Others associated with Slater in defamation of Blomfield

Cameron Slater has been found by a judge to have no credible defence to charges of defamation brought against him by Matthew Blomfield, but it not just him alone who has lost after a lengthy (6 year+) court battle. And others have been closely associated with both the attack campaign that was found to be defamatory, and the train wreck of legal proceedings.

See Blomfield v Slater defamation – no credible defence and Blomfield statement, plus judgments v Slater.

To an extent Slater appears to be the fall guy here. He has been used as a ‘useful idiot’ by others – although I think that litigation-wise it looks more like ‘useless idiots’.  But he has also brought much of this upon himself in his quest for attention and revenue as an attack blogger for hire.

Slater is known to have been involved in a number attack campaigns with or on behalf of others.

  • He had associations with failed mayoral candidate John Palino when he (with others) launched a post election attack on successfully re-elected mayor Len Brown in 2013.
  • He was working with Jordan Williams in his attack campaign against Colin Craig, which resulted in Slater also being found guilty of defamation.
  • He was involved with Dermot Nottingham and Marc Spring in the failed attempts to privately prosecute myself, APN, Allied Press and Lynn Prentice, and also in a failed attempt to shut this site down and wage ‘lawfare’ (as he calls it) against me.
  • Nicky Hager’s booked Dirty Politics claimed that Simon Lusk paid Slater to attack political opponents or competiting candidates.
  • Slater worked with staffer Jason Ede from Prime Minister John Key’s office in various attacks.
  • It is alleged he attacked academics on behalf of (and possibly paid by) PR consultant Carrick Graham and either or both of Kahterine Rich and the NZ Food and Grocery Council – see SELLMAN v SLATER [2018] NZHC 3057 [23 November 2018]
  • He had some sort of association with Jami-Lee Ross in his attack on the leadership of Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett and the National Party.

In the Blomfield case Slater was first defendant, but there was a second defendant, Social media Consultants Limited:

[6] In this proceeding the plaintiff, Mr Matthew Blomfield, sues the defendants, Cameron Slater (the first defendant) and Social Media Consultants Limited (the second defendant), alleging that they defamed him in a series of nine articles which the first defendant wrote and the second defendant published on the Whale Oil blog website between 3 May 2012 and 6 June 2012.

The plaintiff’s claim was originally brought only against Mr Slater. Social Media Consultants Ltd
was joined as a second defendant pursuant to an order of Brewer J on 7 December 2017.

Slater is one of two directors of this company along with his wife Juana Atkins (she seems to be largely managing and running Whale Oil since Slater had a stroke in October).

They are also the shareholders, Atkins holding 99% of the shares, Slater 1%, but this has changed over the time of the Blomfield litigation.

  • Harold Paul Honnor was sole shareholder when the company was incorporated on 19 August 2009.
  • Honnor ceased as director on 1 July 2012.
  • Slater signed a consent to become a director on 1 July 2012.

Note that this was just after the publications on Blomfield.

  • By 24 June 2013 Slater was listed as a shareholder (an unavailable document leaves it unclear when he became a shareholder).
  • On 20 July 2015 9900 shares were transferred from Slater to Atkins, with Slater retaining 100.
  • On 20 July 2015 Atkins became a new director.

I don’t know how these directorship and shareholding changes affect financial liability.

Business associates from Hell

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

The case against Slater and his company, Social Media Consultants Ltd, focused on nine blog posts on the Whaleoil website over a month in mid-2012.

It saw claims by Blomfield the blog posts were a deliberate attack orchestrated by a former business partner Warren Powell and associates after a falling out in their Hells Pizza business.

Evidence on the court file showed Powell and others met with Slater before the blog posts to plan “Operation Bumslide” – a plan to target Blomfield.

Documents detailing this include:

From the 2015 judgment:

[9] Mr Blomfield sought discovery, and that interrogatories be answered. The former referred to “all email correspondence between” Mr Slater and other persons who were allegedly involved in the supply of material to Mr Slater. Those persons were Mr Powell, Mr Spring, Ms Easterbrook, Mr Price and Mr Neil. The notice to
answer interrogatories included a question about the source of the alleged defamatory material published on Mr Slater’s blog site.

In a statement Blomfield said yesterday:

In 2012, Cameron Slater ran a long series of articles about me on his Whale Oil website. They were vicious. They portrayed me as violent, a criminal, a fraudster, a psychopath, and more. He said anything he could to try to destroy my reputation and to destroy me. There was no truth to any of it.

I believe he did all of this because he was paid to do so. I had had a falling out with a business partner who tried to get revenge by making false allegations against me. I recognised many of the allegations Slater published as being the same ones that my ex-business partner had made. Slater has always denied it, but I have seen correspondence confirming that my ex-business partner was sending him money. It also appears he gave Slater an overseas holiday. I found out that documents Slater was using to try to legitimise his allegations came from files I had left in the care of my ex business partner.

I think that Powell has been living overseas for some time.

Another ex Hell associate who has been involved in the attacks on Blomfield and litigation is Marc Spring, also mentioned in the above court documents.

The just released Reasons Judgment: shows that Spring has been involved directly in the court case.

[17] The defendants also served two briefs of evidence, one by the first defendant himself and another by Marc Spring.

[120] Mr Geiringer also challenges the admissibility of those parts of the briefs of evidence of the first defendant and Mr Spring which refer to the opinions of other persons as a basis or support for the defendants’ truth and honest opinion defences. He submits that the opinions of other persons are irrelevant and inadmissible.

