What sort of truce could National and Ross have?

There have been some calls for some sort of a truce between National and Jami-Lee Ross. After what has happened this week what sort of a truce would be possible? Could Ross be trusted anyway?

And some scepticism is warranted given who is calling for a truce. Ross has little if anything to negotiate with, and national would be taking a huge risk if they gave anything to Ross now.

Cameron Slater: Farrar follows my lead and calls for a truce, pity is the party appears to want to destroy itself

The other day I suggested a truce, or the intervention of a third party to sort out the mess inside National.

National would be wise to get someone to broker a peace treaty with him before they lose most of their front bench.

Now David Farrar has suggested the same thing:

National has no good options in dealing with JLR. The question is which is the least bad option.

Of course the best way out would be a truce. If somehow JLR and National can find a way forward that would be a good thing. But the problem is that JLR has so damaged himself I’m genuinely not sure what National can do to reverse the harm he caused himself. But if he has a proposal, then it should be considered.

Sadly, it appears that National wants to burn itself to the ground.

It seems to be Ross who is the one lighting fires and pouring petrol on them.

Paula Bennett, it seems, is behind the spreading of the lurid smears to Newsroom.

Actually it seems to be Slater who is trying to spread lurid smears, including about Bennett, someone he has been trying to discredit and smear since she became deputy leader and longer.

Newsroom have made it clear their year long investigation into Jami-Lee Ross was independent – and if Ross hadn’t gone ‘rogue’ their revelations when they published them would have put a lot of pressure and responsibility on National and Bennett,

Wise heads in National need to prevail. They should take up David Farrar’s suggestion and my suggestion and start talking to each other instead of past each other.

But Ross has backed himself into a very tight corner. He would presumably want something from a truce, but what could National offer? It would be extremely damaging to the party if they did anything but act strongly against what Ross has been doing and says he will continue to do.

If Bridges compromises now in his approach to Ross I think his leadership will become untenable. Perhaps that’s what Slater is trying to manipulate.

Slater wanted Bridges to fail in his leadership bid, and he has tried to discredit and smear Bridges since he became leader.

He is as trustworthy as Ross.

Proposing a truce between Ross and National should be viewed with a lot of suspicion. If it is a genuine attempt to broker a deal it suggests that Ross has few other options but to try to negotiate a truce, or keep digging the bloody great hole he has dug for himself.

But National would be taking a huge risk if they are seen to be doing anything to help Ross.


There’s quite discussion on this at WO. A number of comments point out the obvious risks to National of any compromise with Ross.

2eyesee:

I feel that JLR is such damaged goods that any form of truce would be even more damaging to National. Such a truce would publicly legitimise JRL as part of the National Party, and I don’t think National can afford that association.

If they can’t cut JRL loose, the next best option is for him to remain a pariah. Each new conversation release is attracting less and less interest, and he’ll become largely ignored before long.

spanishbride/Slater’sBride:

Really? Every single unfaithful politician and journalist is sweating bullets right now. They broke a long standing rule of politics which was to NEVER report on affairs. Forget the political revelations, if they do not make peace with him he can return the favour and do to them all what they did to him.

2eyesee:

Extramarital affairs between consenting adults is not the issue here – it’s JRL’s abuse of power and bullying behaviour. If National came to a truce with JRL it would be legitimising that behaviour, which would be very damaging for National.

spanishbride/Slater’sBride:

A truce does not mean taking him back. It means a quiet behind the scenes exit

And trust Ross, who has already shown he is willing to record ‘quiet behind the scenes’ conversations and use them to threaten and make false claims?

I think that spanishbride may have been sucked in by someone here into promoting a truce that is likely to be an attempt to compromise bridges even more than he is now. If any secret scheme to try to silence Ross came out Bridges would be right where Slater wants him, out of the leadership.

Blomfield versus www.laudafinem.com

According to the Daily List Matthew Blomfield is back in the Auckland High Court today, this time against ‘Lauda Finem’.

Last week Blomfield was in court in a defamation action against Cameron Slater. This trial was set down for ‘up to four weeks’ but seems to have finished as it has now dropped off the daily list (since yesterday). Presumably this is now waiting for a judgment. That could take a while. Slater is waiting for the judgment of cross claims versus Colin Craig 18 months after the trial, but that is a much more complex proceeding that may be waiting on rulings in Jordan Williams v Craig, which was in the Supreme Court recently on a point of appeal,

The notice for CIV2016-044-121:

MATTHEW JOHN BLOOMFIELD v THE OWNER AND / OR ADMINISTRATORS OF WWW.LAUDAFINEM.COM

It is hard to find any information about this. The only hit on ‘Lauda Finem’ on court Decisions Online is MALTESE CAT LIMITED v DOE [2017] NZHC 1634 [14 July 2017] which shows defendants as:

JOHN DOE AND/OR JANE DOE
Defendants

DERMOT NOTTINGHAM
Second Defendant

[2] The claim contends that all three were victimised by defamatory publications on the website, http://www.laudafinem.com (the offending website).

[7] The plaintiffs want these four webpages to be declared defamatory. They have good reason to believe that if the declaration is made by this Court then GoDaddy and DBP will no longer host the pages. At the present time they have been taken down. A declaration is sought under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992. By the terms of that Act they have to seek defamation against a person and hence the proceedings were commenced against John and Jane Doe. The plaintiffs, however, believe the offending material was put together by Mr Dermot Nottingham.

[17] I am also concerned that Mr Nottingham has neither denied he is responsible for the subject defamatory publications on the website, nor expressly pleaded that they are true.

In a second judgment – MALTESE CAT LIMITED v JOHN DOE AND/OR JANE DOE [2017] NZHC 1728 [25 July 2017] – Nottingham defended the action  due to what he claimed was time limitation but the judge ruled that it was not time barred and could proceed. There are no other judgments, but there was a Court of Appeal hearing in August for which there is no published judgment yet.

Nottingham was recently convicted of two breaches of non-publication orders, and five charges of criminal harassment, which I would presume would have some bearing on this latest action. From sentencing notes:

[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.

See “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

Some information that seems linked directly to the current action was posted on laudafinem.com – that website was shut down by court order as a result. A post in October 2016:

Godaddy, our web hosting provider, has very kindly agreed to oblige a New Zealand court and hand over the domain laudafinem.com and various other material; we hold unlawfully of course; not a good look for a provider that sells itself as a bastion of free speech.

