Slater active recovering from stroke

Cameron Slater seems to have made a rapid recovery from what was claimed to be a severely debilitating stroke.

He stopped posting at Whale Oil when he had the stroke in later October 2018. Soon afterwards he continued commenting occasionally, but there seemed to be a blackout of any mention of the stroke or why he had stopped posting for several months, until an announcement on 21 January – ‘Where the hell is Cam?’

Cam suffered a serious stroke that left him partially paralysed down his right side and totally paralysed in his right arm including his hand and fingers as well as severe impairment in higher order functioning and moderate speech impairment.

Now that more than two months have passed, we have decided it is time to let you, our loyal audience, know what has been going on behind the scenes.

Progress is being made, but it is very long and very hard. Cam cannot concentrate, read or take phone calls for more than ten or fifteen minutes a day. He cannot cope with loud noises, background noises or being interrupted and he certainly does not have the ability to form complex thought structures. The vision in Cam’s right eye has also been affected.

However, it would be untrue to pretend that we don’t need your help. Much as it pains us to ask others for help, we have concluded that we must ask for your assistance in helping Cam pay the huge legal bills he has incurred as a result of having to defend himself from the lawfare of his enemies.

That coincided with ongoing legal challenges, which raised questions about how incapacitated Slater actually was. Anyone would be stressed by the legal and financial holes he had dug himself into. Unrepentant and continuing to claim to be the victim didn’t help his cause.

Slater filed for bankruptcy in February, citing legal bills.

The company in which Slater was a shareholder and director that operated Whale Oil until some ownership switches in February went into liquidation in March.

Yesterday on Whale Oil:

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.
I hope Fisher sees this and chokes on his lactose free vegan soup.

So it sounds like Slater has made a rapid recovery. That’s good.

And according to this he is choosing not to go back to posting at Whale Oil at this stage.

 

 

Police re-investigating home invasion assault after complaint by Blomfield

Police are re-investigating a 2014 home invasion in which Matthew Blomfield was seriously assaulted, including being shot at in front of his family. The assailant was caught through  a DNA match, convicted and imprisoned, but the motive was never disclosed. Blomfield has complained to the police that others may have been involved, but until recently they have not done much to investigate.

This is detailed in David Fisher’s latest Big Read:  The blogger and the businessman – how the police failed, and new inquiries into a vicious home invasion

I’m familiar with a lot of the history covered in this. I have posted here about the attacks against Blomfield on Whale Oil, the long defamation case that resulted in Cameron Slater being found in October 2018 by a judge to have no defence (Slater recently withdrew an appeal), the illegal use of private data when a hard drive was supplied to Blomfield, and a number of other related things.

I have also posted about the assault on Blomfield. What is new are the claims of police inaction in investigating, and the current re-investigating.

Remember how quickly the police investigated Nicky Hager after a complaint by Slater that he had been hacked? The police overstepped in their raid on Hager’s home and obtaining bank information, for which they have since apologised for and paid compensation.

Remember how the police investigated and prosecuted Ben Rachinger after a complaint by Slater? And how, when Slater was prosecuted for trying procure a hack of The Standard, the police gave him diversion after Slater accepted guilt (but soon after posted that his contrition was not genuine).

Blomfield seems to have had a lot more difficulty getting the police to investigate for him, on complicity in the assault, and in how Slater got thehard drive. This has ended up resulting in a complaint to Independent Police Conduct Authority, and the re-opening of an investigation.

Blomfield’s complaints to police began in April 2012 when he told police Slater had obtained a hard drive with his personal and business information. Slater used the material as the basis of a series of blog posts over the next six months which led to the seven-year defamation action.

Blomfield’s interaction with police over the next four years included complaints about the hard drive, being interviewed as the victim of a home invasion which took place in April 2014 and a further complaint after his computer was hacked – possibly on more than one occasion.

Blomfield complained to the Independent Police Conduct Authority over police handling of complaints, leading to a review of police files identified areas that “warrant further police investigation”.

Detective Inspector Hayden Mander followed with a letter in December 2017 in which he said there had been multiple failures by police investigating a range of complaints.

On the hard drive:

He said there was “little comprehension” the first complaint about the hard drive could be seen as a possible crime involving the use of the data.

“Having reviewed the file, I believe there was a failure from the outset in comprehending the complexity of this investigation; in that it might be something other than a theft or burglary.

“Once computer crime was considered, there are gaps in the investigation and there was a lack of comprehensive assessment of the criminal culpability of the persons of interest that were identified during the inquiry.”

