Slater now established at BFD but same old activism, grudges and dirty smearing

Cameron Slater is now established at The BFD in a very similar role he had at Whale Oil – promoting political agendas, showing he still holds deep grudges against past and current National MPs (particularly leaders), making unsubstantiated accusations and insinuations, and running dirty smears that he had become well known for.

He has rejoined co-author ‘Xavier’ in promoting Winston Peters and NZ First, a remarkable reversal to a few years ago where Peters was frequently attacked and ridiculed..

After having a stroke in October 2018 Slater was much less involved at Whale Oil, and stopped commenting altogether (at least under his own name) when it seemed convenient to try to avoid ongoing legal proceedings that ended up continuing anyway.

With large legal debts mounting and a disastrous outcome in the defamation case Matt Blomfield finally won against him, presumably with the expectation of more substantial costs and awards against him, Slater declared himself bankrupt in February 2019, relinquished his official involvement in Social Media Consultants Limited, the company running the Whale Oil blog, and soon afterwards the company went into voluntary liquidation – it was also liable to costs and awards in the Blomfield case (final judgment not yet delivered).

A new company was quickly set up, a new blog The BFD started with Slater’s wife now apparently in sole charge, and Whale Oil 2 was under way, but without Slater headlining the content.

Slater tried but failed to avoid being involved in another defamation case due to his claimed incapacity from the stroke – see SELLMAN v SLATER [2019] NZHC 1666 [17 July 2019]. At that stage Henry was still representing Slater but was trying to get leave to withdraw as Slater’s counsel – this was declined by the judge.

Slater also tried to claim that the proceeding could no longer continue against him because he was now bankrupt.

It was contended for Mr Slater that consequent upon his bankruptcy the defamation proceeding was against Mr Slater’s bankrupt estate, which was in the hands of the Official Assignee, and that the proceeding could no longer continue against Mr Slater in person. In the judgment under appeal delivered on 17 July 2019 Palmer J rejected that argument.

The issue here is whether Mr Slater’s bankruptcy necessarily negates the need to comply with the Court’s orders to date. Irrespective of the default legal effect created by Mr Slater’s bankruptcy, I consider it need not and that it does not.

Under the discretion, on 20 March 2019, I ordered this proceeding to continue against Mr Slater. I consider it is an implicit term of that order that Mr Slater must comply with orders made against him in the proceeding, which was one of the reasons why the plaintiffs sought its continuation against him. If that was not sufficiently implicit, I now make it explicit under that discretion and/or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to supervise proceedings before it. That means Mr Slater must comply with the court orders irrespective of Mr Henry’s argument about the effect of his bankruptcy.

Slater, now representing himself, tried to appeal this decision, but tried to avoid the need to pay security for costs. This was heard by the Court of Appeal in December: Slater v Sellman [2019] NZCA 670 (19 December 2019)

On 22 July 2019 Mr Slater filed a notice of appeal which named the Official Assignee as second respondent. Security for costs was set at $13,200. On 15 August 2019 Mr Slater applied under r 35(6)(c) of the Court of Appeal (Civil) Rules 2005 (the Rules) for dispensation from security for costs. In a decision dated 20 September 2019 the Deputy Registrar declined that application but directed that security be reduced to $6,600.. Mr Slater seeks a review of the decision declining dispensation.

The Deputy Registrar concluded:

Mr Slater has not shown he is impecunious. Even if he had, there are no exceptional circumstances to justify dispensing with security for costs. Although the appeal potentially raises an issue of public interest, I do not consider a reasonable and solvent litigant would pursue the appeal because its potential benefits are outweighed by potential costs and its merits seem weak. In my view, it would not be right to require the respondents to defend the judgment under appeal without security for their costs.

Bankruptcy does not prevent a bankrupt from maintaining involvement in court proceedings, subject to orders being made under s 76(2) of the Act.

It follows that I consider that there is no merit in an appeal which seeks to challenge these well-established principles.

Consequently it is my view that a reasonable and solvent litigant would not wish to proceed with an appeal of the nature which Mr Slater has filed.

In other words, a ‘reasonable’ litigant would not risk costs in a weak appeal. It’s good to see a court putting a stop at least in this instant to a litigant taking ‘weak’ actions with little chance of success unless they are trying to delay proceedings and incur costs on respondents with no intention of paying costs. Slater and an associate Dermot Nottingham have been able to get away with this far too much (Nottingham is also bankrupt due to large amounts of unpaid costs)

The application to review the Deputy Registrar’s decision declining to dispense with security for costs is declined. Security for costs of $6,600 is payable by Mr Slater by 17 January 2020.

There are no further decisions online so I don’t know if the appeal was able to proceed.

Meanwhile a new author started posting at The BFD,  Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary, who was extraordinary not just in their name. The style of writing and the political activism had a lot of similarity to posts at the old Whale Oil under Slater’s name. It is known that different contributors had operated under Slater’s name, and it looked to me that one of them had simply switched to posting under a new name.

Xavier was as anti the current National leadership and as pro Winston Peters and NZ First that Slater had miraculously become about the same time long time lawyer of Peters and NZ First and trustee of the NZ First Foundation currently being investigated by the SFO, Brian Henry, started representing Slater in the Blomfield case. It is presumed that Slater clocked up large legal bills and left Henry with a lot unpaid when he went bankrupt.

Over the last month or so Slater has started to comment and post at The BFD, and is now doing both regularly, much the same as he had been at Whale Oil. The main difference now is that Xavier is doing his own anonymous posts still, but the dual approach looks very similar.

And Slater is operating much the same as he used to. last week he posted By Dodging the Question Todd Muller Admits He’s Been Plotting – that’s a nonsense headline but typical of Slater making ridiculous claims to try to stir. He repeated similar claptrap in the post, and also made dirty insinuations – also typical of Slater.

Yesterday Slater posted National Is Bleeding Out, the Caucus Must Act Time for a Coup, Right Now. He has been calling for coups for years so this is nothing new. He also claims to have some sort of special insight with “I predicted” and “hat is what Chris Trotter and I discussed last week”.

The immediately following that post is one by Xavier – National Need NZ First to Form a Government

The National Party’s 29% poll is a disaster for Simon Bridges personally and for the 18 MPs who will lose their seats. It also means that the new National Party leader will only be able to become Prime Minister if a deal is done with New Zealand First.

We won’t know how many seats will be lost until the election which is over four months away, but on current polling National is nowhere near able to get the numbers with NZ First – in the UMR poll they total just 35%.

‘Xavier’ also pushes for new leadership who should then work with Winston:

They may not get a second election campaign so their one and only chance of becoming PM is to do so with New Zealand First’s support. Muller, Mitchell, Collins and Kaye should all be arranging a whisky with Winston as soon as possible, because, without his support, they will end their career as a failed opposition leader.

Slater, Whale Oil and The BFD have been pushing this since before the last election – National should dump Key/English/Bridges and put in a leader who will give Winston power, or at least give Winston a chance of claiming he has options that give him bargaining power after the election.

But while Slater and his co-conspirator promote one number from the poll, what National got, they are ignoring a bigger number, Labour on 55%. At that level Labour wouldn’t need NZ First to form a Government, and would put Peters in a very week bargaining position – Labour wouldn’t need him and National have ruled him out.

Even if National change leaders it would be very risky for a new leader to suddenly u-turn and say they would consider doing a deal with Peters, after what Peters has said about National and what he tried to do through the court – he secretly filed proceedings just before going into ‘good faith’ coalition negotiations with National after the last election on 2017.

It looks like The BFD is pushing a hopeless cause. Not only are their aims lame, but their influence is negligible. Their anti-National pro-NZ First agenda isn’t well supported even at The BFD, and they have virtually no support at Kiwiblog (and get a lot of criticism there for both National bashing and NZ First shilling).