We at Lauda Finem are now apparently at the coal-face of international law and the struggle for press freedom, for despite Cameron Slater, also a blogger, having been declared a journalist, Kiwi High Court Judge, Peter Woodhouse, seems to have opted to ignore that fact and taken the very dangerous step of unlawfully interfering with a legitimate media outlet, an off-shore whistle-blowing anti-corruption website at that.

“The struggle for press freedom” is a laugh. This is more of a struggle to hold to account rogue website operators who try to be clever to get around New Zealand laws.

Moreover, despite Blomfield failing to even comply with his obligation to file his substantive arguments in the Slater case, and no sign that he is even capable of doing so, he has now decided, after more than 4 years, that he’s going to take on another “defamation tort”.

As is common with these numpties, the reverse of what they claim is closer to the truth. “Failing to even comply with his obligation to file his substantive arguments” applies more to Slater’s attempts to delay and avoid going to trial, and that may have backfired on him. Blomfield succeeded in getting it to trial so must have complied.

A follow up post:

Following on from our last post covering the Blomfield saga and his latest attempt to pervert justice LF have now been advised that the New Zealand Court decision enabling Kiwi lawyers to seize the LF site, in addition to the obvious lack of jurisdiction, may also breach EU laws on privacy, data protection, whistle blower, and journalist protections.

Did Judge Peter Woodhouse realize he lacked jurisdiction? Did Blomfield mislead him? Perhaps Woodhouse would care to explain his failures and the likely breaches of EU law?

With this in mind LF is now intending to email every Kiwi elected politician for their information and opinion, we’ll of course be following that up with a complete file copy, delivered by post, evidence that the legal hi-jinks of Mr Blomfield are merely designed to thwart LF’s reporting of the truth.

Remember LF has been following this story for many years, we’ve been posting, providing damning evidence for years, but not a peep from Blomfield until LF published damning evidence…

This appears to be related to the Slater defamation action. LF somehow managed to obtain the huge amount of data that Slater used in his posts attacking and accusing Blomfield. One the defamation action got under way Slater made an undertaking to the court not to post any more about Blomfield, but LF continued to post on it.

Remember readers, this so-called court judgement is a scam, service was not effected in accordance with New Zealand’s own laws. And as aforesaid it also likely breaches EU laws and treaties protecting residents whistle-blowers and journalists privacy.

Two years later it has now gone to trial.

Disclosure of interest: While I am not involved in the case before the court today and don’t have details of what it is actually trying to do, I have an interest in all of this because I was dragged into this whole Blomfield versus Slater and Lauda Finem messy business. They tried to use Your NZ to attack Blomfield in breach of court orders, and when I stopped that they started attacking me.

This involved an ongoing campaign of disruption here, litigation and attempted litigation (involving Nottingham, Slater plus  Marc Spring and Earle McKinney) and numerous threats of more litigation. I was also the target in a number of Lauda Finem posts and comments that made false accusations and threats, were defamatory, and were similar to harassment others have been subjected to.

Others here were also targeted by LF.  So the outcome of whatever is being attempted in court today will be of interest.

 

Blomfield versus Slater trial over?

The Matthew Blomfield versus Cameron Slater defamation trial started last Monday, but I still can’t find any media coverage, so it’s hard to know exactly what is going on.

Slater posted on it at Whale Oil on Tuesday but he claimed this:

Legal action was started six years ago, but given the nature of [redacted], the plaintiff hasn’t actually been very keen to get the case before the court and has used every trick in the book to avoid this trial while I have fought to get the case before the judge.

That is so ridiculous (Blomfield as the Plaintiff could have ended the action any time he wanted to and court judgments show that Slater tried to appeal, delay and strike out the action) that anything Slater claims should be viewed with scepticism.

‘Bill Brown’ claimed here on Wednesday that the trial “Starts next Monday” but that is obviously wrong.

The case was included every day this week on the High Court Daily List, but it shows a change for Monday:

CIV2013-404-5218 Civil Proceeding – Defamation
MATTHEW JOHN BLOMFIELD (F E Geiringer, G Vosper) v CAMERON JOHN SLATE (GF Littlie SC, D Beard)

That suggests Slater was right about one thing, he has another law representing him now.

But I have heard that the trial may have ended on Friday, even though it was set down for up to four weeks. I’m not sure what this means.

I know from past judgments that Slater “has not advanced an arguable defence” on some publications. He may have since done that but this suggests his defence in part at least is not strong. See BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2018] NZHC 1099 [18 May 2018] for a summary as at May this year.

The publications are incapable of amounting to expressions of opinion

[80] As I have already observed, it is for the Judge in the first instance to determine whether, reading the publication as a whole and assuming the pleaded imputations can be proved, the publication is capable of being an expression of opinion rather than a statement of fact.

[81] Mr Geiringer invites me to consider this issue now to avoid wasting time at trial dealing with a defence that is not available given the wording used in the publications. I agree that this would have advantages. I consider, however, that the assessment should properly be made once the pleadings are in their final form. One reason for this is that an order for strike out at this stage gives rise to appeal rights that could jeopardise the trial date. Given the age of this proceeding that would be highly
unfortunate.

[82] Furthermore, and as I have already observed, the defence must be based on the facts referred to in the publication together with other facts that were generally known at the time of the publication. There is no ability, as there is in a defence based on truth, to rely on facts that come into existence after the publication. These factors significantly restrict the scope of the evidence that Mr Slater may adduce to establish the defence. I therefore do not consider there is much scope in the present case for Mr Slater to call a significant body of additional evidence in relation to the defence of honest opinion.

[83] I therefore consider the issue should properly be considered at trial. It will be for the trial Judge to ensure Mr Slater does not call evidence beyond the scope of that permitted to establish the defence.

Slater only needs to lose on one publication to lose the case, but I presume the number of defamatory publications would affect the possible damages awarded. That will be for the judge to decide, which we will find out in due course.

Bull and hypocrisy (again) from Slater

On Monday SB posted on Whale Oil:

Starting today Cam is back in the High Court for up to four weeks depending on how the trial goes.