[140] By adopting this approach, the defendants have entirely failed to plead any facts and circumstances relied on to support their defences of truth and honest opinion. As a consequence none of the documents annexed to the first defendant’s affidavits filed on 20 June 2018 or any other documents included in the parties’ common bundle and which the defendants intend to adduce in evidence can be related to any particulars, and consequently they are neither relevant nor admissible. Similarly those parts of the first defendant’s and Mr Spring’s witness statements which refer to the documents annexed to the first defendant’s affidavits or to the opinions of other persons regarding the plaintiff are also inadmissible.

Brief of evidence of Marc Spring (filed 26 September 2018).

Some background. As part of the earlier court processes Slater undertook to not conduct any further attacks on Blomfield. After some breaches of this on Whale Oil were brought to the attention of the court they ceased there.

However in 2015 Marc Spring, using a number of pseudonyms, started to make accusations about Blomfield here on Your NZ. In some instances he replied to his own comments under different identities to give the appearance of agreement with what he was claiming.

Blomfield approached me (the first time I had any contact with him) claiming comments were defamatory, and I agreed and deleted some of them. Spring tried to continue but I prevented this.

I believe that as a result of this Spring and Lauda Finem turned on me and began a sustained attack on me over about a year. This included attempts to disrupt this site and render it inoperable. It also included attempts to provoke and entrap me, which led to a court order initiated by Spring but with the help of Dermot Nottingham and support of Slater. When this was shown to be hopeless and vexatious the judge threw it out.

I believe this turning on me also played a part in the attempted private prosecution brought against me (and others) by Dermot Nottingham. Slater was named as informant and as an expert witness (a witness statement was never provided, similar to the Blomfield case I think the intent was to ambush at trial but it never got to trial).

The Blomfield Reasons Judgment shows that Slater and Spring were attempting to use the trial to attack Blomfield’s character:

(vii) New pleading of bad character

[105] Mr Geiringer also refers to the new pleading of bad character introduced in the 5ASOD. He submits that the addition of the 29 particulars of bad character set out in the 5ASOD represents a major change to the scope of the proceeding, as a plaintiff would wish to answer and respond to the bad character and/or bad reputation allegations made against him.

[107] In the case of each of these particulars, Mr Geiringer submits that they are simply allegations and not particulars relevant to the issue of the plaintiff’s character and expressed in a way that gives him proper notice of what is being alleged and relied upon by the defendants. I accept this submission.

Something similar was discussed in some past discussions here. From Defamation trial – Craig versus McGregor

At least the defamation laws are getting a good work out.

All that happens is what’s been said about people gets a much bigger airing in mainstream media

All it does it makes sure the public reads more about it ….. the irony

From –Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on MondayView Post25 comments

Many causes of action have been dropped I see – wonder why?

I would suggest that they were not defamatory as otherwise you’d keep them there for the trial …….. ???

Be interesting – Ex Bankrupt V Blogger

 

From Blomfield versus Slater trial over?

Blomfield’s lawyer Felix Geiringer got the law wrong when referring to the Suminivich case on admissiable evidence – hardly a good look

Geiringer seemed to do quite a thorough and effective job, unlike team Slater.

From Open Forum – Thursday

Well this is what happens when idiots take defamation cases – should be a warning to one or two others who can now “yard stick” themselves to a simple question. ….. “is my reputation better than Colin Craig’s when it comes to having ones reputation damaged?”

From Craig v Slater – the biggest loser

The Craig Judgement shows how this all works – Craig killed his own reputation by his actions

Blomfield and Geiringer worked things quite differently to Craig, and it wasn’t their reputations killed by their own actions – if they had reputations worth anything.

Goes back to my previous comment yesterday – Craig got nothing, so it’s looking like a big problem if your reputation is less than him to start with

From what I’ve seen the defamation game just brings to the attention of the wider public what and why the articles were written about in the first place, when most had long forgotten

All in all a mugs game

Who are the mugs?

All those comments were by ‘Bill Brown’.

Lastly, in the Blomfield judgment there is an unnamed assistant:

[52] Mr Beard for the defendants submits that notwithstanding the lateness of the application, it is in the interests of justice that the defendants be granted leave to file the proposed 4ASOD. He says that the defendants’ 3ASOD was prepared by the defendants during a time when the first defendant was self-represented, and was prepared with the assistance of a McKenzie friend and without professional legal advice.

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

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

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

Mr Slater was unavailable, but an associate, Mr Nottingham…

A lot that is described in the just released Reasons Judgment – repeatedly failing to comply with court timetables, heaps of documents and abysmal arguments – sounds very much like the Nottingham proceedings against myself and others, that left him with hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid costs and bankruptcy.

While the incompetence has been a joint effort it is Slater left facing potentially substantial costs in this case, along with Social media Consultants Limited. And presumably the Whale Oil operation, even though they have tried to distance Slater from it.

There is another significant association – Lauda Finem. Slater, Nottingham and Spring all have links to that site, particularly Nottingham…

“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.”

…who has been convicted on seven charges related to that. I believe both Spring and Slater have also supplied material there.

Blomfield has already been addressing that – see BLOMFIELD v THE OWNER AND/OR ADMINISTRATOR OF WWW.LAUDAFINEM.COM [2018] NZHC 2747 [24 October 2018]

But that is really another story left for telling some other time.

Blomfield v Slater judgments:

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1902/CIV20134045218_15022019_JUDG.pdf

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1902/CIV20134045218_26102018_JUDG.pdf

 

Blomfield statement, plus judgments v Slater

Press Statement by Matthew Blomfield


High Court lifts suppression on strike out of Whale Oil defamation defence

Today, the High Court lifted a suppression order on its 26 October 2018 judgment in my case against Cameron Slater. In that judgment, the High Court essentially struck-out all of Slater’s various defences against my claim of defamation.

