitored electronically.

The offender must not leave the address at any time, except to seek urgent medical or dental treatment, or to avoid or minimise a serious risk of death or injury.

An offender may get approval to leave the address to seek or do paid work, or to attend training or other rehabilitative activities or programmes, or for any other purpose specifically approved by a probation officer.

A special condition that judges often impose with home detention is judicial monitoring.  This means the judge will receive regular progress reports from the probation officer. In 2017, judges monitored 275 cases in this way.

The court cannot impose home detention if the offender does not agree to it or the conditions. Interestingly, a number of offenders do not consent and the court is left with little option but to impose imprisonment.

Someone on home detention will usually wear an electronic anklet that continually emits a signal and triggers an alarm if the offender leaves the designated address without permission. Should that happen, a monitoring centre will send a security officer to investigate and report to the supervising probation officer who would then take any appropriate action.

The anklet is waterproof and is designed to be worn 24 hours a day.  Offenders can also be monitored while at work or while attending rehabilitative programmes.

The court cannot impose home detention if the place the offender proposes to live is not in an area where the Department of Corrections runs a home detention scheme or where an ankle bracelet’s GPS signal cannot be picked up.

Before imposing the sentence, a court must consider a report from a probation officer, which among other things, will advise whether the proposed residence is suitable.

Anyone else living there is required to understand the conditions of the sentence, and will need to consent to the offender serving the sentence there, in keeping with the conditions.  The occupants may withdraw their consent at any time.

Home detention has several advantages.  It can allow defendants to continue in paid work, remain in their accommodation and maintain family relationships.

It is also less costly to supervise than jail and has high compliance rates.

Most offenders know that should they breach the sentence or re-offend while on home detention, then they are highly likely to be sent to jail.

If a judge decides on a sentence of more than 2 years imprisonment they can consider home detention as an alternative. Corrections:

Home detention is an alternative to imprisonment and is intended for offenders who otherwise would have received a short prison sentence (of two years or less) for their offending.

Only sentencing judges can impose home detention. They must take into consideration advice provided by a probation officer who has assessed the offender, and the home address and any people who live there.

Offenders who receive a home detention sentence are subject to standard and special conditions.

Electronic monitoring equipment is installed at the offender’s address and their compliance monitored for the length of the sentence.

People who are on home detention may also be required to:

  • pay a fine
  • pay reparation to their victim/s
  • do community work.

Offenders must apply to their probation officer if they need to be absent from their home detention address. Their probation officer will decide whether to approve the request.

A probation officer may approve an offender’s absence from their detention address so they can go to: work, study, rehabilitation programmes, the doctor, and appointments with other agencies. All absences from the address are monitored by alternative means – such as verification from the offender’s sponsor or checking on appointments.

It seems to be generally working successfully in keeping people out of prison.

Suppression continues in Labour camp assault case

The man facing multiple charges of sexual assault at a Labour Youth summer camp in February has had his name suppression extended until either a verdict or other determination, on the grounds that “there would be a real risk to fair trial rights”. This is a common reason for suppression pre-trial.

NZH:  Labour Party summer camp indecent assault accused keeps name suppression

The 20-year-old was arrested in June and charged with six counts of indecent assault against four complainants.

Today, the accused appeared before Judge Russell Collins in the Auckland District Court seeking to extend his interim name suppression.

The man’s lawyer Emma Priest argued her client should keep his name suppression until determination of the charges, and may seek permanent suppression if there were valid grounds to do so.

Judge Collins granted interim name suppression until either verdict or other determination and bailed the man to appear in court again later this year.

“I am satisfied, and have been satisfied quite quickly, there would be a real risk to fair trial rights,” he said.

The judge continued there had been an “extremely high-level of media coverage” with many people talking in the press “without thinking that a prosecution may ultimately result”.

“Many people have commented publicly with the only inference to be taken from the comments is that the defendant must be guilty.

“His presumption of innocence is paramount,” Judge Collins said.

Given the level of public and media interest in the case I think this is a fair call, presuming that it will be a jury trial.

This suppression means that no attempt to identify the person in any way can be allowed here.