And the mainstream media stopped given them any coverage six years ago after Dirty Politics was published, showing that Whale Oil had been used as an attack blog for hire.

Slater is back, his dirt is back, but he looks largely impotent. He and Xavier are even at risk of dragging NZ First down below the threshold this election, but that may end up being more influenced by the SFO investigation into questionable handling of donations and secret funding of party operations.

John Stringer loses defamation case against Colin Craig

Ex-Conservative Party member John Stringer has lost a defamation case against his former party leader Colin Craig, adding to the list of court failures in the aftermath of the attacks on Craig run on the Whale Oil blog.

[1] In July 2015, after the implosion of the Conservative Party, Mr Colin Craig and Mrs Helen Craig said Mr Craig had been the victim of dirty politics as the Party’s former leader. They named three individuals as responsible, including Mr John Stringer, a former Conservative Party Board member. They gave a press conference and published a booklet saying so and distributed it to 1.63 million households in New Zealand. Mr Craig made other public statements saying so. The booklet was moderated, anonymously, by Mr Stephen Taylor. Party officials, Mrs Angela Storr and Mr Kevin Stitt, emailed updates to Conservative Party members about Mr Stringer and Mr Craig’s booklet and legal proceedings.

[2] Mr Stringer sues the five of them for defamation…The defendants fairly characterise their statements as falling broadly into six categories of meanings regarding Mr Stringer, that he: lied or is a liar; engaged in attack politics; coordinated with others to target Mr Craig; seriously breached the Conservative Party’s rules; acted unlawfully (by defaming Mr Craig); and betrayed others. The defendants did publish the statements complained of, most of which were defamatory of Mr Stringer. But, I hold:

(a) Mr and Mrs Craig have qualified privilege for all of their defamatory statements because they were made in response to Mr Stringer’s attacks on them. The force and vigour of their responses were not out of proportion to his, were not made in bad faith and were made for the purpose for which the privilege is accorded. With one exception, Mr and Mrs Craig’s defamatory statements of fact were also true or not materially different from the truth. Their defamatory statements of opinion were their genuine opinions and based on facts that were true or not materially different from the truth.

(b) Mr Taylor knew his moderation of the booklet would encourage its publication and he had the opportunity to influence, significantly, whether the statements were published. So, at law, he also published the defamatory statements. But the defences of qualified privilege for response to attack, truth and honest opinion protect him as they do the Craigs.

(c) Mrs Storr and Mr Stitt’s statements were made in discharge of their duty to communicate with party members and therefore benefit from the defence of qualified privilege of a duty to publish. They were also either true or their honest opinions.

[3] Accordingly, Mr Stringer’s claims all fail….

[10] By early 2015, there were persistent leaks of Board information to the media and, in particular, to Whale Oil, then one of the most read blogs in New Zealand. It is now clear, including by Mr Stringer’s admissions under cross-examination at trial, that Mr Stringer had been feeding information to the Deputy Editor of Whale Oil, Mr Pete Belt, from at least 15 November 2014…

[11] On 28 February 2015, in chairing a Board meeting, Mr Dobbs reminded Board members of their confidentiality obligations. All Board members, including Mr Stringer, re-signed the Party’s Code of Conduct which said, among other things, that “[a]ll media correspondence with regard to The Conservative Party of NZ business must be issued through the Party Leader, President or Press Secretary”.They also all signed a confidentiality agreement …

[12] Despite this, on 5 March 2015, Mr Stringer provided further suggestions to Mr Belt about possible stories regarding the Conservative Party…

Feel free to say you approached me, “but he declined to comment, citing Board confidentialities” but did say there were some widespread concerns over various matters the Party was seeking to resolve as amicably as possible.

In all other respects, cite “A Party member.” (Don’t mention Board as source). Is it better that we chat?

Stringer sent a text to Jordan Williams:

Pathetic jellyfish on Board wouldn’t even agree to release stmnt accepting CCs resignation last night. Done with them. Going nuclear. Time to carpet bomb the Colin Craig cult compound, make sure this clown doesn’t come back …

Getting so drawn into this now; and WO and I are gonna take him on if he goes us legally; wod kinda like opportunity to actually site the folders if at all possible, read the texts. I’m only responding to hearsay and accusations so far.

More from the judgment:

[19] On 21 June 2015, Mr Stringer emailed Mr Watkin at TV3, saying Whale Oil had a “‘nuclear bomb’ re Colin and may disclose this week”

So Stringer, Williams, Pete Belt and Cameron Slater were all involved to various extents at Whale Oil.

[102] It is simply not credible that Mr Stringer did not understand the effect of feeding information to Mr Belt. Mr Stringer was sending emails to Mr Belt about scandalous topics of current interest. Mr Stringer is an experienced political operative. His wife attested to that. 

A person of Mr Stringer’s experience with the media would have expected that the information and allegations he was sending Mr Belt would end up on the Whale Oil blog. I do not believe his protestations to the contrary. Indeed, his email of 26 February 2015 was explicit in asking Mr Belt to “hold off publication” because of a “witch-hunt” due to a previous Whale Oil post. Mr Stringer’s email to Mr Belt of 21 June 2015 said “not for publication yet, lets wait for Magic Hands replies”. And despite Ms Rankin expressing to him her outrage about the Walden report being leaked to Whale Oil, Mr Stringer continued to feed stories to Mr Belt, as he had leaked that report. 

It was entirely foreseeable that providing salacious allegations and confidential information to the Deputy Editor of the Whale Oil blog would result in it ending up on that blog. I consider the evidence establishes Mr Stringer knew full well what he was doing when he emailed Mr Belt. He was providing a stream of leaked information and damaging allegations about Mr Craig for possible publication on the Whale Oil blog, including when he was a member of the Board of the Conservative Party. He was working with Whale Oil to attack and undermine Mr Craig.

[159] If successful, Mr Stringer sought declarations, damages, aggravating damages and, apparently, punitive damages against the defendants, amounting to a total of over $3.5 million dollars. I agree with the point Mr Akel offered in submission, that it is too late for Mr Stringer to put punitive damages under s 28 of the Act in issue, when he failed to do so in his pleading. I also accept Mr Akel’s point that Mr Stringer’s own conduct would be relevant to any damages award if he were successful. He provided a link to, and argued against the booklet, republished the three Party updates on his own blog and even used the term “Judas” as a heading for one of his own cartoons on his blog.And I accept the defendants’ submission that the amounts claimed are divorced from reality. But, as it is, Mr Stringer has not succeeded in any of his claims.

[161] Mr Stringer’s suit was misconceived. I dismiss his claim.

The public accusations against Colin Craig that destroyed the already failed Conservative Party led to a number of defamation trials that have kept courts busy for years.

This all blew up in 2015, driven by Cameron Slater and the Whale Oil blog, with Jordan Williams supplying information he had access to in confidence, Williams deemed the public good justified breaching that confidence, but dirty politics and self interest seemed to be prominent.

The ‘public good’ seemed to be an attempt to destroy the Conservative Party (it succeeded), or to oust Craig as leader and install different leadership.

Slater and Whale Oil also tried to have Auckland mayor Len Brown deposed just after the 2013 election with what amounted to a series of sleazy attacks. Brown served his term and then stood down.

Following a flurry of accusations and counter attack from Craig, Williams went to court and had a big win (awarded 1.27 million by a jury) against Craig, but that has been set aside after legal challenges and appeals, and was finally settled last December: Colin Craig receives apology, compensation from Jordan Williams

A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams.

In the first High Court case, a jury had found overwhelmingly for Williams and awarded him $1.27 million in damages – a record for defamation awards in New Zealand.