In 2012, Cameron Slater ran a long series of articles about me on his Whale Oil website. They were vicious. They portrayed me as violent, a criminal, a fraudster, a psychopath, and more. He said anything he could to try to destroy my reputation and to destroy me. There was no truth to any of it.

I believe he did all of this because he was paid to do so. I had had a falling out with a business partner who tried to get revenge by making false allegations against me. I recognised many of the allegations Slater published as being the same ones that my ex-business partner had made. Slater has always denied it, but I have seen correspondence confirming that my ex-business partner was sending him money. It also appears he gave Slater an overseas holiday. I found out that documents Slater was using to try to legitimise his allegations came from files I had left in the care of my exbusiness partner.

For almost seven years, I have been seeking to clear my name and to have Slater held responsible for spreading these vicious lies. For almost seven years, Slater has succeeded in delaying, and delaying, and delaying. He claimed that if given a chance he would show the Court that all the allegations he made were true. The Court gave him chance, after chance, after chance, but he was never able to even say what his case was.

Finally, in October last year, Cameron Slater ran out of chances. He had blown his last chance and the Court refused to let him have yet another one. The Court carefully considered the case that he said he wanted to bring and found that it failed to properly answer my claim in almost every way imaginable. The Court also looked at the documents Slater had and found that they did “not provide cogent support” for the allegations.

It’s magnificent to have this decision. I think this judgment is a major vindication of everything I have been fighting for, for almost seven years. It shows that there simply was no substance to what Slater said about me on his Whale Oil site.

Unfortunately, this is not the end. Slater has appealed this decision. He has used that appeal to still further delay the final judgment. Like he did in the High Court, he is now trying to delay the proceeding before the Court of Appeal.

I am determined to see this case through to its conclusion. I believe, in light of this judgment, it is now clear that there can only be one conclusion; Cameron Slater will be held accountable for his actions.

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1902/CIV20134045218_15022019_JUDG.pdf

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1902/CIV20134045218_26102018_JUDG.pdf

Blomfield v Slater defamation – no credible defence

Suppression has just been lifted on the Blomfield versus Slater defamation case, which found that Slater had no credible defence – this is after numerous delays since the case started in 2012.

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

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

The judgment has been greeted as “magnificent” by businessman Matthew Blomfield, who sued Slater for defamation after a series of blog posts in 2012 accused him of illegal and immoral behaviour.

The judgment recorded Slater had made claims in a blog post which included saying the “Blomfield files” would expose “drugs, fraud, extortion, bullying, corruption, collusion, compromises, perjury, deception, (and) hydraulic-ing”.

Blomfield said: “Finally there is something solid out in the public domain to show that all of Cameron Slater’s nonsense was just that, nonsense.

“As this judgment clearly shows, he was given every possible chance to show that he had a defence to my defamation claim, but in the end he could produce nothing.”

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

Slater has taken the judgment to the Court of Appeal. There is yet to be a ruling on what the loss will cost Slater.

The case against Slater and his company, Social Media Consultants Ltd, focused on nine blog posts on the Whaleoil website over a month in mid-2012.

It saw claims by Blomfield the blog posts were a deliberate attack orchestrated by a former business partner Warren Powell and associates after a falling out in their Hells Pizza business.

The blogger then obtained – allegedly from Blomfield’s former business associates – a hard drive which contained 10 years of Blomfield’s communications and information.

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

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

Those defences required the blogger to either present the source of details he claimed as fact to show they were true, or to show statements had been made as opinion based on facts which were known at the time of publication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blomfield said he believed the case would likely run another year or more through the appeal process.

“Our justice system is fundamentally broken in this way.”

He said it allowed a litigant intent on delaying justice to drag out the court proceedings.

I have experienced plenty of that myself, deliberate delays and the deliberate (I beliueve) inflicting of court costs in three years of failed litigation against me by Dermot Nottingham that Slater was also involved in (as informant and proposed ‘expert’ witness).

Nottingham has also been associated with this defamation case, as has the lauda Finem \website that a court found Nottingham to be closely involved with last year.

Asked if he had a message for Slater, Blomfield said: “You cannot do this to a person and suffer no consequence. You cannot make up lies about someone and try to destroy them and then simply walk away.

“You were paid to destroy me. You did irreparable damage to my businesses, to my family, to me. But no matter how long you delay things, your day will come.”

Justice Raynor Asher, in a 2014 judgment, said ” the material provided by the sources appears to have been unlawfully obtained” and it had “the hallmarks of a private feud”. He said there was no public interest in the blog posts, which appeared driven by a “personal vendetta”.

Asher also found the hard drive and other documents provided to Slater “appear to have been obtained illegitimately”.

Note that this went to court in mid October last year, where Slater finally ran out of delaying tactics. He had a stroke just after this (late October) – and then in January on Whale oil this was blamed on stress from media pressure. Court and financial pressure must surely have been a major factor. Slater engaged a lawyer so will have legal costs as well as potentially having an award against him. Going by this judgment that could be substantial.

Whale Oil have been trying to distance Slater from the blog, it appears to try to protect them from financial risk. But This is a major blow to Slater’s (and Whale Oil’s) reputation.

Who could trust Jami-Lee Ross now?

Could any woman trust Jami-Lee Ross to be faithful and honest in a relationship?