Mander, who has since left the police, said a specific complaint of “computer crime” had been made by Blomfield at the time. He said there was no evidence it had been investigated and no victim statement had been taken.

He said there needed to be a new investigation into the use of the hard drive and whether it was a “computer crime”.

There is an irony over Slater using the hard drive data to post a series of attacks on Blomfield on Whale Oil – Slater has long claimed bitterly about being hacked and data obtained being used to discredit him.

Mander also said police had not properly investigated a complaint by Blomfield made in 2014 after emails of his post-dating the hard drive were published online. The emails were from a password-protected cloud service, leading Blomfield to complain his information had been hacked.

On the assault:

Mander’s letter said there were further failures by police, including around a terrifying assault on Blomfield at his Greenhithe home in April 2014.

The incident saw Ned Tehuru Paraha, now 41, enter the home where Blomfield and his family live, face covered with a Spiderman mask and carrying a shotgun.

During the assault which followed, Paraha fired a shotgun at Blomfield on at least two occasions. One of Blomfield’s young daughters hid inside while the other saw her father – and for a period, her mother – fight back against the invader until he was forced to flee.

Blomfield was left seriously injured as a result of the assault, and has since testified as to the lasting damage the attack had on his and his family’s feeling of safety and security in their own home.

Paraha was caught a month later and pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to injure, aggravated burglary and assault with intent to injure. He was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison.

Mander said the “front end” of the investigation – Paraha’s identification through DNA and conviction – was carried out properly.

No reason or motive was disclosed.

“However, it was acknowledged from those conducting the police investigation and from yourself that others were likely responsible for the planning of this offending.

“To date, no-one else has been held to account for this offending.

“Despite you advising police of your suspicions that specific people were involved in the planning of this offending, these avenues of inquiry have never been followed up. Further, you have provided police with other lines of inquiry that remain on the file but have not been completed.”

Mander said there was a “clear need” to investigate parts of the incident.

He states that the police did obtain phone records that at least indicated others had prior knowledge of the home invasion, but didn’t act on this information.

In the recording, Mander said a production order had been used during the earlier investigation to access an individual’s phone records.

He told Blomfield police “didn’t really do a very good job of examining the data it produced”.

Mander said he had examined the phone traffic and seen contact the days before, the day of and the day after the assault which needed further investigation.

Blomfield claims that Slater knew about the attack and thinks the police should have south information from him (he doesn’t allege that Slater was directly involved).

Blomfield said he believed there was reason for police to speak with Slater in relation to the attack and had previously provided information which should have been acted on.

He said a comment made by Slater in the High Court precinct at Auckland, prior to a June 2016 judicial settlement conference, suggested Slater had knowledge as to where Paraha had obtained the shotgun used in the attack.

Blomfield said it was confirmation Slater had received information about the attack and the email was passed to police. He received a response saying: “Your email is noted and has been added to the file.”

A file that seems to have had more cobwebs than police attention.

Blomfield said he since received information anonymously from someone describing themselves as the hacker Rawshark, the identity used by the person who hacked Slater’s computer in 2014 then passed the contents to journalist Nicky Hager. The hacked material was used as the basis for the book Dirty Politics.

He said the information provided to him – which matches information supplied to and printed by the Herald in 2014 – gave him cause for concern over Slater’s attitude towards him.

The Rawshark files included social media correspondence between Slater and contacts developed through the blog. Some of the content from late 2013 reflected the defamation action was placing Slater under increased pressure.

In other messages in November 2013, Slater told the contact he believed gang members were looking for Blomfield in relation to money owed on behalf of a family member. It is unknown if there was any basis for this belief.

In the message, Slater says: “they are now looking for him … I know where he is and where he works if they want to find him … name is Matthew Blomfield”.

In another message, previously unreported, Slater tells the same contact: “Can you find out who wants to bash blomfield … I can help them find him.”

Slater has testified since he embellished claims made in conversations obtained by Rawshark. There is no evidence in the Rawshark material Slater’s conversation turned into actions in the real world.

The month after the messages, on December 14 2013, Slater posted to his blog a copy of a district court decision from the defamation case which included a cover letter with Blomfield’s home address.

In a blog post which has since been deleted, the blog’s administrator wrote: “I wouldn’t want to be Mr Blomfield for the next 10 years. The other side of Karma is coming.”

It seems that Karma has been catching up on Slater, with a series of losses in defamation proceedings, bankruptcy and a stroke (a common cause being stress).