But the Supreme Court found the High Court jury had been materially misdirected and the case should be run again.

“My options are to settle, however much it sticks in the throat, go bankrupt, or incur huge debt to fight on,” said Williams.

“With the comments the appeal judges have made about limits to damages in defamation, no one rational would go for the retrial.”

On Tuesday, Craig sent out a press release saying he’d received a full apology and a payment from Williams, after Williams admitted making false allegations about him.

It means a retrial of a case in which Williams accused Craig of defamation will not go ahead.

“I wish to apologise publicly for the untrue statements I have made about Mr Craig,” the apology from Williams said.

Now John Stringer loses defamation court battle against former Conservative party leader Colin Craig

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has won a legal defamation battle with the party’s ex-board member John Stringer.

During a High Court trial in August 2019, Stringer claimed the booklet – Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas – sent to 1.6m households by Craig and his wife Helen in July 2015, hurt his political aspirations.

He took the Craigs to court for defamation, as well as Stephen Taylor, who moderated the booklet, and party officials Angela Storr and Kevin Stitt, who emailed supporters updates about Stringer and the booklet.

At the trial, Stringer claimed the booklet was designed to defame him “to as wide an audience as possible” and alleged he was involved in a “dirty politics conspiracy”.

Stringer also used Whale Oil in the stoush and afterwards so yeah.

In 2016, Stringer ran for a Christchurch City Council seat in the Papanui ward, but lost to current councillor Mike Davidson.

He claimed members of the public subsequently told him “that Colin Craig stuff” hurt his campaign.

Before the 2017 general election, Stringer was actively considered by NZ First as a potential candidate in South Canterbury’s Rangitata electorate.

However, Stringer said the person organising his candidacy later said the party wanted to withdraw it, “because I was one of those dirty politics brigade fellows”.

In a recently-released judgement on the matter, Justice Matthew Palmer found the Craigs were covered by qualified privilege for their statements as they were made in response to Stringer attacking them.

“The force and vigour of their responses were not out of proportion to his, were not made in bad faith and were made for the purpose for which the privilege is accorded.”

Their statements were factual, with the exception of one, he said.

“Their defamatory statements of opinion were their genuine opinions and based on facts that were true or not materially different from the truth.”

He added that as moderator of the booklet, Taylor was technically the publisher of the defamatory statements when it came to the law.

However, the defence of qualified privilege and truth and honest opinion protected him also.

As it was Storr and Stitt’s duty to communicate with party members, they were also protected.

Justice Palmer dismissed Stringer’s defamation claim, which he said was “misconceived”.

I think there was a lot ‘misconceived’ in the attack on Craig and his counter attack.

Williams must be out of pocket by a substantial amount.

Slater is bankrupt due to multiple defamation failures (he appeared to see defamation as a money making scheme, especially after the original award in Williams’ favour when Slater launched into his own case against Craig.

Craig made now monetary claim against Stringer who was already not in a position to pay anything.

Dirty politics via Whale Oil has been an expensive own goal for a number of people using the blog to attack people.

Judgment: Stringer v Craig [2020] NZHC 644 (3 April 2020)

 

Winston Peters has more explanations than photos

Explanations from Winston Peters over who took photos and video of journalists and gave them to The BFD attack blog continue to change.

He originally said on Magic Talk Radio “we took the photographs”…”to prove that was the sort of behaviour going on”.

He later tweeted a different variation:

“NZF has no interest in following Mr Espiner or any other journalists. The very reverse applies. No private investigators have been engaged to follow Mr Espiner or anyone else. A supporter thought it odd seeing ex-president Lester Grey with Mr Espiner so took a photo. Simple.”

Yesterday he tweeted what appeared to be emphatic, but it didn’t actually refute the “we” and “a supporter” claims.

Let there be no doubt that after caucus today I can confirm no NZ First Minister or MP sent any photos to any website.

I think that no one thought that a Minister or MP was directly involved in taking the photos or giving them to The BFD, so this is nothing but (typical) bluster from Peters.

From NZ First Leader Winston Peters denies his MPs sent covert photos to far-right blog (NZH):

This morning, Peters would not answer media questions about the photos.

Instead, he directed reporters to an interview he did with Magic Talk earlier that day.

“I don’t know anything about it, and I’m not responsible for it,” he said of the photos.

This sounds similar to his claims he knew nothing about the NZ First Foundation but also claimed to know exactly how they had handled donations.

Speaking to Magic Talk again today, Peters said he had “no idea” how the photos and the videos ended up on the blog.

“I’m a busy man, I’m flat out – I’m not wasting my time with this. I have no idea who did what or when.”

So another variation. Of course he doesn’t want to answer questions about this. But fudging and playing music clips and trying to make a joke of it doesn’t reduce the seriousness of NZ First connections to The BFD.

It’s been obvious that Whale Oil and it’s replacement The BFD have been shilling for Peters and NZ First for three years, since before the last election.

Prior to being a Peters promoter Cameron Slater had been a dirty critic of Peters and NZ First. The sudden switch to doing dirty work for NZ First of course raises suspicions of why.

It’s also well known that Winston’s friend, NZ First Party lawyer and NZ First Foundation trustee Brian Henry represented Slater in defamation proceedings and will have clocked up big legal bills of some sort. That raises some obvious (unanswered) questions.

The “dirty Politics’ book provided evidence that Whale Oil was paid to attack a variety of people in the past, and that Simon Lusk was involved both in making payments to Whale Oil, and ghost writing attack posts that appeared under Slater’s name.

Since the journalist photos were used in an attack post both Slater and Lusk have suddenly been named several times at The BFD, they seem to be bragging about finally getting some media attention for one of their hit jobs.

But their ongoing attacks just draw attention to how the core Dirty Politics crew are back in action, how compromised Peters and NZ First are over this connection. No amount of shifting stories and shifty non-explanations will reduce the dirty stench.

The ongoing antics at The BFD, apart from keeping the ‘look at how dirty we are’ in the spotlight’, keeps emphasising their complicity with NZ First, which keeps Peters squirming and ducking.


And on cue Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary has just posted again, revisiting Hager and Dirty Politics and attacking media yet again. He mentions ‘Media Party’ more often than Peters did recently.

At least the National party has finally found a willing coalition partner, the Media Party, led by Guyon Espiner with Sean Plunket as the communications director.

All they need now is some candidates and a logo.

That’s very funny from someone who, sort of anonymously, is openly now doing the dirty work for a party that already has a logo and candidates.

Is he out of control? Or is this all with the approval of Peters? Either way it’s a political cluster fuck.

Slater, Lusk connection to The BFD confirmed

After staying under cover for a year Cameron Slater has started to openly comment and post at The BFD. And Simon Lusk’s association with the blog has also been as good as confirmed.

When Whale Oil was shut down and The BFD started up in February last year they tried to distance Slater from the new business, to try to avoid legal and financial problems – Slater had just declared himself bankrupt, and the company that owned Whale Oil, Social Media Consultants Limited had been put into liquidation. Just before liquidation Slater was removed as director and shareholder, leaving his wife Juana Atkins as sole director and shareholder.

Slater didn’t openly contribute to The BFD, but Atkins was had a prominent role under her pseudonyms SB and ‘spanish bride’. The content and style of some of her posts had a Slater look to them.

The pro-NZ First and anti-National agenda that Slater had been running at Whale Oil gradually emerged at the BFD, with familiar styles and targets.

Posts started to appear under the name Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary (who uses a photo of explorer Xavier Mertz who died in Antarctic in 1913), They had a similar style to some of the Whale Oil posts that had appeared under Slater’s name. And they continued the anti-National and pro-NZ First agenda.