Could any woman trust Jami-Lee Ross to not reveal private communications if a relationship turned sour?

Could any MP or politician or party official or party member or voter or colleague trust Jami-Lee Ross to be faithful and honest  as an MP?

Could any MP or politician or party official or party member or voter or colleague trust trust Jami-Lee Ross to not reveal private communications if a relationship turned sour?

Could anyone trust Jami-Lee Ross not to secretly record communications for the purpose of using against you in the future?

Trust is probably more scarce than votes would be if Ross stood for re-election.

The only ones who appear to be standing by Ross are those who seem to think he can be used for their political purposes. Such as Winston Peters and NZ First.

Cameron Slater was full on using Ross before that abruptly ended when he had his stroke, Simon Lusk was also involved – he is known to have worked with both Slater and Ross in the past. And is on record as getting a thrill out of trashing people’s careers and or lives.

I think that whoever is involved in the current operation to return Ross to parliament and keep him in his electorate there is very little that can be trusted about them.

And – isn’t a bit coincidental that at the same time as Ross is accusing someone of inciting him to suicide, Whale Oil has been doing exactly the same thing in relation to Slater?

‘Sick’ – Simon Lusk comes out at WO

It was unusual to see two posts from Simon Lusk at Whale Oil yesterday, he has fed content to be posted under ‘Cameron Slater’ for a long time but doesn’t often put his own name to it. This coming out may have been necessitated by  Slater having a break from posting, thought to be due to illness.

The Lusk posts revived attacks against the leadership of Simon Bridges after the Jami-Lee Ross debacle that backfired, probably bolstering bridges’ position as leader for the time being at least. Lusk was trying to stir up National MPs against Bridges.

His attempt at interference probably went down like a cup of cold sick in the National caucus, where it is thought that Lusk, Ross and Slater are politically toxic.

The first post: National’s polling released to caucus today

I think that is a regular part of National’s polling and caucus meetings so is hardly news. Lusk tried to suggest what the internal polling would show, but I would be very surprised if pollster David try to topple Bridges. So I think it is reasonable to assume that Lusk was guessing.

But apart from some of the usual sycophant and sock puppet type responses in comments, Lusk referring to a National MP as ‘sick’ (he repeated it three times) went down like a cup of cold sick at Whale oil.

ExPFC: Ok Simon. I guess maybe I’ve missed something so here goes anyway. Why “sick” Todd?

spanishbride: It is a silly ‘in’ joke. It is a criticism of his taste in something.

Jayar: “Silly” is the word. It’s demeaning and doesn’t seem to be deserved.

Cogito Ergo Sum: Yes, all A bit tiresome Mr Lusk. Riddles don’t add to the story. Neither does constant demeaning of people.

The ‘sick’ label can’t be passed off as a silly joke. Using ‘joke’ as an excuse for smearing name calling is an old trick.

The follow-up post: Polling advice for National MPs

An obvious overt attempt to influence National MPs. And to publicly promote dissent. And an attempt to get to pressure them – “Whaleoil readers should send a link to their local National MP”.

In this post Lusk repeated the ‘sick’ label five times. On this post the WO dissent cranked up straight away:

pisces: Why is he called ‘Sick’ Todd? I was under the impression this site didn’t nicknames etc

I think that nicknames are frowned on at Whale Oil except when Slater/Lusk/SB/Nige want to smear people – a typical double standard.

Terry: The repetition of such a demeaning nickname says much more about Lusk than it does about McClay.

Jayar: Absolutely agree!

Kaimai6: Thought exactly the same. The story could have been told without the use of the demeaning language. A bit pathetic really for a supposed political whizz kid.

The Lusk/Slater playbook is often pathetic, and impotent post ‘Dirty Politics’. Dirty attack politics is increasingly being seen as being as appealing as cold sick.

Talking of sick, Slater seems to have sufficiently recovered from his illness to start commenting again. Since his sudden silence three weeks ago, apparently suffering one or more strokes but not admitted in WO, Slater had posted (in comments) a couple of lame product promotions, but yesterday tried to bolster Lusk’s attacks. Weakly and poorly supported – there was far more support of the criticisms of Lusk.

While it still supports an active (but significantly smaller) community, as an activist attack blog Whale Oil is ailing.

Why has Lusk come out into open smear-mongering now? With Ross sick, and Slater sick, he may have had little option to dish up the cold sick himself.

Setbacks for Slater, Graham in defamation proceedings

Cameron Slater has been the defendant in three defamation proceedings.

Versus Colin Craig a recent judgment found that Slater had defamed Craig but Craig had harmed his own reputation and no costs would be awarded to either. Craig has indicated he will appeal this decision.

Also recently Matthew Blomfield finally (after 6 years trying) got Slater to trial. It appears that later had little or no defence and could potentially face substantial costs, but that is all happening behind the scenes.

And the third proceeding has come up in the courts and news, still pre-trial. Newsroom: Whaleoil and Peters’ lawyer suffer court setbacks

The Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has lost a bid to have hacked documents obtained by author Nicky Hager excluded from a High Court defamation case.

Slater, and a co-defendant Carrick Graham the son of former national minister Sir Douglas Graham, have also been ordered to front-up in court ahead of the defamation hearing to answer questions from the lawyers for the three health professionals who are suing them for defamation.

Justice Matthew Palmer ordered the cross examination in the court room because Slater and Graham had not cooperated satisfactorily with the written questioning from lawyers for medical researchers Doug Sellman, Boyd Swinburn and Shane Bradbrook.

