“You’ve shat on Rachel” – Williams

Jordan Williams appeared to be feeling the pressure at the end of the third week in his defamation trial against Colin Craig, getting emotional and frustrated in court today when called again, this time as the final witness.

jordanwilliamscourt

NZH: Jordan Williams emotional and angry in court

Williams gave evidence in the first week, and was recalled today so Craig’s lawyers could question him further on a matter.

Stephen Mills QC quizzed Williams on Facebook messages between him and blogger Cameron Slater.

In the messages, Williams made inappropriate comments about a female friend while speaking to Slater about a political news story.

“For pursuit of your own political agenda, you are prepared to use people who are your friends for those wider political objectives,” Mills suggested to Williams.

Williams then became emotional and angry on the stand.

He denied he had “used” Rachel MacGregor by calling her as a witness at the trial, and said he had tried his best to protect her.

He called Craig, sitting in the public gallery, a “prick” and then directed his anger at Mills.

“You shat on Rachel in this case,” he said.

“You couldn’t help yourself.”

Some will see some irony in Williams lashing out at others for putting the spotlight on MacGregor. He can’t have been that naive that he thought he could use her claims and communications against others, ask for $900,000 in damages, without exposing MacGregor to some scrutiny.

Audio at Newstalk ZB: Heated scenes at Colin Craig trial

Video in One News coverage: ‘You’ve shat on Rachel’: Tensions run high in Colin Craig defamation case

– The tables are being turned on Jordan Williams with the defence accusing him of using a woman he was seeing to get a political story.
Source: ONE News

More of what was said can’t be published as it relates to another matter before the Court.

Earlier in the case it had been revealed that Williams distributed copies of communications from Craig to MacGregor against her wishes.

Other recent witnesses were supporting Colin Craig.

Bev Adair-Beets told the jury that she could tell MacGregor had a personal interest in Craig.

“I got the general impression that Rachel believed she held a special status of power over Colin. She could dictate what she was paid,” Adair-Beets said.

She said “as a woman” she “could tell” MacGregor was interested in Craig.

Adair-Beets gave evidence about going to see MacGregor around the time she resigned.

She said she was “very concerned about her “emotional state”.

“Rachel was adamant that she wanted money from Colin. She told me very clearly that she would get what she deserved and would do anything to get it.

“When I asked her what she meant she said ‘watch me, I’ll get it, I can get whatever I want’. She told me she was going to take a stand.”

In her evidence last week MacGregor said she had read Adair-Beet’s statement of evidence and strongly refuted her claims.

“In her brief of evidence, Bev says that she ‘moved into a job share of the role of press secretary’. This is not true or is at least highly misleading,” MacGregor told the court.

Kevin Stitt, who was a part-time administrator for the Conservative Party:

“I knew Colin very well and never had a reason to question his integrity or character,” Stitt said.

He told the jury that when he first heard the allegations against Craig in relation to his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor he was “sceptical of their truth”.

Stitt was responsible for emailing a link to Craig’s pamphlet Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas – in which he allegedly defamed Jordan Williams – to thousands of Conservative Party supporters.

The first time Stitt saw the pamphlet was shortly before it was publicly released at a press conference in July last year.

He told Craig: “You’ve made some strong allegations here, Colin. Have you got evidence to back them up?”.

“He assured me he had,” Stitt said.

Angela Storr (Conservative Party membership manager in 2014 who worked closely with MacGregor):

Storr said MacGregor often spoke to her about their boss.

“She went on about Colin to me on a regular basis, how wonderful he was,” Storr said.

MacGregor confided in her about a personal loan Craig and his wife had given her.She said she accumulated a lot of debt after leaving her job at TVNZ and that the Craigs had not only helped her escape that, they had helped her with a new budget and she was “turning over a new leaf”.

“She said she would be forever grateful for the opportunity that Helen and Colin had given her.”

She told the jury she saw a text MacGregor sent her boyfriend after a trip away with Craig for work. In the text, she said, MacGregor told the boyfriend that Craig had been “mean” during the trip.

“In my work with Rachel I saw that she was close to Colin and thought very highly of him. I observed Colin was kind, caring and understanding towards her.”

Lawyers will discuss trial matters on Monday and then closing arguments will be heard by the jury on Tuesday.