A recent post by Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary got attention because it used photos taken by ‘a NZ First supporter’ who Winston Peters had initially referred to as ‘we’. This post was typical WO style dirty politics, attacking journalists and threatening them with legal repercussions. More posts from the same author have followed, attacking a number of other journalists and media.

Last week Slater posted under his own name for I think the first time at The BFD.

I Just Had to Let It Go

On the morning of October 28 2018, just four days from my 50th birthday, I awoke to find my life changed dramatically. As I travelled to hospital by ambulance I felt confused, sad, despondent and very, very angry. I didn’t know what the future would deliver anymore, my whole life was in tatters as a result of a stroke.

His life was already in tatters, facing massive court case losses and costs as his attempts to avoid being held to account for attack agendas ran out of options. The stroke just added to this mess, and the stress of his predicament may have contributed to it.

The rest of the  was available to subscribers only, so the need to encourage subscriptions seemed to be greater than the wish to getting his story out.

Another attack post by Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary yesterday –  Where Was Andrea Vance When Rawshark HACKED a Journalist? – was much the same as many past laments about the Dirty Politics exposure. It looked like a Slater post.

And in comments where someone may have been getting close to a sensitive topic Slater commented in response.

His denials can be taken with a grain of salt, as can his accusations aimed at National.

Today at The BFD is yet another attack on Paula Bennett in The BFD Face of the Day

Most of it is same old smear sort of stuff, but one paragraph stands out as significant.

This week she stated publicly that she and National have nothing to do with experienced political operator Simon Lusk and ex Whaleoil editor Cameron Slater. She is telling the truth because both of them have a no dickheads policy.

Apart from the hilarious ‘no dickheads’ irony, this appears to confirm that the old dirty partnership of Slater and Lusk is openly operating at The BFD.

This doesn’t help Winston Peters or NZ First, who have been getting a hammering for working with The BFD to run dirty politics attacks on media.

The new look Whale Oil – as it should be

A new look to whaleoil.co.nz

A well deserved response. It’s worth reading all of Chapter 27, but here’s the final say:


Since the publication of Whale Oil, the book, there’s no question Matt’s life has changed. He is now generally perceived for who he is, and no longer for what Slater’s blog said he was, and he reaps the benefits of that every day, every time he gets a new client, every time someone reads the book and sends him a friendly message. And yet the exercise of holding Slater to account was, he says, a kamikaze effort. Winning against Slater in the High Court, finding justice for himself, was a massive victory but whether he can claw his way back to financial stability and to a sense of peacefulness for his family remains an open question.

I know he’s doing it tough. I probably know it better than anyone outside his family, after my four years of almost daily contact with this indefatiguable man; yet I can’t believe he won’t do what he always does: tough it out, battle through, do something audacious that will — somehow — save the day.

And so we arrive back at this masterstroke – this takeover of the whaleoil blogsite. What’s in it for Matt? Why would he bother? The toxic stuff once written up here about him is long gone, thanks to Matt’s efforts through the courts. The whaleoil site itself is worth nothing now, but it’s also worth everything.

All those other people, the ones who like Matt were slandered, bullied and humiliated on that blog over all those years — the horrible stories about them are still out there, recurrent reminders of vicious attacks. People like the woman I interviewed who was still too shaky to tell me what had happened but who simply googled herself and silently showed me the result on her phone; people like Scott Poynting, who knows that anyone googling him runs immediately into the whaleoil accusations against him. There are many, many such people.

All of that will — after Matt’s won the required court orders — be gone. Because the internet never goes away they will never be completely destroyed, but they will be gone from casual searches.

All the nasty stories, the lies and the taunts, will be pulled down.

This site — whaleoil.co.nz — now serves as a perpetual memorial to the injustices inflicted on all those people, and to Matt’s long battle to curtail falsity, bullying and manipulation.

That is a very fine ending.

Click here to get a copy of Whale Oil by margie thomson

Dermot Nottingham appeals fail, sentence increased

The original 12 month home detention sentence (three and a half of which has been served) and 100 hours community work has been quashed, and replaced with a new sentence of 12 months home detention presumably beginning from the appeal judgment made last week. He has been banned again from using the Internet for 18 months.

After being charged in 2015 and following numerous delays Dermot Nottingham went to trial last year and was found guilty by a jury of five criminal harassment charges and two breaches of court suppression orders.  He was sentenced in July 2018.

Nottingham appealed both the conviction and sentence, and the Crown also appealed the sentence, claiming it was ‘manifestly inadequate’.  Nottingham has lost both of his appeals, and the sentence has been increased, but again by a judicial whisker he has avoided a prison sentence.

NZ Herald: Blogger’s convictions for ‘malicious and misogynistic attacks’ on former MP, business people stick

Auckland’s Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey said at Nottingham’s sentencing the breaches were an “attack on the High Court”.

Judge Jonathan Down also categorised the breaches as “blatant and contemptuous” and noted Nottingham showed no remorse.

In one instance he sent one of his victims a scene from the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, which showed a person being shot in the head.

He can be very nasty, and has attacked many people over the last decade. The charges were laid were deemed representative of the worst examples, but that’s debatable, I have heard claims of despicable attacks (disclosure –  Nottingham has attacked me extensively including trying unsuccessfully to prosecute and imprison me, which was part vindictiveness, part an attempt to concoct a defence for the charges he faced).

All of Nottingham’s harassment victims have been granted permanent name suppression.

The Crown also alleged various other acts of harassment, including “following”, and in one case initiating a private prosecution.

I’m ware of private prosecutions against seven people or companies. These all failed, and after hundreds of thousands of dollars of court costs were awarded against him Nottingham with no attempt made to pay them Nottingham was adjudicated bankrupt in September 2018.

Nottingham, who represented himself, had also called former Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater to give evidence and argued at his trial that his “articles” were covered by freedom of expression rights.

Slater has also been implicated in making use of the notorious attack website that Nottingham was found to have been the main user of. From his sentencing notes last year “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…” – see “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

Nottingham and Slater have been associated in a number of legal proceedings (including the attempted prosecution of myself and three others), but others have also been involved and aided and abetted, including his brothers Phillip and Antony, Marc Spring and Earle McKinney.

During his appeal, Nottingham argued his convictions should be quashed because the blog site was based overseas.

“You cannot be a party to a crime that never occurred in an overseas jurisdiction,” he said.

So he didn’t deny attacking and defaming people on the website, he just claimed he was immune from new Zealand law.

However, in his summing-up at the trial, Judge Down said: “Even if the main parts of a crime are committed abroad, if you do something to further that crime, and you have done it in New Zealand, that crime, the whole thing can be prosecuted in New Zealand.”

The Court of Appeal judges, Justice John Wild, Justice Susan Thomas and Justice Matthew Muir, agreed.

“We identify no error in that direction,” they said.

Slater’s “unambiguous position” was it was impossible to do anything online which did not leave “footprints everywhere”, the Court of Appeal decision reads.

Despite this, the Court of Appeal sided with the Crown’s position that the circumstantial evidence relied on was “very strong, if not overwhelming”.

It included text messages and internet history showing Nottingham was trying to obtain and research information about the Dudley case, particularly the names of the defendants.

While a police search of computers Nottingham had access to identified several key court documents, including the judge’s sentencing notes, witness statements and a witness list.

Seven hours before publication of the blog, Nottingham also wrote to the police officer heading the inquiry with the subject line: “Report I Am authoring on the Dudley killing”.

The Court of Appeal said much of the harassment material “could at best be described as virulent opinion with only a tangential connection to anything arguably true”.

In other words, Nottingham attacked people making false accusations and assertions, something I have seen a lot of in emails and court documents.