Blomfield has said he believed the attack was somehow connected to the Whaleoil blog posts, although is definite in saying there is no evidence directly linking it to Slater.

On the Whaleoil blog, Slater has rejected any connection between his website and the attack. In a post, since deleted, he pointed to Paraha’s gang connections and said he doubted any of his readers mixed in such circles.

It was claimed in a comment here on Your NZ last October that gang members were present outside the court on the day of a hearing  on the Blomfield v Slater defamation. A name other than Slater’s (but in his circle) was associated with this.

Blomfield told the Herald there were lines of inquiry police should have pursue in relation to most complaints, yet did not.

He said the home invasion in 2014, during which he was shot at least two times, was never properly investigated.

“Someone sent this guy to do this.” Blomfield said the delay in the investigation meant evidence would have decayed. “It now seems that (information) is going to be lost.”

He said there was no sensible reason for a Tribesman-affiliated gang member from Manukau, to whom he had no links or connection, to come to his Greenhithe home firing a loaded shotgun.

“It would be totally reasonable to ask the Police why it is taking so long and when that investigation will be completed.”

But Blomfield and his lawyer claims that the police have continued to do little to investigate.

Barrister Felix Geiringer, who was Blomfield’s lawyer in the defamation case, said the lack of action by police was shocking yet even more so given the police review appeared to show an officer had acted in a way which prevented a proper investigation taking place.

He said the home invasion offending was criminal behaviour at the most serious end of the scale and it was “terrifying” police could “so easily decide not to take basic investigative steps”.

Geiringer said there was a clear lack of urgency which included delays with the fresh investigation.

“Six months after informing Matt that they had never properly investigated the attempt on his life, a newly appointed investigator informed Matt that he had not yet read the file.

“Over 18 months later, and the Police have still not decided what further action, if any, they intend to take.

“Matt and his family have never felt safe since the attack. They don’t feel that the New Zealand police have any interest in protecting them. Who could blame them?”

I for one can’t blame them. I was dragged into this long running feud and attacks via blog posts and the courts.

I have had what could be construed as implied death threats. I have had my address and photo of my home posted on a website that ran a series of attacks on me, and incorrectly linked me with Blomfield. I believe that people in Slater’s circle of associates were involved (they and Slater were definitely involved in vexatious legal actions against me).

Emails on the court file show the meeting, with former business associates of Blomfield, saw discussion focused on targeting Blomfield in a scheme called “Operation Bumslide”.

In the chain of emails between the conspirators, there was a joke about Blomfield being raped and one in which an associate of Slater’s made disparaging sexual remarks about Blomfield’s wife.

So far Slater has borne the brunt of Blomfield’s fight back via the defamation, and he is the only one named in Fisher’s article.

The impression I get from this latest ‘big read’ from Fisher is that Slater may be able to help the police with their inquiries, if they ever make proper inquiries. Perhaps ‘an associate of Slater’s’ (or more) could also warrant some investigation. So far they have managed to leave Slater to cop most of the fallout. It looks to me like Slater may have been used as a ‘useful idiot’ in what started as a business feud against Blomfield.

Things can hardly get much worse for Slater, but others who have so far escaped being held to account may find things getting awkward for them if the police start doing their job properly.

Liquidated Whale Oil company owes more than half a million dollars

The liquidator of Social Media Consultants has already issued her first report. While total debts are unknown (including the bank and IRD) Sundry Creditors total $519,625, and there’s another $146,361 owed to the shareholder Current Account, and subscribers with an estimated $5,000 paid in advance.

Most of the sundry creditors are likely to be lawyers bills and court awarded costs in several defamation proceedings Cameron Slater and Social media Consultants Limited remain embroiled in.

The only assets apart from $856 in the bank and $4,538 debtors are Intangibles – listed as blog, domain name and IP.

 

Slater’s stroke may have had some impact on ongoing income, but his legal costs must have had most impact. he was hit with several expensive legal whammies in the weeks just before and after he had his stroke.

$5,000 doesn’t sound a lot for 300+ subscribers. perhaps most of them are only paying monthly. That would be a prudent approach at this stage.

Who would be interested in buying Whale Oil?

It’s difficult to know what the blog and website address would be worth. It would hardly be a going concern, and it could be an expensive hobby.

The liquidator states that a priority is obtaining a legal opinion on “the ability to sell the blog which contains personal information that may be subject to legal proceedings in the future”. It could be a big job checking the vast content still online for legal risks.