Lecretia Seales assisted dying case versus pressure group inteference

Lecretia Seales has a brain tumour and has taken her case to court to clarify whether her doctor can assist her death so she can avoid extended suffering. Stuff reports:

Terminally ill Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales…, 42, has an inoperable brain tumour and has begun a court case in which she wants to test the law.

In the High Court at Wellington on Tuesday, her lawyer, Andrew Butler, said the case was about clarifying the criminal law, not changing it or trying to “lift a ban”.

It was only about Seales, and raised quite narrow issues that would not have any application to the elderly or disabled, for instance.

Seales was not interested in having a big debate about euthanasia, he said.

Seales wants to make sure her GP would not face charges under the Crimes Act if or when Seales was helped to die. The doctor’s name is suppressed.

Sounds sad, and sounds like a sensible test for the law.

It’s fairly well known that doctors and others able to administer drugs already ease peoples’ deaths. I’ve seen this happen with someone whose death I was closely associated with.

So it makes sense to clarify the law around this. Otherwise some people are lucky enough to get help to ease suffering, while others don’t have the choice.

And because it happens in a grey area of the law and of medical ethics it is easier for misuse or mistakes to happen.

If the law was clarified people who are suffering and dying wouldn’t have to deal with ambiguity and secrecy. It would also make it easier for families – the example I was associated with was bloody difficult to deal with until I understood what was happening.

But ‘special interest groups’ are trying to interfere with Seales’ case.

Seales faces attempts by special interest groups to have a say on her legal plea to be allowed the option of a medically assisted death.

Three parties are asking to be allowed to “intervene” in the case.

For the Human Rights Commission, Matthew Palmer, QC, said it was not a normal “adversarial” case. The orders being sought would seem to offer assisted dying in certain circumstances, and that had wide implications for society.

“If ever there was a case of widespread public importance, this is it.”

The commission would offer independent submissions and would not take a position on the ultimate question in the case, he said.

At least they are trying to be balanced and neutral on the emotional aspects.

The defendant in Seales’ case is the attorney-general, who is currently National MP Chris Finlayson. His lawyer, Paul Rishworth, QC, said it plainly raised issues of significant public importance, and the parties that wanted to intervene might be able to help the court.

But the Crown could gather evidence from palliative care specialists and others to cover the issues the case raised.

That’s up to the crown, but other groups seem intent on using Seales’ case to push their own.

The Care Alliance represents groups opposed to physician-assisted suicide and physician-assisted euthanasia. Its lawyer, Victoria Casey, said palliative care professionals and some groups representing the disabled were directly affected, and their views should be heard.

Seales is opposing them being allowed to take part in the case, but Casey said members of the alliance were best placed to give evidence and analysis of relevant issues.

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society is also seeking to intervene.

Kathryn Davenport, QC, for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said Seales was asking for a personal decision, but the case could not be seen in isolation.

If Seales was happy for this to happen then fair enough. But it sounds like she doesn’t want any interference.

Both sides of the euthanasia debate want to hijack Seales’ case to promote their own interests. It’s not their case. They can take their own legal action if they want to.

Seales’ case could easily be seen in isolation. Sure it would affect other cases, that’s how our legal system works.

3 News reported:

Care Alliance says if Ms Seales gets her wish it would set a dangerous precedent and could be applied to anyone with a terminal illness.

That sounds like scaremongering. It could be applied to anyone, whether ill or not. But that’s a stupid exaggeration.

The whole point of Seale’s case is she is requesting the option of an assisted death.She is prepared to test it in court.

The courts are never going to start ‘applying law’ to people who don’t want it applied to them.

Obviously time is important for Seales

Justice David Collins said he would give his decision as soon as possible on whether the three interveners were allowed to be part of the case. The full hearing is due to start on May 25.

3 News: in a blog post, Ms Seales’ husband Matt said: “If Lecretia were to commit suicide, she would need to do it alone, as anyone else present would risk a criminal conviction. The act would be extremely traumatic for her and her family. It’s not an option.”

Sadly now she has publicised her situation the risk of scrutiny and criminal conviction is much greater.

The court should do what it can to make a fair legal ruling. Special interest groups should stop pushing their own interests.

Seales is making brave moves, by openly her facing options as she dies, and by doing something that attracts publicity.

The law may or may not benefit her. But the special interest groups should back off unless their input is asked for.