“As the Crown said in closing, the posts were littered with ‘hate-filled [invective]’ and were strongly misogynistic,” the judges said.

In calculating the sentence the Court of Appeal judges arrived at 31 months’ imprisonment – about 30 per cent higher than Judge Down’s end point.

However, in re-sentencing Nottingham, the trio of judges was “obliged” to take into account the three and a half months of home detention he had already served.

“Allowing a seven-month discount in this respect again brings Mr Nottingham’s sentence to a level where the court is obliged to consider home detention.”

If that had been the original sentence last year Nottingham would have ended up in prison.

The court quashed the existing, part-served, sentence and imposed a new 12 months’ home detention term, plus the 100 hours of community work for the suppression breach.

Nottingham’s special conditions also remained, and include not using any electronic device capable of accessing the internet without prior approval from a probation officer.

I take from this that the new 12 months home detention term begins from last week’s appeal judgment. And I presume there remains a further 6 month Internet ban after that, which would run through to early 2021.

At least this and his bankruptcy (after he took nearly a year to file a statement of affairs he is due to be discharged from bankruptcy on 11 September 2022) should limit his capability to attack and harass people online should also restrict his habit of vexatious litigation.

Nottingham and his gang of online thugs remain unrepentant and a lot of defamatory attack material remains online, but that poses more risks to him than anyone. I think at least one legal proceeding continues against Nottingham for posts done years ago.

Will Nottingham try to appeal this new sentence in the Supreme Court? On past behaviour he may like to try, but the Official Assignee may make that difficult if not impossible. I need to find out, because bizarrely suppression on aspects of the failed case against me continues until his case has reached a final resolution.

When more details are available online in the judgment I will do a post on that.


Many judgments with suppression involved or from the District are not published online, but here is a reference to some of those that are:

Nottingham v Maltese Cat Limited [2019] NZCA 246 (24 June 2019)

That is just back to 2015, Nottingham has a long legal history.

I think in all but one of those Nottingham lost his case.

There is one appeal he won, where a High Court judge supported a District Court judge ruling that Nottingham was in contempt of Court, but due to the judge not following procedures correctly the finding was set aside.

Whale Oil scuttled

The crew announced yesterday that they were scuttling the Whale Oil blog – It’s the End of an Era…and the start of a new one.

It’s certainly the end of an era, but far too soon to know whether it’s the start of a new one, or whether the transfer to another site and brand will rescue some fizz, or continue their fizzling out of significance. The final post by SB/spanish bride/Juana Atkins suggests that it will be the same old self delusion and denial.

It has been nearly 15 years since Whaleoil’s creator and editor Cameron Slater posted his first post. During that time Whaleoil became New Zealand’s number one most popular and most-read blog. It has won numerous blog awards including a Canon Media Award for Best Blog and to date, it has had two works of fiction written about it.

The site won  couple of contentious awards, but that was five to six years ago, before the scab was lifted by Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics (which was mostly uncontested fact), and Whale Oil was quickly (and Cameron Slater gradually) deserted by most politicians and media that had helped build and sustain the brash and dirty site.

The second ‘work of fiction’ presumably refers to Margie Thomson’s book Whale Oil that was published in May this year. That revealed a decade long campaign against businessman Matt Blomfield, including over a hundred attack attack posts on Whale Oil, which led to six years of Slater trying to avoid a trial before a judge found that he had no defence to a number of charges of defamation. So the fiction writer is Atkins.

Inevitably as the dirty trade and tirades were exposed things turned to custard for Slater, since Dirty Politics started the exposure in 2014.

Journalists no longer fed or repeated Whale Oil.

Politicians stopped using and feeding Slater – and Slater gradually turned on those who had fed him, as well as running bitter campaigns against Key, against Bill English, Stephen Joyce, Amy Adams, Michael Woodhouse et al – and that’s just from the National Party.

Three defamation cases converged in the second half of last year, with Blomfield winning his case, Colin Craig partially winning, and three academics pushing Slater to comply with legal requirements to disclose information aall in October 2018. The month ended with Slater suffering from a stroke. The severity of that is being disputed in the courts as what Slater’s supporters claimed conflicted with what Slater appeared to be doing.

Legal costs amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not a million or more, with the prospects of that growing to multi millions of dollars of debt.

In February this year Slater filed for bankruptcy. The company he had jointly owned with Atkins was put into liquidation, owing over half a million dollars. A new company was set up to continue running Whale Oil, but that was only going to delay the inevitable.

From the First Liquidator’s Report (29 March 2019)

The liquidator took over as registrar of whaleoil.co.nz on 10 June – see here. So it was a matter of time before Whale Oil ceased operations (they tried shifting to another domain name but that seems to have been futile).

From yesterday’s announcement:

Whaleoil was so influential that shadowy forces conspired to take it down and a hacker was paid to hack it.

What actually happened was a number of people held Slater and his company to account through the courts. The three defamation cases had a common target but were quite separate.

I have seen no evidence that “a hacker was paid to hack it” – ironically Slater was charged with (and admitted) paying a hacker to try to take down The Standard, but accusing others of doing what they did was common practice at Whale Oil.

Slater and Whale Oil attacks targeted and affected hundreds of people nd their families and associates. Not just MPs and Prime Ministers, but also people standing for National Party candidacy – I recall dirty tactics in the Northland and Rodney electorates for example, which appear to have been paid for hit jobs.

Len Brown and his family (and Bevan Chuang) were adversely affected by an attempt by Slater to overturn the 2013 mayoral election in 2013.

Families of dead people were attacked, most notably the West Coast feral incident which may be related to the hack that resulted in Dirty Politics being published.

There is a long list of victims of Whale Oil, and of Slater and associates including Atkins who continued some divisive attack posting, including support of international far right operators.

While there were some notable successes and achievements, Slater and Whale Oil will mostly be remembered for being dirty and toxic, and for crashing and burning while blaming others for their self inflicted predicaments.

The new site will lose the brand and probably quite a bit of recognition and support, but will carry with it the dirt and the failures of Whale Oil.more on that in another post.

Other coverage:

The Spinoff: RIP Whaleoil.net.nz (2005-2019): the blog that turned NZ politics feral

It is customary to say kind words about a person or entity when they leave this world forever. So what then can one say about Whaleoil, the blog which in 2014 described a victim of a car crash as a “feral”?

So farewell Whaleoil.net.nz. If it is to be remembered for anything, let it be for making politics a crueler, and more viscerally hateful arena. May we never see its like again.

RNZ: Whaleoil ends after 15 years of political blogs

The right-wing blog Whaleoil has closed in the wake of its parent company going bust, defamation cases and its controversial founder Cameon Slater suffering a stroke.

Whaleoil has been running for 15 years. It was the subject of the 2014 book Dirty Politics by the investigative journalist Nicky Hager, which detailed its close links with some National MPs in running smear campaigns against political opponents.

NZ Herald: The end of the Whaleoil blog – from an outlet for depression to financial pressure and court battles

The Whaleoil blog has shut down, bringing an end to an online publishing effort which began as an outlet for mental health issues – and ended in infamy and financial failure.

A number of people involved in the blog, or linked to it, did not wish to comment when contacted. National MP Judith Collins, who has described Slater as a family friend and was revealed in Dirty Politics to have passed information to Slater, did not respond to an interview request.

Neither Slater nor wife Juana Atkins responded to requests for comment.

Hager welcomed the final post as “positive for New Zealand politics”.

“The Whaleoil blog was incredibly destructive and hurt many, many people who didn’t deserve it and was part of an era of particularly ugly politics and we should rejoice it is finally gone.”

Kiwiblog: Vale Whale Oil

The end of one era but the start of a new one. I wish them well.