A lot has changed on the blog since our last court case and the good news is that we now have an amazing Whaleoil team of writers who will be stepping up to fill the time slots that Cam usually fills.

Last time Cam was able to do some posts because we rented an apartment that was walking distance from the court so there was no long commute to and from the court each day.  This time around Cam will be doing the long commute between the city and Whangaparaoa each day instead.

Implying there would be no time to post.

I have done a Jacinda and made a Captain’s Call. I have put my foot down and told him that he is not to write on the weekends until the case is over.

But two days later, on Wednesday morning, Slater wrote a post called Battling Lawfare, which was loaded with bull and hypocrisy, plus a plea for donations to pay for legal bills (defamation proceedings lasting six years and defamation trials lasting 4 weeks can be very expensive regardless of any awards). Later in the morning the post disappeared, .with an explanation in  another post with the same headline

The earlier post regarding the current proceedings that Cam is involved in has been ordered down by the court.

Legal bills are mounting again so here is how you can continue to help us to fight the good fight.

There was no evidence given that the court ordered the take down, but there were some parts of the post that could cause concerns for the court – or for a defence lawyer. (Slater has had problems with this in the past – see Slater fined for contempt of court).

There was never any explanation of what the legal proceedings were about, apart from vague ‘fight the good fight’ and claiming victimhood. I posted some background here – Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on Monday.

In his post yesterday Slater implied similar accusations to those he is being sued for defamation for. I won’t repeat them here.

Some things he said were more general, showing his habit of self interested bull and rank hypocrisy. Slater:

Legal action was started six years ago, but given the nature of [redacted], the plaintiff hasn’t actually been very keen to get the case before the court and has used every trick in the book to avoid this trial while I have fought to get the case before the judge.

I think that if you look back through the court judgments online (only some on the six year saga are online) you will see the opposite is closer to the truth.

This is an absurd claim from Slater. Blomfield has persisted for six years to get this to trial. As the Plaintiff, all he would need to do to “avoid this trial” would be to withdraw the proceedings. Slater’s “I have fought to get the case before the judge” sounds delusional, unless it is just bull to try to get sympathy and defence fund donations.

He claims to be a victim of ‘lawfare’ when he has attacked people via the courts himself.

I will not allow the use of lawfare by [redacted] to silence me.

That’s hugely hypocritical, given the involvement of Slater as informant and witness in four private private prosecutions (one against me), plus his association in an incompetent court order trying to silence me here at Your NZ, plus his association with other threats of ‘lawfare’ against me from Dermot Nottingham and anonymous comments posted here and posts at Whale Oil.

I will continue to fight for truth and transparency.

That’s just laughable – more so because Slater may well believe his own bull. He has been far from transparent even in his post yesterday, and the follow up post was far from transparent.

We must not allow the truth to be silenced, and with the invaluable support of family, friends and readers I will continue to fight for justice to the bitter end.

Very funny. The fighter for truth tried to avoid the current defamation trial for six years.

And he also fought to silence ‘truth’ in the Dirty Politics saga – RNZ: Court showdown over Slater’s hacked email

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater has launched court injunction proceedings in an attempt to prevent three of New Zealand’s biggest media companies from publishing more of his hacked emails and Facebook conversations.

Mr Slater has served papers on APN New Zealand, Fairfax Media and MediaWorks to try to stop them quoting from emails and other communications allegedly taken from his accounts.

There are issues over the emails and online conversations being obtained illegally – but in his battle against defamation Slater himself used the contents of a hard drive containing data owned by Blomfield, allegedly obtained illegally, and at the very least I think used maliciously by Slater and others (Lauda Finem were given a copy of the contents).

The truth I don’t know whether or when Slater (and Nottingham and Spring et al) deliberately make things up and lie, and when they really believe the bull they spout.  Slater, like Nottingham, may really believe he is a fighter for truth and justice. If so that doesn’t mean what he says is accurate, or based on facts and reality, and without irony and hypocrisy.

I certainly think that their credibility is severely challenged.

No news on Blomfield v Slater

I previewed the defamation trial between Matthew Blomfield and Cameron Slater here: Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on Monday

As far as I know the trial started on Monday but I can find no media coverage, which seems unusual. Perhaps Slater is too toxic for the media to cover him any more, but that seems unlikely.

It has been on the Court Daily List all week, but there is a curious change. On Monday and Tuesday it was shown as:

NO 8 COURT BEFORE THE HON. JUSTICE DAVISON
CIV2013-404-5218 MATTHEW JOHN BLOMFIELD (F E Geiringer) v CAMERON JOHN SLATER  (D Beard) & ANOR
Civil Proceeding – Defamation

But on today’s list (Wednesday) it has changed from to ‘Civil Proceeding – Defamation’ to ‘Pre-trial hearing’ I have no idea what that means. It could be just a mistake, I think there was a pre-trial hearing on Friday.

SB posted at Whale Oil on Monday:  Do you want the good news or the bad news?

Starting today Cam is back in the High Court for up to four weeks depending on how the trial goes. The battle royale starts today.

It certainly feels very bizarre to be back in the high court for a second case when the first case from over a year ago has still not concluded.

This time around I will not be able to accompany Cam as I was only a part-timer back then but I work full time, seven days a week for the blog now.

Last time Cam was able to do some posts because we rented an apartment that was walking distance from the court so there was no long commute to and from the court each day. In fact, we spent our 25th Wedding Anniversary there. This time around Cam will be doing the long commute between the city and Whangaparaoa each day instead. If the case goes for the full 4 weeks Cam will be spending his 50th birthday.

Last time was Craig versus Slater. The judgment is not yet out, well over a year after the trial.

I know from our last experience that Cam will be mentally, physically and emotionally drained at the end of each week so I have done a Jacinda and made a Captain’s Call. I have put my foot down and told him that he is not to write on the weekends until the case is over.

I have told him to rest on the weekends and that we will all just have to cope without him.

During Craig trial, and when Slater was ill early last year, there were some posts from Slater. Since then Whale Oil has become much less reliant on his input, with SB taking a much more active role and a number of others becoming regular contributors. WO seems to be chugging away ok there, although comment numbers seem to be lower.

We are VERY confident that we will win this latest court case but your guess is as good as mine as to how long it will take to get a judgement.