There might be most value from someone who had an interest in buying Whale Oil to shut the blog down and scrap all contents. That would be a huge fall from the heights it reached five years ago. Dirty Politics probably precipitated the fall, but the ongoing legal issues ended up being the most damaging.

Slater has ruled himself out of involvement in the blog, and it’s difficult to see how the current sole shareholder, Juana Atkins, can continue there either. Atkins has done a huge job reorganising and running Whale Oil over the last few months, but she may not see much for her efforts.

NZ Herald:  Whale Oil company owes more than $670,000 – liquidator

I can find no sign of this news on Whale Oil, nor of the company going into liquidation earlier in the week.

They are still advertising subscriptions and meat. They have shuffled things to different companies, but this must be a but suspect, especially the subscriptions.

Slater: “Bankruptcy is just a joke…pretty much meaningless”

A few years ago Cameron Slater posted on Whale Oil “Bankruptcy is like a toothless tiger that benefits the bankrupt more than the victims” and claimed “the process of being in bankruptcy pretty much meaningless”.

He even suggested how easy it was to continue to operate companies and hide assets and that it wasn’t common to be prosecuted for it.

Bankruptcy is just a joke, really

by Cameron Slater on May 6, 2014 at 1:00pm

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.

He probably didn’t think he would end up being bankrupt, but now he is, and appears to have rearranged companies and assets, he may be hoping that Official Assignees really are easy to hide things from, and are unlikely to hold miscreants to account.

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

And: Whale Oil company put into liquidation after rearrangements

 

Whale Oil company put into liquidation after rearrangements

Social Media Consultants Limited, the company that until recently was the owner of the Whale Oil blog, has been put into liquidation.

Last month Cameron Slater’s shares were transferred to his wife Juana Atkins, who became sole shareholder and director (she had been joint owner and director until then.

Soon after that Slater filed for bankruptcy.

Also last month the website registration for whaleoil.co.nz was transferred to a new company WOBH Limited, owned by an accountant associated with Slater.

Yesterday a liquidator was appointed for Social Media Consultants Limited

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

The company that owned the controversial blog Whale Oil has been put into liquidation.

Social Media Consultants Limited, which was previously owned by Cameron Slater, was put into voluntary liquidation on Monday, by his wife and sole shareholder Juana Mary Atkins.

Slater vacated as a shareholder of the company in February. Another company was set up called Wobh Ltd. under Atkins’ name at the same time.

That’s not accurate. Timeline

  • 1 February 2019 (filed 22 February 2019)
    – Cameron Slater ceased director of Social Media Consultants Limited
    – Cameron Slater removed shareholder Social Media Consultants Limited
  • 13 February 2019
    – shareholder for MADAS 114 Limited recorded as Howard Karl Taylor, Accountant
    – directors details for MADAS 114 Limited recorded as Howard Karl Taylor, Accountant
    – new company incorporation MADAS 114 Limited, registered office Howard Karl Taylor
  • 22 February 2019
    – Cameron Slater ceased shareholder of Social Media Consultants Limited
    – Juana Atkins sole shareholder of Social Media Consultants Limited
  • 25 February 2019
    – registration of website whaleoil.co.nz changed from Social Media Consultants Limited to WOBH Limited
    – new company MADAS 116 Limited: shareholder and director Howard Karl Taylor
  • 26 February 2019
    – company name changed from MADAS 114 Limited to WOBH Limited
    – company name changed from MADAS 116 Limited to Whale Meat Company Limited
    – Whale Oil website announces “Ongoing medical tests following Cam’s stroke have shown that he remains severely incapacitated and consequently is unable to work…This has led Cam to make the very difficult decision to declare bankruptcy”
  • 27 February 2019
    – Cameron Slater files for bankruptcy
  • 5 March 2019
    – Juana Mary Atkins appointed new director of WOBH Limited
    – Juana Mary Atkins appointed new director of Whale Meat Company Limited
  • 24 March 2019
    – new shareholder of WOBH Limited: Juana Mary Atkins
    – removed shareholder of WOBH Limited: Howard Karl Taylor
    – new shareholder of Whale Meat Company Limited: Juana Mary Atkins
    – removed shareholder of Whale Meat Company Limited: Howard Karl Taylor
  • 25 March 2019
    – appointment of liquidator to Social Media Consultants Limited

The above details are from the companies website as of today. I’m fairly sure that that company history and documentation has been changed, I checked companies last month and I saw no mention of MADAS Limited.