David Farrar loyal to the end, which is a bit odd given Whale Oil’s campaigning against Bill English and National, and their ongoing campaign against Simon Bridges .

Comments from other National supporters at Kiwiblog:

Tony Stuart

WO (the blog, not the individual) has been shilling for Bridges to be replaced for more than a year. As a paid-up party member, I can’t see it happening.

Bridges has emerged from the party conference last weekend in good form, with the party vote still holding up at 45%. I am almost certain that would drop if Bridges was rolled as leader. As much as I respect Judith Collins as a politician, I don’t believe she is the right person to be leading National at the moment.

peterwn

Most of the shilling has come from SB. I do not recollect her shilling against Simon when Cam was active. Is she taking instructions from Cam’s sick-bed?

Tony Stuart

Highly likely, I would think.

The Standard: Later Whaleoil

I wonder if this is strategic?  And I wonder how creditors feel about this announcement?  I am sure they will be interested that there is a proper amount paid for any IP the Whaleoil site may have.

While Whale Oil may have waxed, waned and now withered from public view there is likely to be more unravelling in the background.


Legal facts you won’t see on Whale Oil:

 

“Bankruptcy is a joke” – Slater

Cameron Slater filed for bankruptcy in February in response to mounting legal debts in multiple defamation proceedings against him. He (via his lawyer Brian Henry) has also tried to use that bankruptcy to try to avoid complying with Court orders in one ongoing defamation case, but Palmer J didn’t agree:

On 20 March 2019, I ordered this proceeding to continue against Mr Slater despite his bankruptcy, under a wide discretion in s 76(2) of the Insolvency Act 2006 (the Act).

I now make it explicit under that discretion and/or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to supervise proceedings before it. That means Mr Slater must comply with the court orders irrespective of Mr Henry’s argument about the effect of his bankruptcy. Further argument is not required.

I regard Mr Henry’s submission about the different legal personalities of a bankrupt and a bankrupt estate as a nice academic issue.

I would expect a bankrupt continues to be personally responsible for the discharge of duties in legal
proceedings which are purely personal in nature and unrelated to any property interest of the bankrupt.

The issue here is whether Mr Slater’s bankruptcy necessarily negates the need to comply with the Court’s orders to date. Irrespective of the default legal effect created by Mr Slater’s bankruptcy, I consider it need not and that it does not.

– see judgment CIV-2016-404-1312 [2019] NZHC 1666

In May 2014 Slater posted Bankruptcy is just a joke, really

Bankruptcy is like a toothless tiger that benefits the bankrupt more than the victims.

The number of times bankrupts hide assets and continue to operate companies by using a puppet on the paperwork is so frequent as to make the process of being in bankruptcy pretty much meaningless.

Use of trusts, partners or girlfriends to “own” things and plain hiding of assets from the Official Assignee are very common.

What isn’t common is for bankrupts to be prosecuted for this behaviour.

It is good to see this may be changing.

See (Stuff):  Whale Oil company previously owned by Cameron Slater goes into liquidation

And: Whale Oil company put into liquidation after rearrangements

In June 2014 Slater (Whale Oil) followed up with An insiders view of bankruptcy and insolvency in NZ

I read your blog from time to time and also tend to pick up pieces you run on insolvency type issues such as the one you ran recently titled “Bankruptcy is a Joke.”

I am in my 50s and have pretty well been part of the insolvency industry in NZ since the day I walked out of Uni all those years ago. I thought I would post a few pieces to you on insolvency to explain how it works and why we have so many issues in this area

By far the bulk of liquidations in NZ are voluntary appointments by shareholders. 75% of shareholders can vote to put a company into liquidation and appoint a named liquidator. If the liquidator consents to appointment then they are appointed.

There are two ways to get work as a liquidator, get clients who liquidate companies and get them seeking your consent to be liquidator or offer a service whereby shareholders can put their companies into liquidation (voluntary liquidation), or a mixture of both. Voluntary liquidations are by far the easier option.

But how do you sell yourself? – “Appoint me as liquidator and I will come after your company’s assets, the current account you owe and I will turn over those transactions where your mates got paid but others didn’t.” Not a great way to promote business.

On the other hand – “appoint me and I will just sit back and do bugger all. I will turn a blind eye to the transactions that have occurred and I will accept your weak ass explanations about how your current account had been paid back.” That is the dilemma facing a lot of liquidators who rely on voluntary appointments to make a living. Do I kick ass and lose business or do I go easy and get more business.

Some liquidators seem to do a good job some of the time but turn a blind eye at other times. Other liquidators are extremely active in providing a service to defeat creditors. They achieve this by simply doing nothing. They dismiss creditor enquiry and bury the company.

How can you deal with this? They are currently looking to regulate the industry and to have accountability back to an umbrella organisation. Will this work. I am sceptical, we already have chartered accountants doing liquidations who are under the supervision of NZICA with little in the way of holding errant liquidators to account. I actually don’t disagree with the powers liquidators have. They can get nearly any information they want, they can compel people to attend upon them and they don’t need to answer to anyone outside of reporting obligations.

The last thing a liquidator needs is people holding up a process of selling assets that wont cover everyone’s debt in full or even any of the debt. They need the freedom to do the job. But, and I think this is where the problem lies, the power granted to liquidators assumes that they are professionals with high integrity who will do the job properly, unfortunately I don’t think that is the case in all instances.

In the case of the liquidation of Social Media Consultants I expect the liquidator will do a professional job, although they may be constrained by the amount of funds available to pay for their services unless there are sufficient assets.

On Whale Oil on 6 June 2016: Rodney Hide on insolvency and the wild west of the industry

Rodney Hide writes in the NBR of the gobsmacking arrogance of the Official Assignee, the lack of accountability and the general parlous state of insolvency.

I have also been investigating several liquidators and I know of one who has recovered millions from debtors and also banked millions in fees leaving a few cents in the dollar for aggrieved creditors.

The whole industry appears peppered with former bankrupts, banned directors and convicted criminals.

The Official Assignee office is frankly tits at their work.

The whole industry is filled with ratbags and run like the wild west.

As I said the whole industry is filled from top to bottom with people who are little better than mafia stand over merchants.

On Whale Oil on 20 June 2016: Alarming incompetence at the Insolvency Service

One thing I admire about Rodney Hide, is that he sticks by his mates. But this story highlights some dreadful incompetence at the Insolvency Service. This is not an isolated case. I am sitting on files of equally alarming incompetence in the Auckland office of the Official Assignee.

It is so bad in some instances it might well be considered corruption, such is the inaction on several bankruptcies and the carry-on of the bankrupts.

It?s not that one officer with one decision screwed up. The very guidelines for their staff are based on the wrong law.

The minister should by rights have an independent inquiry into the Insolvency Service?s failure to stick within its own statute. I could help him. Indeed, I have enough in my own file to make his eyes water. I stand ready to serve.

As will I.

Slater has shown more interest in trying to serve his own interests.

But that didn’t work out for him in the current defamation case. I doubt he will be seeing bankruptcy as such a joke now.

Time will tell how his bankruptcy, his liquidation, and his blog will fare.

Sellman (and others) versus Slater (and others) – Slater and his lawyer want out

Another defamation proceeding involving Cameron Slater that is encountering persistent delays – this case starting in mid-2016, and three years later still looks a long way off going to trial.

(The Matt Blomfield versus Slater and Social Media Consultants defamation started after a series of posts on the Whale Oil website in 2012, and while Slater was last year found by a court to have no defence damages won’t be dealt with until next year. Colin Craig versus Slater began in mid-2015 and is still going).

Newsroom: Lawyer: Let me off Whaleoil case

In October last year and again in March, Justice Palmer decided Slater and Graham had provided insufficient answers to questions from the medical academics’ lawyers and needed to do so, both in writing and by turning up to court personally for face to face interviews.