The Whale Meat Company is currently helping us to fund our court case so your support of our new business is not only feeding your family it is supporting ours while ensuring that Whaleoil will not be silenced.

There were supporting comments and commiserations for the fading political activist.

A curious comment from ‘Loki’ here yesterday:

Things went horribly wrong for our hero yesterday.
No court today !

That appears to be a sarcastic reference to Slater.

‘Bill Brown’, who keeps trying to disguise his association with the case, has not been here reporting any positives so his optimism that some claims had been dropped was a positive may have been premature.

Court cases can be a black hole for information if media don’t cover them, and if you can’t attend in person. I will keep an eye out for any developments, but for now there is little information available.

Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on Monday

Whale Oil potentially be fucked if the defamation trial about to start in the Auckland High Court is successful.

Matthew Blomfield started defamation proceedings against Cameron Slater in 2012 after a series of posts (thirteen) on Whale Oil attacking Blomfield. It finally goes to trial on Monday after Slater ran out of legal options to avoid facing the claims against him.

NO 8 COURT BEFORE THE HON. JUSTICE DAVISON
First Floor 10.00am
CIV2013-404-5218 MATTHEW JOHN BLOMFIELD (F E Geiringer) v CAMERON JOHN SLATER (D Beard) & ANOR
Civil Proceeding – Defamation

The defamation claim

[5] In 2012, Mr Slater ran and administrated the blog website “Whale Oil” under the name http://www.whaleoil.co.nz (Whale Oil). Mr Blomfield had provided marketing services to Hells Pizza until 2008 and had been a director of a company Hell Zenjiro Ltd (in liquidation), which had owned several outlets of the Hells Pizza chain. That company went into liquidation on 9 April 2008 and was struck off the Companies Register on 6 September 2013. Mr Blomfield was adjudicated a bankrupt in 2010 and an order was made prohibiting him from being a director of a company. He has since been discharged from bankruptcy

[6] Hells Pizza had an association with a charity known as “KidsCan”. On 3 May 2012 Mr Slater wrote and published on his Whale Oil website a blog post entitled “Who really ripped off KidsCan?”. It contained a number of statements that Mr Blomfield claims were defamatory of him. On the same day Mr Slater wrote another blog on the Whale Oil website entitled “Knowing me, knowing you – Matt Blomfield”. In that story he made a number of statements about Mr Blomfield. Between 3 May 2012 and 6 June 2012, Mr Slater wrote and published on his website 13 articles that referred to Mr Blomfield.

[7] Mr Blomfield claims that these articles allege that he had conspired to steal charitable funds and was alleged to be a thief, as well as dishonest, dishonourable, a party to fraud, involved in criminal conspiracy, bribery, deceit, perjury, conversion, the laying of false complaints, drug dealing and making pornography. He was also accused of being a psychopath, a criminal, a thief and a “cock smoker”.

[8] The majority of the articles that are the subject of the claim contain extracts of emails to which Mr Blomfield is allegedly a party. They refer to electronic files which Mr Blomfield claims were sourced from his hard-drive and potentially other sources including a filing cabinet of Mr Blomfield.

[9] Mr Slater admitted in his statement of defence that he had in his possession copies of emails, databases and electronic files relating to the affairs of Mr Blomfield. He stated that on or about February 2012 he was provided with a
hard-drive that included approximately one terabyte of computer files previously owned by Mr Blomfield.

[10] Following the publication of the articles on the Whale Oil website, Mr Blomfield filed proceedings in the Manukau District Court in October 2012 in which he claimed that the statements and the articles were defamatory. He sought anorder that the material relating to him be removed from the Whale Oil website as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

SLATER v BLOMFIELD [2014] NZHC 2221 [12 September 2014]

The trial was initially delayed due to arguments about Slater’s status as a journalist, and whether this allowed him to keep secret sources of material he published – he had appeared to be acting on behalf of others. Slaater was found to be acting as a journalist, but in 2014 a judge ruled:

[150] On balance the public interest in disclosure outweighs any adverse effects on the informants and the ability of the media to freely receive information and access sources.

[151] Therefore Mr Blomfield succeeds on overview and there is an order that s 68(1) does not apply, and Mr Slater must answer the interrogatories and comply with discovery in the usual way.

SLATER V BLOMFIELD CA 678/2014 [2015] NZCA 240 [17 June 2015]

Slater applied to adduce new evidence, and tried to appeal, but eventually failed, as did other legal attempts. A judgment from 6 July 2017:

[2] Mr Slater has applied to strike out Mr Blomfield’s proceeding on grounds of delay. Mr Blomfield applies for further discovery, on an “unless” basis. Both applications are opposed. Mr Blomfield contends that the delay in prosecuting his claim to hearing has largely been caused by Mr Slater’s own actions.

[30] Mr Slater referred me to a wealth of information to suggest that Mr Blomfield may not have had any relevant business reputation at the time the articles were published on the Whaleoil site. He submitted that the Court’s resources should not be deployed to deal with such an undeserving claim for defamation.

[31] I do not accept that this proceeding is of such a character as to justify invocation of the Jameel approach. A number of the allegations made against Mr Blomfield go beyond his business activities and/or practices; in particular, the suggestions that he might be a pornographer and/or a psychopath. In my view, while there may be a question about the value of his claims based on business reputation, the same cannot be said about those other aspects of the claim.

[32] In those circumstances, the better course is to ensure the proceeding is readied for trial promptly. Mr Slater’s application to strike out is dismissed.

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

The trial is set to start over a year later.

While Slater is in the firing line, if he loses this Whale Oil will take a hit as well. Slater has been far less prominent on the blog over the last few months so it could probably survive without him, but if a sizeable award goes against Slater, or even just costs (costs are eye-wateringly high in defamation proceedings) it would put the blog at financial risk – Whale Oil could be fucked.

Slater has not been acting alone through all this. He was supplied information – one of the sources has been revealed as Marc Spring, and the court ordered that others be revealed but I don’t think that has shown in court judgments.

In 2015 Spring also tried to use Your NZ to continue attacks on Blomfield against a court agreement with Slater and against a restraining order. I believe that me stopping Spring was at least part of the reason he Slater and Dermot Nottingham turned on me, attacking me here, via lauda Finem and via the courts (the legal harassment is ongoing, I have a hearing v Nottingham in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday).