Justice Palmer’s decisions were the latest setbacks for Slater and his lawyer Brian Henry, the longtime barrister for New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, in the defamation case.

The three health professionals sued Slater, Graham, ex National MP Katherine Rich and her Food and Grocery Council for defamation after Hager’s Dirty Politics book revealed emails and communications linking the defendants in blog posts critical of the three men.

NZ Herald: Hacked emails allowed in Cameron Slater cash for comment defamation case – judge

Blogger Cameron Slater, lobbyist Carrick Graham and former MP Katherine Rich have failed in their bid to have hacked emails excluded from a defamation case.

The High Court has also ruled that Slater and Graham will have to take the stand to be “orally examined” during trial, as their written answers so far have been “inconsistent”.

And all three defendants have been ordered to provide more paperwork to the plaintiffs – a trio of health experts – particularly around what payment agreements were made between them.

Slater, who writes the WhaleOil blog, is accused of being paid to write the posts by ex-National MP Rich through her employer the Food and Grocery Council (NZFGC).

They accuse Graham, son of the former National cabinet minister Sir Douglas Graham, of being the middle man.

Previously, the defendants tried to get the case struck out, but the court declined.

A jury trial should go ahead next year; High Court Judge Matthew Palmer issued a second judgement on preliminary matters before trial today.

In it, the judge declined Slater’s application to exclude hacked documents obtained by the plaintiffs from Nicky Hager – the author of Dirty Politics – at this stage.

He also said the defendants had not complied with discover. While Slater disclosed 32 documents, other than blog posts, including 27 individual emails to or from Rich – there was no evidence of payments received and only one document containing data from the Whale Oil website.

Graham disclosed 172 documents including four emails from Slater and 114 emails to or from Rich or NZFGC. None of the discovered emails to or from Rich pre-dated the publication of Dirty Politics, the judge said.

Rich and NZFGC disclosed around 1200 documents, including 24 items of correspondence with Graham. No correspondence with Slater was included.

The judge said there were grounds for believing Slater and Graham had not provided some documents, and requested they be provided.

Some documents about payments were included, revealing the fact Graham’s company received $365,814 from NZFGC over about five years.

But he wanted a more precise account of the terms and scope of services between Rich and/or the NZFGC and Slater or Graham including any associated documents.

He said the hacked emails would not be struck out because he was not persuaded they were not genuine.

After examining Graham and Slater’s answers to interrogatories, the judge said he was concerned their statements that WhaleOil did not publish blogposts for reward were “not consistent” with the plaintiff’s evidence.

“They are inconsistent with reasonable inferences from the emails obtained by the plaintiffs,” the judgment said.

In other words, the judge has concerns that Slater and Graham have not provided documents under discovery that they should have – and it seems that hacked emails provide evidence suggesting that they haven’t complied. This could be a serious matter, hence the call to answer to the court at a hearing.

“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. “

He said the pair would be required to take the stand for up to an hour during trial.

An important question to be answered is whether Slater, or the company he is director of and jointly owns with his wife Juana Atkins, Social Media Consultants Limited, have been paid to post hit jobs. Nicky Hager suggested money haad been paid in his book Dirty Politics.

Meanwhile possibly not coincidentally and somewhat at odds with what the judge is saying, on Wednesday at Whale Oil:  Whaleoil is not free and telling the truth costs

To continue to service our Oiler community with real-life get-togethers and interesting and entertaining content we have had to think outside of the box as telling the truth can have legal consequences that put a massive strain on the blog’s finances.

Embellishing the truth and making up allegations are more likely to have legal consequences, and can be far more costly.

We don’t want to put out the begging bowl so have instead been working hard on finding alternative revenue streams that give our supporters something fantastic in return.

All this litigation is expensive, even without awards of costs and damages.

It can also be a strain on well being. As far as I know this is till undisclosed at Whale Oil, and Slater’s sudden absence from posts and comments a couple of weeks ago is still unexplained (the absence of curiosity or comment about his absence in comments is very odd).

I have heard claims that Slater may have suffered from one or two strokes and is to some extent incapacitated. Perhaps WO management thinks that telling the truth about this will be expensive if it adversely effects fundraising. Perhaps spanish bride can explain the truth when she reads this.

UPDATE:

 

 

Lusk and Slater further connected to NZ First

Winston Peters has been a very successful political strategist over the decades, apart from the occasional hiccup, like losing the Tauranga and NZ First being dropped from Parliament in 2008, and losing the Northland electorate in 2017.

So it is odd to see him appearing to work with Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater. Slater is a discredited political activist and lacks support now even on Whale Oil. Lusk is not someone to promote on a politician’s CV given his negative methods and thrill of the political kill.

Richard Harman at Politic suggests more connections – Dirty politics, Russell McVeagh and Winston Peters. The bizarre story of two high priced dinners

One of the key players in the 2014 National Party “dirty politics” allegations appears to have become involved with NZ First.

The Hawke’s Bay political consultant, Simon Lusk, attended two recent NZ First “business networking” evenings with NZ First Leader, Winston Peters.

Lusk featured prominently in the “dirty politics” allegations along with his close associate, Cameron “Whaleoil” Slater.

The news of Lusk’s involvement comes at the same time as one of his longest term clients, Jami Lee Ross, has announced that he will give his proxy vote to NZ First but that they will cast it with National.

POLITIK has spoken to two business people who attended the functions.

They both said Lusk appeared to be very busy during the events in some sort of administrative role.

What is unclear is whether Lusk had any role broking the agreement for New Zealand First to cast Ross’s proxy vote while he is away from the House.