I suspect some of those arrangements and rearrangements will be checked out.

Stuff:

It is not clear what the move means for the future of the site, which was still active on Tuesday.

I have seen no mention of any of this over the past two months on the Whale Oil website

More court costs for Slater and co-defendants in defamation entree, abandons appeal in another case

More costs awarded against Cameron Slater for more court failures, and also against co-defendants Carrick Graham (and Facilitte Communications Limited) and Katherine Rich (and NZ Food and Grocery Council) – and this is just an entree in a defamation  case brought against them by Sellman, Swinburn and Bradbrook.

Slater’s counsel have also applied to withdraw from representing him.

It follows this decision in November: SELLMAN v SLATER [2018] NZHC 3057 [23 November 2018]

[4] On Monday 25 February 2019, Mr Henry, his junior and his instructing solicitor sought to withdraw from representing Mr Slater because they no longer had instructions as at Friday 22 February 2019. He advised Mr Slater had voluntarily applied to be adjudicated bankrupt, needed to be isolated from stress and there were extensive legal fees outstanding.

Sounds like no money, no lawyer.

[8] Mr Salmon, for the plaintiffs, seeks costs on their successful applications and costs on the unsuccessful applications of Mr Slater, Mrs Rich and the NZFGC…The total of costs sought by the plaintiffs is $24,063.90.

[12] I consider the plaintiffs succeeded in relation to the applications, as follows:

(a) completely, in opposing Mr Slater’s application to exclude documents from the proceeding;

(b) substantially, in applying for particular discovery by Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL;

(c) to a limited extent, for the avoidance of doubt and for updating purposes, in applying for particular discovery against Mrs Rich and the NZFGC;

(d) substantially, in opposing Mrs Rich’s and the NZFGC’s application for particular discovery;

(e) completely, in applying to examine Mr Slater and Mr Graham orally

[14] …I consider the overall interests of justice are best served by awarding costs, as sought, to the plaintiffs, to be borne: 50 per cent by Mr Slater; 33 per cent by Mr Graham and FCL; and 17 per cent by Mrs Rich and NZFGC.

So that’s about $12,000 awarded against Slater in addition to ‘extensive legal fees outstanding’, and he is still required to be orally examined – from the November judgment:

[60] I have examined Mr Slater’s and Mr Graham’s answers to interrogatories. I am concerned their statements that Whaleoil did not publish blogposts for reward are not consistent with the evidence to which the plaintiffs point, which suggests that was done in specific instances. They are inconsistent with reasonable inferences from the
emails obtained by the plaintiffs. And they are inconsistent with Mr Graham belatedly accepting he did do so in respect of blog posts about Mr Clague once evidence of that was adduced. I am also concerned a number of other aspects of the interrogatories may not have been properly responded to, regarding: who was the author of the blog posts; the involvement of each of the defendants in their preparation; downloading of blog posts; authorship of the comments; and payments received. I consider Mr Slater and Mr Graham have made insufficient answer to the interrogatories.

[61] I consider the most efficient means to elicit answers to the plaintiffs’ questions is for Mr Slater and Mr Graham to attend Court for up to one day to be orally examined.

Slater has brought much of this on himself, through his initial actions, and subsequently by failing to deal with court proceedings properly, and refusing to conceded or apologise. He has voluntarily gone bankrupt, and has tried to avoid further proceedings claiming ill health, but it doesn’t look like the financial and legal stress is going to ease up yet.

He has choices – he could try to bring all this to a conclusion, or he could keep digging himself into a bigger quagmire.

JUDGMENT No 7 OF PALMER J [Costs]

And also today: Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater abandons appeal against defamation court ruling

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater is no longer appealing a High Court decision which found he defamed businessman Matthew Blomfield.

Slater was set to appeal the decision. However, the Court of Appeal confirmed on Monday that the appeal, which was scheduled to be heard on March 25, had been abandoned by parties acting for Slater. That means the High Court ruling stands.

The court is yet to decide how much money Slater will have to pay Blomfield in damages.

On the High Court decision: Blomfield v Slater defamation – no credible defence

So Slater has effectively conceded no credible defence.

This follows an award of $70,000 against Slater by the Human Rights Review Tribunal of $70,000 last week – Human Rights Tribunal slams Cameron Slater

 

Why did the Human Rights privacy decision against Slater take so long?

In short, lack of resources, in particular there only being one Chairperson who could do most of the work. The findings \seem simple and obvious.