Spring has obvious associations with Lauda Finem, where attacks against Blomfield continued well into 2016, until Blomfield had the site shut down by court order (I think that something on that is also due to come up in court this month).

Nottingham has also been thick in this. Both he and Spring feature here: SLATER v BLOMFIELD [2014] NZHC 2221 [12 September 2014].

And Nottingham continued to assist Slater:

Hearing: 6 July 2017
Counsel: F Geiringer for Plaintiff
C J Slater, in person, Defendant
(D Nottingham as McKenzie Friend for Mr Slater)

With friends like that…

And this year Nottingham was sentenced for breaching non-publication orders (suppression) and criminal harassment via Lauda Finem – see  “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

It would appear that Slater has a difficult defence on at least some of the claims.

The ninth publication – 17 May 2012

[51] Mr Slater has not responded to the evidence adduced by Mr Blomfield regarding this issue.

[52] The overall tenor of the publication is clearly defamatory because it accuses Mr Blomfield of stealing assets belonging to the company and then selling them to a third party

.The twelfth publication – 6 June 2012

[61] Mr Slater has not responded to this evidence so for present purposes must be taken to have no answer to it. He would therefore appear to have no arguable defence to the claim relating to this publication. As in the case of the ninth publication, however, I propose to exercise my discretion against the entry of summary judgment and for the same reasons.

BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2018] NZHC 1099 [18 May 2018]

The challenge:

[76] Mr Slater needs to be aware, however, that the defences comprise different elements. For that reason the same particulars may not support both defences. In order to establish the defence of truth, for example, it is necessary for the defendant to set out the facts and circumstances relied upon to prove either that the pleaded imputations are true or substantially true, or that the publication as a whole is substantially true.

[78] The defence of honest opinion requires the defendant to establish that, reading the publication as a whole, such imputations as the fact finder has found to exist were conveyed by the publication as expressions of opinion rather than statements of fact. It is for the Judge in the first instance to determine whether the imputations are capable of being opinion rather than fact. Importantly, the facts in the publication must have existed at the time of the publication and must either have been alleged or referred to in the publication. Alternatively, they must have been generally known at the time. The defendant may not go outside these parameters in establishing the defence of honest opinion. Furthermore, the defendant may not call evidence at trial that is outside the ambit of the permitted particulars. For that reason the particulars “serve to focus and confine the evidence which may be given in support of defences of truth
and honest opinion”.

[79] Mr Slater needs to re-plead his statement of defence and particulars bearing in mind these principles. He also needs to be aware that he will not be permitted to call evidence at trial if it falls outside the pleadings in their final form.

The means that Slater cannot use the trial as a way of continuing the campaign against Blomfield by calling witnesses in order to attack Blomfield when this is outside the defence of ‘honest opinion’ – I think his defence has to be based on his own opinion at the time of publishing the posts on Whale Oil, not the ‘opinions’ of his associates and accomplices.

I have a particular interest in this because I got dragged into this as a means to try to avoid court orders.

But there should be wider interest.

If Blomfield is successful there is a real possibility that Whale Oil be fucked.

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

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

There are two things worth noting.

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

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

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

The second:

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

“Do you accept that?” Craig asked.

“Yes, I do,” MacGregor replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Result

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

Hypocrisy on free speech

Cameron Slater would have been chuffed to be included as a ‘prominent Kiwi’ in a Dominion Post article on free speech: Speech: What it costs to be free

As part of that process, and in the quest for a little clarity, we approached a number of prominent Kiwis with some experience of free speech issues. They represent different sides of the debate.

We asked them for their thoughts on these key questions:

  • Is free speech the right to say anything you like?
  • Is there any point at which something is too offensive to be said in public?
  • Is there such a thing as “hate speech” and how should it be defined?
  • Is free speech under threat in this country? If so, where is the threat coming from?

Here are their responses. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas declined to be involved.

There’s some interesting responses. From Slater:

Hurt feelings are not grounds for harm. Mostly they need a good cup of concrete to help them harden up.

Perhaps he should listen to his own advice. he is more inclined to throw lumps of verbal concrete than he is swallow them.

Free speech is under threat in this country. The threat comes from a lack of action standing up to those who would threaten it. For too long there have been cases of bullying people out of jobs, threatening their income, boycotting advertisers and deplatforming of speakers.

I largely agree with that. But it is a tad hypocritical given thaat four days ago Slater posted Some good ideas from David Farrar that included this specified as a Slater favourite:

5. Target Massey’s funding. Identify major donors to Massey and request meetings with them to make the case for why they should donate to one of the other universities that doesn’t ban speakers on the personal whim of the VC.

Slater from the article:

Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing. We have in recent years witnessed the demonisation of John Tamihere and Willie Jackson for daring to ask hard questions on radio, the hounding of Paul Henry out of television, the attacks on me by Nicky Hager, the media and the Left-wing for daring to be effective and challenging, the cancellation of speakers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, not to mention the recent attack against Don Brash.

It is laughable though for Slater to claim that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing.”

Slater admitted trying to procure a hack of The Standard in an attempt to discredit their speech.

Slater was a prosecution witness in a private prosecution (dismissed at trial) of Lynn Prentice (associated with The Standard) and APN News (NZ Herald) in what appears to be what Slater refers to as lawfare when others do it – see NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]. He was also an informant.

Slater was an informant and was named as an ‘expert witness’ in a private prosecution versus myself (and Your NZ) and Allied Press (ODT) – charges were eventually withdrawn.

Slater supported his “good friends” in getting a court order against me and Your NZ trying to shut us up and shut us down. That was a farce that was quickly thrown out by the court, but it was an attempt to imprison me because they (including Slater) didn’t like being held to account.

Perhaps Slater has been slurping cement since then, or has gone a bit cold on court proceedings as he still waits for a judgment on Craig v Slater and prepares for Blomfield v Slater, both defamation proceedings.

The media by and large have forgotten their responsibilities to be truth-tellers and have in many cases joined in the witch-hunting.

A bit ironic, but Sslater is more of a heavily slanted activist than truth-teller.

Whale Oil is easy to ignore most of the time these days, but claiming that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing” warrants a bit of a serve.