Peters and Slater share the same lawyer, Brian Henry who is also the NZ First constitutional officer who chaired the lengthy debate about re-writing the constitution att heir conference.

The impression must now be that Lusk and Slater are supporting New Zealand First and that Peters appears to go along with that.

Slater has shown obvious intent to inflict as much damage to National that he can since the party distanced themselves from him after Dirty Politics in 2014, and especially through last year’s election campaign and since Simon bridges took over the leadership.

This fits with Winston’s aims. Last year he had thought NZ First could take over Labour’s position as second biggest party, until Jacinda Ardern replaced Andrew Little.

He now seems to think that he can dump on National and take over from them, which fits with Slater’s agenda.

How will NZ First supporters and voters view this? Many of them were anti-National so may not be fussed on supporting New National.

And if NZ First score Jami-lee Ross as a candidate – see Ross to stand for NZ First in Botany – plan or joke? – that is not going to do much for their credibility. They already have a questionable line up of MPs.

Lusk has been promoted as some sort of master political strategist, but it’s hard to see a NZ First/Ross/Slater combination doing well with voters. Perhaps it’s the best of very limited options.

Harman:

The networking evenings bizarrely, were hosted in Wellington and Auckland by the top-drawer law firm, Russell McVeagh and drew around  60 prominent business people and industry lobbyists at each venue.

Among the attendees in Wellington, is believed to have been Business NZ CEO, Kirk Hope.

Some of the attendees are believed to have made substantial donations at the $300 a head functions to the party.

Perhaps Lusk and Slater don’t care as long as there’s money in it for them.

Nottingham fails again in Court of Appeal, judicial system faltering

Another failed Dermot Nottingham attempt to get leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal, this time against myself and Allied Press Limited.

This follows over three years of two related private prosecution proceedings. Last week Nottingham was also declined leave to appeal in the Court of Appeal versus Lynn Prentice and APN Limited – see Nottingham fails another attempted appeal.

All four parties were originally charged together in July 2015, but the cases against Allied Press and I were moved to Dunedin as they had been incorrectly filed in Auckland.

Prentice and APN went to trial in June 2016 and all charges were dismissed. They were eventually awarded costs. Nottingham unsuccessfully appealed the dismissal and costs in the High Court, and last week failed to get leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal.

The  week after those dismissals at trial Allied Press and I had a hearing seeking dismissal of charges prior to trial. Nottingham had not submitted opposing this. At the hearing Nottingham sought and obtained the Court’s leave to withdraw the charges.

We subsequently applied for costs and these were eventually awarded. In March this year Nottingham lost a High Court appeal against the costs, and has now failed to get leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal. After a hearing before three judges on 9 October 2018 their judgment has just come out.

[5] The private prosecution initiated by Mr Nottingham charged Allied Press Ltd and Mr George with breaching a suppression order by publishing articles on their respective websites in breach of s 211 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

[8] Mr Nottingham’s principal argument in support of his application for leave to appeal is that convictions of Allied Press Ltd and Mr George were inevitable if he had chosen to continue with the prosecution. He submits that Davidson J’s finding that the prosecution was defendable was “inconsistent with the indisputable facts”.

At the time the charges were withdrawn the case was in a hopeless state. The 1000+ page long 3 month+ late initial disclosure was inadequate, a promised expert witness statement was never produced, and Nottingham repeatedly failed to comply with law, court rules and timetables.

Both APN and I had entered not guilty please, legally we were ‘not guilty’ when the charges were withdrawn by the prosecutor, and we both believe we are not guilty in fact and could have defended the charges. Seven judges have agreed that the charges were defendable, but as the cases had never gone to trial could not rule out the possibility that Nottingham could have eventually proved something. he never has.

[9] Mr Nottingham says that the issues of costs against a prosecutor and what published information will breach a suppression order require clarification…

[10] These questions are all fact specific and relate only to this case.

[11] We are of the view that the questions posed are not issues of general principle or of general importance in the administration of the criminal law by the courts.

[12] Nor are we satisfied that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred or may occur unless the appeal is heard. Discontinuation of proceedings will ordinarily have cost consequences. This was not a case where the prosecution would have clearly succeeded but for circumstances unrelated to the merits. We agree with the Judge that the prosecution was defendable. The issues would have included whether the publications contained any suppressed information and whether the requisite mental element was established for charges that are not of strict liability. Further, as the Judge mentioned, if the issue of “hidden computer search tools” had become relevant, then the legal and evidential issues would have been more complex. There were no clear answers to these issues on the untested evidence.

[13] We accordingly decline the application for leave to appeal.

The evidence had never been tested at trial, so despite Nottingham effectively trying to re-litigate the case at four subsequent hearings over costs we remain ‘not guilty’ (and, I believe, not guilty).

Note: there is suppression (Order prohibiting publication of evidence and submissions contained in
this judgment) related to a different prosecution (and conviction), so those details cannot be published at this stage, and the full judgment won’t be published pending the final outcome of the other case.

Prior to the last High Court appeal Nottingham indicated he intended taking the case to both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, so a further legal step is possible. I think this would be futile, and would use up more of the already overstretched court resources.

Nottingham currently has three cases pending before the Supreme Court following other failed appeals – see Case information 2018

Further attempts at appeal would incur further costs. Nottingham has admitted he has been insolvent for some time, has claimed to have debts of about $2 million (about quarter of a million in various court costs awarded against him), and he was adjudicated bankrupt in September – see HONEY v NOTTINGHAM [2018] NZHC 2382 [11 September 2018].