One of the notable aspects of the Human Rights Review Tribunal decision against Cameron Slater was how long it took for the decision to be published.

This shows that the hearings began in October 2014, and the decision wasn’t published until about four and a half years. Matthew Blomfield had good reason to claim that justice delayed is justice denied, especially as since the hearings Slater has clocked up a lot of other legal and court costs, and declared himself bankrupt last month. The $70,000 awarded by the tribunal will be difficult to get.

The decision tries to explain the reason for this long delay.

[14] The reasons for the long delay in publishing this decision are explained in Wall v Fairfax New Zealand Ltd (Delay) [2017] NZHRRT 8. It was not until enactment of the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Act 2018 that s 99AA of the Human Rights Act was on 14 November 2018 inserted to allow the Governor-General to appoint one or more Deputy Chairpersons of the Tribunal. As at the date of publication of this decision no such appointments had been made.

[15] The delay by the Tribunal is regretted and an apology is made to the parties.

It refers to Wall v Fairfax New Zealand Ltd (Delay) [2017] NZHRRT 8 which explains more.

[2] There are two reasons for the delay. First, an unprecedented increase in the Tribunal’s workload and second, the fact that the Human Rights Act 1993 does not allow the appointment of a deputy chair to assist the Chairperson to keep pace with the large inflow of new cases.

[3] The volume of new cases filed with the Tribunal over the past two calendar years has increased substantially…

[4] As a consequence of this influx there were 120 active files as at 28 February 2017, each requiring hands-on management by the Chairperson…

[5] Apart from the sharp numerical increase in the number of files requiring management(and the allocation of a hearing date), the workload of the Tribunal (particularly that of the Chairperson) has been added to by two further factors. First, the growing complexity of the issues litigated…On average, the present norm is for hearings to take between three and five days.

Second, the steep increase in the number of cases in which one or more of the parties is self-represented…Cases involving self-represented litigants are more difficult to manage and therefore more time-consuming.

Slater and his assistant in this case Dermot Nottingham both have records of time wasting, deliberate delays, and dumping huge amounts of irrelevant and inadmissible material into proceedings. An additional problem is that various courts have allowed these practices to continue for years of litigation.

Structure of the Human Rights Act unhelpful

[6] Part 4 of the Human Rights Act is structured in such a way that almost every action on every file must be undertaken by the Chairperson. For example, all case management directions must be given by the Chairperson (see the Human Rights Review Tribunal Regulations 2002, regs 16 to 18) and the Chairperson must preside at all sittings of the Tribunal (s 104(4)). Interim order applications are also determined by the Chair (s 95). All decisions of the Tribunal are written by the Chairperson.

[7] The Chairperson is presently the only member of the Tribunal. The Panel maintained by the Minister of Justice under s 101 is a separate statutory entity which is drawn on by both the Chairperson and by the High Court.  Members of the Panel are only ever members of a “tribunal” when appointed by the Chairperson for the purposes of a particular hearing (s 98).

The anomaly

[8] Section 102(1) of the HRA does not allow the appointment of a Deputy Chair to share the workload…

[9] An urgent amendment to this section is necessary. It is an amendment of the most minor kind. All that is required is for the amended s 102 to provide:

(1) The Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Minister, may appoint a deputy chair or chairs of the Tribunal.

[10] Such amendment will allow the Tribunal, if it is adequately resourced, to hear and determine cases in a timely and efficient manner. Without legislative intervention the severe difficulties presently faced by the Tribunal will compound.

That Minute was delivered on 10 March 2017.

The Slater decision states that on on 14 November 2018  the “Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Act 2018 that s 99AA of the Human Rights Act was inserted to allow the Governor-General to appoint one or more Deputy Chairpersons of the Tribunal.”

While no Deputy Chairpersons have been appointed the recent change would have been too late for speeding up the Slater decision.

The hope must be that cases currently before the Human Rights Review Tribunal, and future cases, will progress much faster.

 

 

Human Rights Tribunal slams Cameron Slater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A media release from Blomfield:

Human Rights Review Tribunal orders Cameron Slater to pay damages

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full judgment [2019] NZHRRT 13 is here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know how that might work.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Challenging future for Whale Oil

Whale Oil and Cameron Slater used to be the same thing – the names were interchangeable.  Now Whale Oil is trying to survive without any known personality. It’s going to be tough, even if they survive the substantial legal and financial problems they face.