Slater has not done so. On his behalf, Henry has argued Slater had two medical opinions saying he was too ill to continue with the case. Then he argued the personal bankruptcy meant the defamation action should be halted and any action that survived ought to be against the Official Assignee as legal custodian of Slater’s property and finances.

In March, Justice Palmer used his discretion to order the case would go on, despite the bankruptcy. The plaintiffs then sought orders forcing Slater to comply and making him respond in writing to their application.

In April Justice Palmer decided there was no “medical evidence on the basis of which I could be satisfied Mr Slater was then incapacitated so that I could appoint a litigation guardian for him.”

The judge regarded Henry’s arguments about the different legal personalities of a bankrupt and the bankrupt’s estate as “a nice academic issue” but decided “I would expect a bankrupt continues to be personally responsible for the discharge of duties in legal proceedings which are purely personal in nature and unrelated to any property interest of the bankrupt” and “no further argument is required.”

Now, in his eighth judgment on these matters, delivered on Tuesday, he says Slater is either actually too ill to continue – in which case either a “litigation guardian” should be appointed or a proper court hearing on his illness and examination of his medical evidence needs to be held – or Slater simply does not want to want to do so. “In which case, he must face the consequences of the plaintiff’s current application.”

The judgment yesterday details the latest court saga:

[1] In this proceeding, three medical professionals sue Mr Cameron Slater, and other defendants, for defamation…

The proceeding

[5] This proceeding was commenced three years ago, in mid-2016. The plaintiffs are three medical professionals, Dr Doug Sellman, Dr Boyd Swinburn and Mr Shane Bradbrook. They sue Mr Slater who they allege defamed them in a series of blog posts on his Whale Oil website. They also sue Mr Carrick Graham and his company Facilitate Communications Ltd (FCL) for defaming them in comments on the posts. And they sue Mrs Katherine Rich and the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council Ltd (NZFGC) for allegedly procuring Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL to publish the substance and sting of the alleged defamation.

Slater’s lawyer Brian Henry is now claiming that due to a stroke suffered in late October 2018 Slater is unable to give him instructions, but had given him instructions on some matters that suited Slater. And Henry wanted the court to excuse him from representing Slater, but he has continued to represent him on a personal basis anyway.

It’s a messy situation for Henry, made worse by Slater filing for bankruptcy in February.

Slater and his family are claiming that he should no longer participate in the proceedingsfor health and stress reasons.

The state of play up until this judgment:

[1}…In an interlocutory judgment of 23 November 2018, I ordered Mr Slater to provide further particular discovery and to attend court to be orally examined. Since then, Mr Henry, for Mr Slater, has: applied for a temporary stay on the basis Mr Slater’s medical condition prevented him giving  instructions; foreshadowed an intention to apply for appointment of a litigation guardian; advised of Mr Slater’s bankruptcy; and advised that he has instructions to oppose new applications but that Mr Slater no longer defends the substantive proceeding.

[2] The plaintiffs have applied for orders that Mr Slater comply with the court orders for discovery and oral examination or be held in contempt of court. Mr Henry now submits, on Mr Slater’s instructions, that Mr Slater is no longer a party to the proceeding or able to engage a solicitor, because he is bankrupt, and he seeks a formal hearing on that issue. Mr Henry also says there are medical reports from February 2019 confirming Mr Slater is unable to give evidence in court.

[3] On 20 March 2019, I ordered this proceeding to continue against Mr Slater despite his bankruptcy, under a wide discretion in s 76(2) of the Insolvency Act 2006 (the Act).

The full judgment may be of interest to legal geeks (I’m not a legal person but have acquired a habit of reading through legal judgments), but here I’ll skip to the middle:

[16] In Minute No 15 of 2 April 2019, I did not consider there was any medical evidence on the basis of which I could be satisfied Mr Slater was then incapacitated so that I could appoint a litigation guardian for him. I noted Mr Slater appeared to intend not to comply with the discovery and oral examination orders, made in the 23 November 2018 judgment, and that he had sought to avoid complying with them from 14 December 2018 by successively applying for a stay on medical grounds, indicating he would apply for appointment of a litigation guardian, withdrawing instructions from counsel, indicating he would take no steps and applying for bankruptcy.

So the judge is nu buying Slater’s claims without evidence.

And to the end.

[28] Section 76(2) of the Act provides that “on the application by any creditor or other person interested in the bankruptcy, the court may allow proceedings that had already begun before the date of adjudication to continue on the terms and conditions that the court thinks appropriate”. That is, if anything, wider than the court’s discretion in the predecessor section which was characterised by the High Court as wide.

[29] Under the discretion, on 20 March 2019, I ordered this proceeding to continue against Mr Slater. I consider it is an implicit term of that order that Mr Slater must comply with orders made against him in the proceeding, which was one of the reasons why the plaintiffs sought its continuation against him. If that was not sufficiently implicit, I now make it explicit under that discretion and/or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to supervise proceedings before it. That means Mr Slater must comply with the court orders irrespective of Mr Henry’s argument about the effect of his bankruptcy. Given that, I do not consider the court and the parties need to incur yet further delays from, and the expense of, argument about that issue. Further argument is not required.

[30] Mr Slater must comply with the orders personally if the Official Assignee cannot do so through the exercise of the Assignee’s powers. The order to be examined orally must be complied with by Mr Slater personally, subject to what I say below about his medical condition. If the Official Assignee has possession of, and control over, Mr Slater’s documents sufficient to discharge Mr Slater’s obligations under the discovery order then I request the Official Assignee to arrange compliance with that order. Otherwise, Mr Slater will need to comply with that obligation personally too.

Mr Slater’s medical condition

[33] In terms of Mr Slater’s medical condition, I identify three possibilities:

(a) either Mr Slater is incapacitated and not able to give instructions, in which case a litigation guardian must be appointed for him under r 4.30 of the High Court Rules 2016; or

(b) Mr Slater is able to give instructions but is not medically able to provide discovery and/or be orally examined, in which case medical evidence of that must be provided and tested if required in response to the plaintiffs’ current application to compel compliance or sanction for contempt; or

(c) Mr Slater is able to give instructions, is able to provide discovery and be orally examined but does not want to do so, in which case he must face the consequences of the plaintiffs’ current application.

[34] I assume that possibility (a) is not the case, because Mr Henry has most recently said he has instructions from Mr Slater. If, now or at some future point, Mr Henry were to tell me Mr Slater is incapacitated and not able to give instructions, then I would want to see an affidavit explaining the basis of such a statement and its consistency with the various statements made to me to date and I would consider appointing a litigation guardian under r 4.35 of the Rules.

[35] If possibility (b) or (c) is the case, Mr Slater will need to file a notice of opposition to the plaintiffs’ application to compel compliance or sanction for contempt, with any supporting affidavits, by 1 pm Monday 22 July 2019, if he wishes to oppose the application.

Doubts have been raised here about claims of how debilitating the stoke was. Slater was commenting on Whale Oil soon after his stroke. And this was posted on Whale Oil in April:

Having just spent a bit of time with the boss I can tell you a couple of things.

He’ll be back if he chooses to be.

The mans grit and fortitude are unbelievable.
We had a reasonably active weekend and he stayed the course and even after he’d already told me he was knackered he then walked another kilometer.

Then the bloke that had lost all use of his right arm a few short months ago and has only regained a portion of its use and is in constant pain, picks up his shotgun, takes 3 practice swings and then proceeds to blow 9 out of 10 clay pigeons out of the air using the 2nd barrel only once.
If I hadn’t seen it (and scored it) I wouldn’t have believed it.