Perhaps Slater has hardened up not get angry about his hypocrisy being highlighted this time.

The Nottingham private prosecutions

It will have been obvious to those following Your NZ in July-August 2015 that there was some legal stuff happening. But I was then gagged through suppression orders so had to be careful what I posted. Until now.

Yesterday morning NZ Herald reported Blogger dodges prison over court suppression breaches, harassment campaigns

A blogger described as “malicious and nasty” has narrowly avoided prison after breaching suppression orders in a prominent Auckland court case and leading a prolonged campaign of criminal harassment against five people, including a former MP.

Dermot Gregory Nottingham was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention and 100 hours’ community work today in the Auckland District Court, after what Judge Jonathan Down described as a blatant and contemptuous breach of court orders and an arrogant view of right and wrong.

A jury found Nottingham guilty of five criminal harassment charges and two breaches of court suppression orders following a trial, in which Nottingham represented himself, during April and May.

That case is closely linked to my legal misadventure, so much so that suppression on that was also applied to a private prosecution of myself and others.

I posted on this sentencing, trusting that the Herald would have carefully complied with suppression orders. Yesterday I sought and eventually got confirmation from the Auckland District Court that suppression had lapsed in that case, which meant that it will have also lapsed in my case.

Nottingham has a legal history that goes back a long way, including private prosecutions. That’s a different story.

This story is long and complicated – I will keep it as concise as possible – about my legal dealings with him have been going for three years, and are not over yet, with an application seeking leave to appeal currently before the Court of Appeal, with Nottingham promising to take it to the Supreme Court if he fails (again) with that.

While Nottingham is at the centre of all of this he has not acted alone. In my case others have been closely involved, including long time business associate and employer Robert Earle McKinney, brothers Phillip and I believe Antony (the Netherlands LF connection), Marc Spring and Cameron Slater.

In April 2015 NZ Herald published a report. A revised version of this is still online: Man accused of suppression breach

An Auckland man accused of breaching a high-profile name suppression has been granted name suppression himself.

The man appeared in Auckland District Court today facing two charges of contravening suppression orders. He is also charged with five counts of criminal harassment.

That article was republished by the Otago Daily Times, and as the original headline referred to it being a blogger it also attracted interest posts here on Your NZ and at The Standard.

Slater was an obvious candidate, as he had a history of suppression breaches resulting in convictions on multiple charges, but I could quickly rule him out. I did quite a bit of searching but ended up having no idea who this person was,

As with most stories it quickly faded into history. But it resurfaced in July when out of the blue I was served with court papers that were an application to lay charges against me for breaching suppression by a private prosecutor, Dermot Nottingham. This confirmed that Nottingham was the subject of the April article, the first time I knew it was him. At that stage I had heard of him but knew little about him.

Nottingham says he first went to the police but they declined to act, so he decided to conduct private prosecutions against myself, APN (Herald), Allied press (ODT) and Lynn Prentice.

Earle McKinney arranged for service of the papers. I willingly complied, having no idea what they were about. The application to lay charges claimed a conspiracy between police, court officials and the Herald.

It alleged that I had ‘entered into an online agreement with Lyn Prentice’, which was ridiculous – lprent had just re-banned me from the Standard (for a year) on 1 April 2015 after a previous one month ban in March.

About a week later Marc Spring served two charging documents – alternative charges of suppression breaches. This raised some suspicions, because about the time the first document was served Spring had suddenly started niggling at me, including suggesting I might be fucked over by Whale Oil like someone else had been, on Twitter in tandem with an LF account.

I did some investigating and found that Spring had been commenting on Your NZ since January 2015 using multiple pseudonyms. I had clashed with him when, as I later found out, he started attacking a Matthew Blomfield which was in breach of a Slater court agreement and a restraining order against Spring. That is a whole different (albeit related) story (also still before the courts, with a defamation hearing Blomfield v Slater due later this year).

The charges were odd – I was charged with publishing an article, the name of which matched a post at The Standard. Through the course of the proceedings I pointed out this was ridiculous and completely unfounded but that was ignored by the courts and by Nottingham.

As with much of Nottingham’s legal stuff it is difficult to know what is incompetence and what is deliberate confusion and chaos. I think it is usually a mangled mess of both.

Nottingham rang me soon after the charges were served, and we exchanged emails over a couple of days. He suggested I should plead guilty. Believing I was probably not guilty, I declined to commit, instead saying that I would seek legal advice. Over the next couple of weeks I found a lawyer to advise and represent me. This was my first experience with law and courts so I needed help. I (and my lawyer) had no idea what we were getting into.

A day or two after declining to confess I received an abrupt email from McKinney, saying he had been given instructions to scour the Internet, threatening further prosecutions, and demanded I respond by 4 pm that afternoon. I had no idea who McKinney was at that stage.

As it turned out McKinney was working closely with Nottingham. They always shared the same email address, Nottingham was purportedly an employee of McKinney, with both acting for Advantage Advocacy Ltd – now in liquidation.

McKinney eventually provided a witness statement in the prosecution. He also acted for Nottingham, including signing court submissions on his behalf. He is not a lawyer and I suspect this isn’t legally correct.

After another not very nice email from McKinney that was seemingly dealt with, but McKinney did a lot over the next few months to, I believe, lay further charges and when that failed, Nottingham tried to get a whole bunch of accusations included in his prosecution. The court never allowed this.

In July the LF website had already posted about me being in a ‘dirty dozen’ of journalists and bloggers and made other insinuations. In August more posts started to appear, targeting me, making outlandish claims and accusations, and these continued for about a year.

LF had in the post campaigned on some worthy causes. Occasionally. But I found out that mostly they found fragments of facts, grossly embellished them, jumped to ridiculous conclusions, and generally attacked and defamed many people. Their website was eventually shut down after court action against them. They popped up somewhere else but seem to have been stopped from posting there last year.

Many of the LF campaigns against people were closely aligned with Nottingham’s so-called justice campaigning. LF detailed a number of instances where they and Nottingham worked together.

And in the court case in which Nottingham has just been sentenced, according the the Herald report, he admits “supplying information to an overseas website”. It happens that that ‘overseas website’ contained almost entirely New Zealand related content, often closely related to Nottingham’s legal crusading.