Slater, with the help of others, grew Whale Oil into the biggest and most influential political blog in New Zealand. They were used by Prime Minister John Key’s office for conducting black ops, they were fed gossip and inside information by MPs from different parties.

And they were used by journalists to break news deemed to borderline or over the line for mainstream media, giving media an excuse to report it once it was out in public.

But Whale Oil peaked and faltered badly in 2014, for two reasons.

Slater took on a blog manager, Pete Belt, who probably successfully monetised the site, but purportedly to do this he conducted major purges of commenters. The claimed aim was to ‘clean up’ comments, but it looked more like heavy handed censorship. There have been many claims that posting comments that questioned or criticised Slater’s posts led to a raid ban. This in fact is what happened to me.

Through mid 2014 hundreds if not thousands of commenters were banned. This may have enabled message control, and it seems to have created a compliant community that survives by knowing what not to talk about, but it lost Whale Oil a lot of support.

The second reason was Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics, which was launched in August 2014. John Key and his government survived the election later that year, but it made Whale Oil politically toxic, and was largely shunned by most National MPs and media. This removed Whale Oil’s major tool of trade, inside information and exclusive news.

So Whale Oil was no longer the force it had been. Slater flipped as far as campaigning against National through the 2017 election year and campaign. This annoyed a lot of the National leaning audience of Whale Oil. Slater openly campaigned for Winston Peters, adding to the angst.

After NZ First enabled a Labour led government, and backtracked or flip flopped on promises and perceived policies, the annoyance at Slater’s support of Peters grew, and going by comment numbers, the support of Whale Oil shrank.

2018 became a crunch year for Slater, with his defamatory past catching up with him.

After waiting over a year for a judgment, Slater was found by a judge to have defamed Colin Craig.  Although Craig was found to have damaged his own reputation and no damages were awarded, legal costs would have been financially damaging. Perhaps.

Eyebrows were raised when long time lawyer of Peters, Brian Henry, defended Slater in the defamation case (and also unsuccessfully counter sued Craig). Either this will have cost Slater a lot in legal fees, or raises questions about why Slater would be given cheap or free legal representation.

A double defamation whammy came in October last year after a defamation trial, which took six and a half years to get to court, found that Slater had no credible defence to defamation against Matthew Blomfield. More lawyers, more costs, and presumably a hefty damages award pending.

A triple whammy came at the end of October when Slater suffered a stroke. He has not posted at Whale Oil since then – there was silence about this for three months at Whale Oil.

And in November there was a quadruple whammy when in another defamation case Slater was taken to task by a judge who said he had not provided information required about claims that attacks on three academics were paid for by co-defendant Carrick Graham. The NZ Food and Grocery Council as fifth defendant is also implicated.

Slater and Graham were called to appear before the judge to explain (I don’t know if this has happened yet, Slater has used his stroke as a reason not to do any legal stuff).

So both Slater and Whale Oil had serious legal and financial problems.

In February 2019 Whale Oil announced that Slater would no longer contribute, indefinitely. He also stopped commenting after it was pointed out in courts that he may nor be as incapacitated by the stroke as claimed.

The future for Whale Oil

So what are the future prospects for Whale Oil? If they can successfully separate themselves from the legal and financial issues they could keep going, but this could be difficult. The company that had operated the blog, Social Media Consultants Limited, is second defendant in the Blomfield case, and recent ownership changes may be difficult to distance them.

At the moment Whale Oil continues with an active community, although comments are noticeably lower in number. They had been declining for months but have dipped further since it was announced Slater was no longer a part of the mix.

Over the last week Whale Oil seems to have been wiping themselves clean of Slater.

Until recently this was still used for the Whale Oil twitter and Facebook and website:

Whale Oil was still Cam Slater, and they were still promoting Dirty Politics as a badge of honour (more like dishonour).

Now Whale Oil is just headed:

Whale Oil Beef Hooked

And their branding on twitter and Facebook has had a major makeover:

Note the change from Cam Slater to Whaleoil media.

Slater still  gets a brief mention on the website ‘About’:

Whale Oil Beef Hooked (Whaleoil) started in July 2005 as a personal blog with no audience at all.  Fast forward to 2019 and Whaleoil is a multi-award-winning media organisation.

Whale Oil won a couple of awards when? 2013 I think.  They were and award winning website.

At the centre is Cameron Slater.  Outspoken, controversial, but undeniably a major player in political views and news.

That’s wrong on several counts.

Slater is not centre any more, he has been severely sidelined. Now unspoken. And he hasn’t been a major player in political views for years.