He seems to have had no intention of paying costs, and no ability to pay costs, yet he continues to force people to incur costs through the courts. In an email in 2015 he said that if various intended litigation took ten years ‘he was up for it”.

Nottingham has incurred all the costs but has not been acting alone.

Robert Earle McKinney has been closely involved with the proceedings against us. He arranged for the initial serving of documents (that was funny, I was photographed being served the documents on a Dunedin street). He shared the same email account as Nottingham, which was associated with his company Advantage Advocacy Limited (now in liquidation – see First Liquidators Report). Nottingham was said to be the sole employee of this company, and the company was registered at his address.

Cameron Slater was named as an informant to the prosecution, and was named as an expert witness (but never provided a witness statement). He appeared as a witness in the Prentice/APN trial. See NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]:

  • calling a witness who had not been brief, 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;

Slater has been named by Nottingham as involved in ongoing attempts at litigation against me. He was also associated with the failed Court Order attempt by Marc Spring.

Marc Spring was also involved in serving court documents for Nottingham, and openly associated himself with @LaudaFinem in a campaign of harassment against me, at one stage suggesting I would be ‘fucked over’ as happens at Whale Oil. He has been involved in a number of ways in trying to trash and take down Your NZ. I believe he was also contributor to content (posts and comments under various pseudonyms) at the now taken down laudafinem.com blog. – see from sentencing notes:

“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.”

There is a lot more on Spring’s involvement in various things but that is for another story. Others have also been involved in various ways.

Due to all of this I have learned a lot about how our judicial system works. I don’t think it has coped well with people who use it to attack and use it to try to cause hardship to others, and who repeatedly abuse processes and fail to comply with laws, rules and conventions that lawyers are bound to adhere to.  They have wasted a large amount of court time and resources.

I think that private prosecutions are an important part of our judicial system, as is the right to represent oneself and act as a lay litigant.

But I think that far less leniency for breaches of laws, rules and timetables would make things more fair for the targets of vexatious litigation.

There are apparently strict requirements for filing court submissions according to defined timetables. In theory this allows for orderly and fair processes.  But Nottingham has been allowed far too much leniency, and due to his frequency of litigation he should not get away with the excuse of lay litigant ignorance. Courts have pointed that out.

Nottingham repeatedly ignored requirements. A few examples (from many) from my proceedings.

“At the commencement of criminal proceedings, or as soon as practicable after that time, and in any event not later than the applicable date, the prosecutor must disclose the following information to the defendant.”

“In this section, applicable date means—

(a) the date that is 15 working days after the commencement of criminal proceedings

That means he should have provided disclosure by mid-August 2015. After he failed disclosure was requested by counsel and instructed by the Court. He still failed to disclose, and at one stage said he was deliberately delaying disclosure. He finally served a 9cm think pile of garbage (that has to be all read in case there is something important, not cheap when you are paying a lawyer to do it) in December 2015, three and a half months late.

When we applied for and submitted on costs Nottingham filed his submission late with the court but failed to serve it on us (the Applicants). When just prior to a scheduled hearing we found out he had submitted but not served the Court directed that he serve, but he failed to do that. I had to spend half a day in Court reading through hundreds of pages just in case there was something in it that was important.

Nottingham failed to appear at the costs hearing, but instead emailed a further submission during the hearing. remarkable the Court gave us copies and the Judge ordered a short adjournment so we could read it (a ridiculous situation to put us in). Then when the hearing resumed another submission arrived in court. At least the judge refused to accept that one.

For the Court of Appeal proceedings Nottingham:

  • filed his application seeking leave to appeal out of time
  • failed to file a submission as directed by a judge to give reasons for applying out of time
  • failed to file his submission as Applicant by the due date
  • after being told he had not filed by the court he set his own timetable
  • he finally filed his submission after both respondents had filed our submissions on time
  • two hours prior to the appeal hearing he filed another submission.

How did the Court deal with all of these transgressions? One of the three appeal judges said he two hour prior to hearing submission was ‘unhelpful’.

I made the point in oral submissions that all of these failures impose severe difficulties on the respondents, and also costs for those who have lawyers having to try and deal with the chaos. But that was not noted in the judgment.

I have been severely inconvenienced and disadvantaged through 3+ years of proceedings due to the actions and failures to comply of Nottingham. Lawyers would not get away with any of this (they wouldn’t attempt to get away with it).

While the various judges and courts have had difficulty dealing with a recidivist abuser of processes I believe hey have in effect aided and abetted these abuses by being so lenient with Nottingham time and time again.

If the courts want to reduce the pressure on time and resources they could help themselves by ensuring that litigants at least mostly comply with requirements.

This has been a huge learning curve for me, being my first experience in litigation and the courts. I found out what I was required to do, and did everything as required, on time. I have been severely disadvantaged by the numerous breaches by Nottingham, unchecked by the courts.

What have I got for this? Some costs awarded, with the likelihood that none of that will be paid. And I have got off cheaply compared to others.

The law is largely not an ass, and court staff and judges generally do good jobs under pressure, but the judicial system could be improved with some simple insistences that basic processes are complied with.

What’s up at Whale Oil?

There have been noticeable changes at Whale Oil over the last couple of days. After a frenetic few weeks in a resurgence of activity from Cameron Slater there was a switch on Monday to self and site promotion, and then yesterday a noticeable absence.

Slater had been doing little more than going through the motions for months, with little more than two or three token posts per day, and little of note. He came back with a roar getting involved with the Jami-Lee Ross saga, in support of Ross and ramping up his long running attacks against the National Party, Simon Bridges and other MPs, as well as bringing up his gripes against John Key and Bill English.