It appears that LF was based overseas simply to try to avoid New Zealand law. That eventually blew up in Nottingham.

The private prosecution progressed slowly, with many delays and disruptions.

The first hearing was in September in Auckland where the charges were filed. My and Allied Press’ charges were transferred to Dunedin where they should have been laid in the first place – in the court closest to the defendants,

What followed was a hopeless legal mess.

When charges are laid within 15 working days the prosecutor is supposed to provide initial disclosure, that is supposed to clearly explain the charges and the case against you. It is normally brief, especially in simple cases as theoretically this one should have been, a few pages. That was due by mid August 2015.

After Nottingham failed to provide this lawyer’s requests were sent, the court directed compliance, and then set dates by which it had to be provided. By late November it still hadn’t been done – and at one stage Nottingham said he was deliberately withholding it pending ‘further investigations’.

Finally in early December documents arrived. A lot of them. A pile 9 cm thick. Largely a pile of nonsense. Much of it was screen shots of web pages and printouts of articles and posts. Most if not all of it would have been inadmissible. It was a monster of a mess, but it all had to be read in case there was something critical to the case in it. That gets expensive when you’re paying a lawyer. I did quite a bit of the reading and summarised.

One interesting thing I discovered – Cameron Slater was an informant for the prosecution.

McKinney’s witness statement was included, most if not all would have been inadmissible.

An expert witness was named, but nothing ever eventuated from them. They turned out to be the creditor that initiated the liquidation of Advantage Advocacy.

When lawyers made it clear that disclosure was manifestly inadequate the judge arranged a conference call in mid December to organise a way forward. Nottingham filed memoranda the morning immediately prior – very late filings became the norm – and tried to turn it into a move to imprison me by Christmas.

The judge rejected this, but due to the disruptions adjourned for another conference the following day. More late filings, another shambles. Nottingham blocked me from listening to his accusations and claims. As a result the judge ruled that conference calls were out of the question.

A date for the next hearing was set. Nottingham said he needed a holiday and wanted to wait until the following March. The judge obliged – throughout the protracted court proceedings I have been amazed and disappointed how much different judges have pandered to Nottingham, at the expense of the defendants.

in 2015 there was already talk amongst lawyers and the judge of a possible dismissal and costs.

At the March 2016 hearing Nottingham was pressed to name additional witnesses. He put forward Slater as an expert witness.

Slater never provided a witness statement as is required. He seemed to want to distance himself from the prosecution – I will give him the benefit of doubt on this, despite Nottingham’s practice in other cases of trying to introduce witnesses and evidence at trial, giving the defences no time to deal with them properly. Again I don’t know if this is incompetence or a tactic.

Then in April 2016 Nottingham had a serious motorcycle accident. He ended up in hospital for a few weeks. He sustained a head injury – not the first. He has also claimed to have had a serious motorcycle accident in I think 1998, also suffering from a head injury with ongoing effects.

Illness has been a prominent factor in a number of Nottingham’s legal proceedings, often resulting in delays and excuses for non-compliance with timetables and legal requirements.

The accident made a very messy prosecution worse, impossible.

Both I and Allied Press filed for dismissal of charges and a hearing was set for late June 2016.

I made a decision to dispense with counsel and represent myself. By now I had learnt a bit about how legal and court processes worked. I considered the case was hopeless, so I was better saving money and trying things on my own.

So I prepared for the dismissal on my own, and filed submissions, as did Allied Press, always on time. Nottingham didn’t. He couldn’t travel to Dunedin so engaged a lawyer to act for him.

The week before the dismissal hearing the APN/Prentice cases went to trial in Auckland. At that Nottingham failed on a fundamental aspect of a suppression breach case – he could not identify the publisher owners. It turned out he had charged the wrong herald company. Slater appeared as a witness and conceded that Prentice was not an identifiable owner of The Standard. So the case was dismissed.

Other allegations, of actually suppression breaches, never got tested at trial, although the trial judge said they were unlikely to have succeeded.

As in my and Allied’s case, Nottingham was claiming that if particular words could be selected out of an article and used in Google searches, and that led the searcher to a particular website, and words were taken from that and googled again and led them to another website, and then other words were used to search that site, and that led to articles that breached suppression, then the publisher of the original article was guilty of breaching suppression.

That on it’s own is nonsensical.

McKinney had tried to show how this could be done. But he already knew what he was looking for. In that case it’s easy to know what words to use in searches to find what you want, and which search results to sue to move on the next search step. Especially when the computer search history knows you already have an interest in the destination website.

The charges claimed about fifteen suppression breaches because that’s how many there were on the destination website. I don’t think there’s any way of proving an average member of then public would end up finding and reading one let alone all fifteen.

What is more preposterous is that Nottingham was claiming that information he supplied to a foreign website revealing the identity of people with New Zealand suppression was fine, but if he picked words out of other people’s articles that he could then use in Google to find his articles then that other person was guilty of a suppression breach.

I arrived at the dismissal hearing in late June, eleven months and the eight hearing after charges were laid, to find out from Nottingham’s lawyer minutes before the hearing was to begin that Nottingham wanted to withdraw the charges.

Leave was put to the judge, and after he clarified that due to time new charges couldn’t be laid the charges were dismissed.

Both Allied and I initiated proceedings to claim for costs.

It is well known that standard costs available in failed prosecutions are ridiculously small. But you can ask for indemnity (actual) costs at the judge’s discretion, if certain criteria are met.

A costs hearing date of September 2016 was suggested and a submission timetable was set. Both Allied and I submitted ion time as usual. Nottingham never served a submission in response.

District courts are under a lot of time pressure. It wasn’t until early March 2017 that we got a hearing set.

Prior to the hearing the court suggested that Nottingham had filed a submission. When we stated that we had not been served the court directed that it be served, and had to repeat the directive when it wasn’t forthcoming.

A few days before the hearing i ended up having to go to court and spend a morning reading their copy. They wouldn’t let me take it away or take a copy of it.

As was typical it was long. It comprised of an attempt to re-litigate his failed prosecution, claiming that we were obviously guilty and but for his accident we would have been convicted, so should be treated as convicted. A withdrawal of charges means that legally we are ‘not guilty’.