Bloody amazing man.

See Slater active recovering from stroke. Not such an amazing man when it comes to court matters – unless that grit and fortitude is applied to avoidance.

But it looks like the current avoidance hasn’t been successful.

 [32] …I will be hearing the plaintiffs’ application to compel compliance or sanction for contempt at 10 am on Friday 26 July 2019.

So the case will proceed, with Slater required to front up or risks being found in contempt of court for not complying with legal requirements. That can be a serious matter.

A large bit of deceit at Whale Oil

Whale Oil continues to deceive their readers, most of whom are likely to know at least some of the truth despite repeated posts that defy reality. I think that SB (Juana Atkins) is unlikely to be totally ignorant of what numerous court judgments and media reports have revealed over the years, but SB continues to make claims that are at odds with what Cameron Slater and Whale Oil have done – and some of which she has been a party to.

Posted yesterday:  A Little Bit of Justice

As I write this post I am acutely aware of my bias.

She begins with a frank admission, but it all goes downhill from there.

My view of New Zealand’s justice system is totally skewed by the fact that people with deep pockets were able to drag my better half through the court system for more than 7 long years until he had a debilitating stroke from the stress at only 49 years old and was forced to declare himself bankrupt.

I think it’s fair to say that Slater brought a lot of stress upon himself. he had his stroke last October, when he had embroiled himself in the Jami Lee Ross saga, was dealing with finally having to front up in court in the seven year Blomfield defamation, had just been slammed by another judge in another ongoing defamation case – see More court costs for Slater and co-defendants in defamation entree, abandons appeal in another case – and had just got bad news in his defamation tit for tat versus Colin Craig – see Craig v Slater – the biggest losers.

When SB first fronted up about the stroke at Whale Oil in February she blamed reporters for causing stress:

Prior to this event Cam was perfectly fit and healthy with no predisposing stroke risk factors. Doctors have concluded that the cause of the stroke was entirely due to stress.

That doctor claim has been debunked in court. The claim of no predisposing stroke risk factors also looks questionable if not downright nonsense.

“7 long years” has to be referring to the defamation case against Slater, doggedly pursued by Matt Blomfield after Slater had run an attack campaign of over a hundred posts on Whale Oil based on the contents of a hard drive that Slater had obtained that contained a large amount of private, personal and business information – Judge Asher found the hard drive and other documents provided to Slater “appear to have been obtained illegitimately”.

Being right didn’t matter at the end of the day as it came down to who could last the longest.

‘Being right’ is a ludicrous claim. Slater was eventually found to have been wrong about many things, with a court finding in the end that he had no defence to false and defamatory  claims.

And it was Slater who dragged the proceedings out for so long, trying to avoid being held to account with many delays and failed appeals. Some of the delays and the copious amount of inadmissible ‘evidence’ can be put down to legal incompetence. He was helped by Dermot Nottingham, who has a very poor record in numerous legal proceedings. But some appears to have been deliberate tactics to wear down legal opponents and to inflict as much financial hardship as possible.  That eventually backfired, with both Slater and Nottingham now bankrupt over hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal costs.

NZ Herald:  Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater loses defamation case and gets told: ‘Your day will come’

Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has lost one of the country’s longest running defamation cases after failing to put up any credible defence.

The judgment made public today saw Justice Paul Davison find in Blomfield’s favour, ruling out a defence from Slater after long delays and failures to meet legal requirements to defend a claim of defamation.

The new judgment came after a defamation hearing as due to start on October 8 was adjourned when Slater and lawyers arrived at court without a proper defence.

In total, Slater had entered or attempted to enter five statements of defence over the course of the case which all failed to meet the legal requirements for attempted defences of truth and of honest opinion.

Davison said Slater had been “afforded considerable leniency” to meet deadlines and get a proper defence before the court.

There had been “indulgence” to allow Slater to change his defence with one High Court judge even providing the blogger guidance as to how to prepare for the defamation hearing.

Davison said Slater’s attempts to change his defence and to introduce new pleadings was rightly seen as “a last-minute attempt to prevent the (Blomfield’s) claim from being heard and determined by the court”.

He said it was possible to see delay as Slater’s objective when seeking court hearings on issues such as a security for costs.

Davison said the statement of defence Slater had arrived with when the trial was due to start failed to identify the facts which would have been used to prove his blog posts were true.

Instead, large piles of evidence had been pointed to which, in a number of cases, relied on “a third party’s allegations about the plaintiff”.

And instead of providing a defence of honest opinion, Slater’s court filings instead repeated his inadequate defence of truth.

Davison said it wasn’t necessary to rule on the merits of the case because of the legal, technical flaws in Slater’s attempted defence.

“However, in my view the documents relied on by the defendants do not provide cogent support for the propositions and conclusions they seek to draw from them in relation to the defences of truth and honest opinion, or the bad reputation of the plaintiff.”

So the judge found that Slater had no defence for making false and defamatory claims. SB must be aware of this, but still claims that Slater was right and is somehow the victim in this.

Slater appealed, but that appeal has since been dropped. Damages are yet to be awarded, that won’t happen until next year.

Costs on pre-trial proceedings have been awarded against Slater a number of times over the years (that happens when you’re wrong, not right). The last of these were awarded recently  – BLOMFIELD v SLATER COSTS JUDGMENT [2019] NZHC 1203 [29 May 2019]

By memorandum dated 23 November 2018, Mr Blomfield (the plaintiff), seeks an award of costs against Mr Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited (collectively “the defendants”), in relation to several interlocutory matters.

SB (Atkins) was a director of Social Media Consultants Limited (now in liquidation) so must be aware of all of this.

The defendants were planning on relying on a large body of evidence covering many different issues, and I determined that almost all of it was inadmissible.

The plaintiff is entitled to costs and disbursements of $59,000.29 as set out in the annexed schedule.

The Human Rights tribunal also found that Slater and Whale Oil were wrong – Human Rights Tribunal slams Cameron Slater:

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.

[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.

The full judgment [2019] NZHRRT 13 is here.


SB continued yesterday:

Oh, how I hate the old “public interest” line. The New Zealand media and Nicky Hager justified what they did to us as being in the public interest. The information they had obtained was stolen and included private and personal communications but even though it revealed zero wrongdoing (no one had broken any law) they decided it was in the “Public interest” to publish what had been written between friends with an expectation of privacy.

‘Zero wrongdoing’ is a joke.

I have always expressed concerns about hacking for political purposes, but there is no evidence that Slater was actually hacked (although it seems likely). There have been suggestions a whistle blower inside the Whale Oil camp may have at least aided the revelations.

There was certainly public interest in revealing that staff (Jason Ede at least) in the Prime Minister’s office colluded with Slater and used Whale Oil as a medium with which to run political attacks – some of the dirtiest of politics (Slater used to brag about how dirty he played).

There was also public interest in revealing that Whale Oil was being paid to run attacks on businesses, academics and people.

Perhaps SB just hates being found out.

She is also being very hypocritical about personal information and privacy, given:

  • Slater and Jason Ede using private information obtained from a Labour Party website by dubious means.
  • Slater’s attempt to hack The Standard (he had to admit he broke the law to get diversion).
  • Slater’s use of Blomfield’s private information.
  • The attempt to overturn the Auckland Mayoral election, and the trashing of Len Brown, using private and personal information.
  • The trashing of Colin Craig’s political career using private information in a breach of confidence.

There must be few people now who are still deceived by claims of innocence at Whale Oil, and there will be little sympathy for their repeated claims to be victims.

They are running the risk of ongoing self inflicted stress. They could deal with this if they front up with some honesty, as well as admissions and acceptance of the harm they have dumped on many people, but there is no sign of that happening.