He also did a flurry of posts on the release of the Craig v Slater defamation judgment, claiming vindication and victory, despite losing on two counts to Craig, and failing to win on his claims. No damages were awarded, with costs to be dealt with but little likelihood he would come out on top let alone breaking even financially.

On Monday he was still making big noises about revealing information and identities involved in the Jami-Lee Ross issues.

But there were signs of change, with an admission that Whale Oil had been shedding subscribers due to his attacks on National, and a number of self promotion posts trying to say how great he was. Some of this sounded like jacked up endorsements.

Yesterday (Tuesday) there were a couple of posts under Slater’s authorship, but these looked like standard style scheduled posts that have been common for some time – often following the news by a day or two.

And Slater has suddenly stopped commenting – his last comment was on Monday night (9:25 pm).

It has been common for Slater to be away from the WO front line due to various commitments, like court appearances, but this was a sudden change from his recent activities and threats of revelations.

Also noticeable yesterday was a lack of input from ‘spanishbride’ – there were a few standard style and probably scheduled posts from ‘SB’, but also suddenly no comments.

The blog kept functioning with a normal range of innocuous posts from the various authors who have become involved over the last years or so, but there was a sudden subdued feel after the hectic couple of weeks prior.

Blogging can be a relentless job, especially when it is run as a business as is Whale Oil. And the way Slater operates, with his resurgence over the last couple of weeks attacking enemies and losing support, as well as getting some unfavourable and potentially costly court results, will have been tough.

For some time Slater has appeared jaded and worn down, and the lack of success in the recent flurry of attention and activity probably won’t have helped. He and SB have also talked of  health problems over the last couple of years.

There seemed to be a sudden and unexplained cessation of activity yesterday.

The non-naming of the National MP

The National MP who is alleged to have had a relationship with Jami-Lee Ross and is claimed to have played a part in precipitating a claimed attempt at suicide has not been named publicly by media. Ross did name her in a radio interview, but in replays her name was beeped out.

Discussions have continued on why she has not been named by media, and whether she should be named.

One of the strongest reasons put forward for not naming her is her well being. It has been claimed she is the victim of harassment, so naming her would add to the exposure and harassment.

It can also be asked whether there is public interest in naming her. Just about everyone with an interest in this probably knows who it is. I found out without looking for it. Naming her probably has more risks than good reasons.

But there could be some public interest in knowing of an MP who allegedly had a long term affair with another MP, and that that ended with a harsh text that some have claimed incited suicide (I don’t see that, especially looking at the timeline – the claimed suicide attempt event happened months after the text was sent).

And identifying the MP removes suspicion from other female National MPs, but this seems to be a minor consideration given that most people involved in politics will know who it is.

Why has the media not named her? Obviously they are not saying.

One risk that has been mentioned is the risk of it opening the floodgates of publicising Parliamentary promiscuity, and some journalists are alleged to playing a part in that generally, and accusations and names have been mentioned (no evidence that I’ve seen) that at least one journalist has been involved with Ross.

Do the public have a right to know if there is a compromised MP who may also be under severe mental health stress? That’s a difficult question. Usually there is no way of knowing which MPs are under health care. Most operate under some degree of stress. Medical information is governed by privacy laws.

It should be noted that Ross was the first to out himself as being subject to claims of harassment (as well as naming the MP on air).

Cameron Slater blames the MP (and a wider conspiracy) for Ross being dumped from the National caucus and for causing his mental meltdown (alleged, all we know about Ross’ mental state is what has been claimed by peoeple with vested interests, Slater being prominent.

He has all but named her a number of times at Whale Oil, making it easy to work out who it is (his obvious intent). He has also complained bitterly about the media not naming her, but despite repeated threats to out her himself, and despite promoting himself as media, for some reason he doesn’t want to be the first to do so. One can imagine that if mainstream media do name her he will be using that as an excuse to continue in ‘full retard’ mode against the MP, Simon Bridges and National.

One thing holding Slater back may be finances. He is facing what could be some large legal bills for overstepping in the past on Whale Oil, and is now mired in multiple defamation actions. He may be reluctant to risk another.

And he has admitted losing subscriptions at Whale Oil over his ongoing campaign attacking Bridges and National, which he escalated on the back of the Ross revelations. Subsequent self praise promotions and promotions of Whale Oil by SB suggest that the loss of subscription revenue is of concern to them. The timing is bad.

And the motives and methods of Slater, who claims to be acting for Ross who has gone silent, are highly suspect. he haas admitted making incorrect claims, and it is sensible to be highly sceptical of anything he says that isn’t backed up by evidence – and that means more evidence than screen shots of communications that are not authenticated and could be cherry picked and at real risk of being out of context.

Slater will probably keep agitating and complaining, but most people who had an interest in the Ross and MP issue are largely over it. As are the media.

I have considered naming the MP but continue to choose not to. I’m not aware of all the facts so can’t justify the potential risks.

One possible risk is legal – given the silence on identity there could be legal injunctions that have gagged the media. Similarly as for court suppressions, these make things difficult for non-mainstream media like Your NZ – there is no way of me knowing what I am legally not allowed to say.

So no names and no hints here please.

It may be best to move on, and to ignore a Wail Oil desperate for attention and intent on inflicting political utu. he may eventually do what he has promised and name names, but Dirty Politics has done it’s dash and should be trashed.

A discussion on the naming or not here (Kiwi Journalists Association):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/216332661716385/permalink/2424609580888671/