And most of it was an affidavit from Nottingham’s brother Phillip. addressed to the World Court, the United Nations and other international legal bodies claiming that it was unfair that Dermot was being prosecuted.

It was a waste of time me reading it, and the only consolation was that it must have been a much bigger waste of time for the Nottingham’s writing it and sending it around the world (if they did that).

Nottingham couldn’t attend the costs hearing. he tried to get yet another delay, but the court insisted that the hearing go ahead.

After the hearing started the court official interrupted the judge and handed him some papers. It was an even later than usual memorandum from Nottingham. Remarkably the judge adjourned the hearing, giving us half an hour to read and work out how to deal with the memorandum.

The hearing resumed, and the judge accepted our suggestion that the memorandum was more ranting nonsense irrelevant to the costs applications.

Then he was interrupted again – another memorandum was hot off the printer. This time the judge refused to accept it.

At the end of March 2016 we got a judgment awarding us costs. The problem was, it was unclear what costs we had been awarded, it didn’t make sense. We had little choice but to go to the High Court with an appeal.

The appeal took place in Dunedin in July 2017. Again Nottingham filed late, but before the hearing this time. he appeared by AV link from Auckland.

Again Nottingham claimed we should be considered guilty because it was obvious he was right and his case was not defendable.

The judge found otherwise and the appeal judgment was in our favour, in that it suggested that as bad faith was involved in the prosecution, and as needless cost had been imposed on both defendants due to the manner in which Nottingham had conducted the prosecution, that something approaching indemnity costs might be appropriate. he sent it back to the District Court judge to set a quantum of costs.

The DC judge decided that he had sufficient information and another hearing wouldn’t be necessary. And in a supplementary judgment in October 2017 he set a quantum of costs at 50% of indemnity costs.

This was a win, although I felt that the judge had not understood the complexities of the attempted prosecution and the hopelessness of the case, nor the vexatiousness of the prosecution. But I would have been happy to leave it at that rather than appeal again. Too much time, money and court resources had already been wasted.

But of course Nottingham appealed, so back to the High Court. He filed late again, despite that sort of abuse of process being a primary reason for having costs awarded against him.

This was a virtual repeat of the first appeal. Nottingham again tried to claim we should be considered guilty, and he claimed that the onus of proof should be on defendants (except \when he is a defendant I presume). And he asked that costs not just be quashed, but reversed and awarded to him.

That’s inane. I could only claim costs billed by my lawyer when I was represented. I could not claim for my own costs, or for lost time or anything. And as far as I know the same applies to Nottingham.

There is no way he could be awarded costs for what I paid my lawyer, which a reversal would presumably mean.

Nottingham lost the second appeal. Judges tend to want good reasons for overturning decisions of other judges. There wasn’t even a legal argument involved, it was a discretionary costs award.

But prior to the appeal Nottingham had already told me he would take it to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court. He made it clear from early on that one of his aims was to inflict as much time and costs on us as he could, And unfortunately the courts kept letting him do exactly that.

So Nottingham went to the Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal, as you have to do. He was late doing this so it’s out of time, and he also has to seek leave to do that.

This is pending, so as it is before the court I don’t want to say much about it. Submissions from both sides are required next month, with a hearing set down for 27 August – this is in Court of Appeal August fixture list (I am shown as Anor which is incorrect, I should be a separate case to Allied Press.

In the meantime the herald and Prentice have continued too, both having substantial costs awards. Nottingham’s conduct has been slammed – see NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018] and NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 1004 [9 May 2018]. That is also going to the Court of Appeal.

The defendants in another failed private prosecution have also had large costs awards. A trial was set down for 3 days and it took three weeks, due to Nottingham’s ‘tactics’. Multiple appeals are also on the August fixture list.

A judgment creditor is filing for bankruptcy against Nottingham, who has accumulated about $250,000 in unpaid court costs. That’s ongoing and complicated, has been on the go since last year, and another story, but is partly covered in HONEY & Ors v NOTTINGHAM [2018] NZHC 575 [29 March 2018].

There’s a lot more detail of an around the attempted private prosecution, but that’s of little interest to most people.

This account is also probably too long winded and of little interest generally. So why write it?

If I had known what Nottingham was like in court proceedings three years ago when this began I would have approached it quite differently. at the time I looked and found very little. I think this is in part because he has scared off a lot of people from exposing what he does, because he is so litigious, and because he and his cronies can be very vindictive and abusive.

I suspect that even judges have pussy footed around him and let him away with far to much in part for fear of being featured on that notorious website where some judges haven’t been spared accusations, abuse and possible defamation.

Talking of defamation, there was one attempt that I think is still before the courts: see MALTESE CAT LIMITED v DOE [2017] NZHC 1634 [14 July 2017] and MALTESE CAT LIMITED v JOHN DOE AND/OR JANE DOE [2017] NZHC 1728 [25 July 2017], in which it is alleged that Nottingham used the attack website as part of a paid for campaign in a domestic dispute.

Why was I included in the private prosecutions? That’s probably a story of it’s own, but I can think of a number of possibilities:

  • Slater held a grudge against me because he has a very thin skin when held to account for crap that he does
  • Spring had a grudge against me for stopping him from using Your NZ in continuing attacks that could no longer be run on Whale Oil
  • LF had a grudge against me – they had reacted negatively when I confronted them on Twitter for making a baseless accuation
  • A post of Nottingham’s charge appeared on Your NZ and he connected that with a police/court/Herald conspiracy

I think that Nottingham et al saw me as an easy target. They tried to pressure and threaten me into pleading guilty to make it easier for them to succeed in the prosecutions of the Herald and Prentice.

And when I stood up to them and refused to buckle they did what they have done with others, they got very nasty, seeking vindictive retribution. This seems to be a common thing with them.

Slater had already found that the legal going can get tough, and seems to have distanced himself a bit, although he was still using Nottingham in legal proceedings a year ago – see BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2017] NZHC 1654 [18 July 2017]

With the conviction and sentencing, and also the bankruptcy proceedings, things finally look to be turning to custard for Nottingham, and it’s not over yet.

And I suspect that things haven’t turned out that well for his brothers or McKinney or Spring either, on top of the self trashing of any reputations they may have had.

Of course there’s a risk I may become a target of their wrath by posting this. But I think public interest – especially of anyone else who becomes a target – is important here.