Whaleoil is the fastest-growing media organisation in New Zealand. Its brand of news, opinion, analysis and entertainment is finding fertile ground with an audience that is feeling abandoned by traditional news media.

There is no evidence Whale oil is growing. To the contrary. It looks like support is abandoning Whale Oil. They have been deceived, and they have lost credibility.

If the legal and financial issues don’t stop them Whale Oil will be able to continue, but they are substantially different to the old Whale Oil/Cam Slater brand.

A number of contributors have stepped up admirably, but they don’t have to clout or personality of the old Whale, but it’s going to be tough for them to survive.

 

Sympathy for Slater?

I recently posted legal facts about the defamation cases against Cameron Slater at Kiwiblog. as usual there I got a mixed reception. One comment was from ‘Debbie’:

I really struggle to understand why some would have sympathy for Cameron Slater just because he *sometimes* posts right-leaning views.

Everything about him is disgusting. He has no sense of personal self-responsibility, he has leeched off the taxpayer for so long, he publishes absolute lies so long as someone will pay him, destroys people’s lives for fun, then when held account cries victim.

Even if the stroke is genuine, it probably has more to do with being a fat lardass who sits on a computer all day, every day, than the so-called “stress” of court cases – which could have easily been avoided by simply acting like a decent human being. (After all, noone has ever tried to sue David Farrar for defamation, even if they disagreed with his political leanings.)

If the stroke is real, it was a direct consequence of his unhealthy lifestyle choices. But it shouldn’t excuse him from the consequences of his shitty behaviour to other human beings, and whilst I might be tempted to laugh at his bankruptcy application, I have more sympathy for Matt Blomfield et al who may not ever receive any compensation for his defamation. Slater really is a piece of shit.

16 upticks, 2 downticks.

No one commented in response. There were a few digs at me, including false claims. I responded to one with “I don’t have a palpable dislike for WO.” In reply to that Keeping stock posted:

Pass me a bottle of Tui please Pete. Just admit that you are reveling in Slater/WO’s demise. Be honest about it; no one would think badly of you given you got caught up on the fringes of his legal issues.

But please, stop pretending to be an objective, neutral observer here.

No criticism of Slater, but a swipe at me. I explained that I am not  “reveling in Slater/WO’s demise”, and I had not suggested I was “an objective, neutral observer here”.

I was included in a twitter thread last night that began:

This moved into a discussion on sympathy about Slater.

Some sign of contrition might change my view of him but that doesn’t seem his style.

So I added my thoughts on how I feel about it.

He and associates of his have tried to hurt me quite badly. Wife threatened. Home threatened. Family threatened. Home threatened. Online acquaintances threatened. Expensive legal action against me. Blog threatened. Liberty threatened. Criminal record threatened.

I have empathy and some sympathy for anyone who has a medical event like a stroke. Also for their family.

But I have some scepticism of severity of illness, with good reason. One of his ‘lawfare’ associates, Dermot Nottingham, used illness to try to defer and extend legal actions, and as an excuse for not complying with timetables and legal obligations, adversely affected many.

See:

[7] Lastly, Mr Nottingham pleaded that the court also ought to extend an indulgence to him as a lay litigant and he asserted that health problems have affected his ability to prepare. We are not prepared to extend time on this ground. He appears regularly enough in the courts to eliminate any claim to dispensation for limited resources or unfamiliarity with process.

DERMOT NOTTINGHAM v MALTESE CAT LIMITED [2018] NZCA 387 [24 September 2017]

Result – hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs unpaid resulting in bankruptcy.

See: HONEY v NOTTINGHAM [2018] NZHC 2382 [11 September 2018]

In the APN, Allied Press, Prentice and my cases Slater was informant and ‘expert’ witness. In the Honey case Whale Oil was used to attack them, referred to on Twitter by another associate Marc Spring as ‘fucked over on Whale Oil’.

So, some sympathy for illness, degree reserved on proof of severity. No sympathy for Slater’s legal or financial predicaments, all of his own making.

As has said, no contrition from Slater whatsoever, on the contrary, he claims to be the victim and blames those he has attacked for his situation. As does Nottingham (many court documents show this, including his sentencing notes after 7 convictions).

So, some sympathy for the illness, with the degree of sympathy reserved pending facts about the severity of the illness.

Sympathy for family, especially children (Slater’s wife shares some responsibility for aiding and abetting and taking part in dirty attacks).

Zero sympathy for Slater’s self inflicted legal and financial situation.