The cross examination of Colin Craig resumed and completed today, with more embarrassing and disputed details getting raked over – Colin Craig on kiss with press secretary: ‘I did not take my pants off’.
Craig’s wife Helen began giving her evidence – Helen Craig on husband’s ’emotional affair’: I have forgiven him.
Something else emerged from court today that looks like a side issue, but raises some concerns.
Details have emerged in court about a restraining order granted to Colin Craig’s former press secretary against a counsellor she alleges posted confidential information about her in a blog post.
The Herald can reveal that Rachel MacGregor was granted a restraining order in the Waitakere District Court against Steve Taylor in May this year.
Taylor is an associate of Craig and a former Conservative Party candidate.
He was the moderator for his allegedly defamatory pamphlet “Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas”.
He is also a counsellor and the director of 24-7 Limited which, according to the company’s website, offers counselling and mediation to individuals, couples and families.
Sometime after MacGregor quit and following the speculation that followed about her shock departure a blog post appeared on the internet containing extremely personal information about her, including information she alleges she disclosed to Taylor.
Williams’ lawyer Peter McKnight asked Craig about Taylor and the blog, which has been removed from the internet. Craig indicated that he knew about it and Taylor’s alleged connection to it.
Craig claimed MacGregor and Taylor were “close friends” but had a “falling out”, which he believed was about money.
Craig said he knew about the restraining order but did not know the details.
McKnight asked Craig if Taylor had posted the blog and if he had disclosed information MacGregor had divulged during a counselling session.
“I think that is what she says, I’m not sure if that is what he says. He is a counsellor,” Craig said. “They were close friends.”
Craig said he had seen the blog post and it contained “quite a bit of factual information” but “it was a terrible thing to do”.
He said there was a lot of personal information about MacGregor that he could have made public himself but had always chosen not to, including in court.
“This sort of stuff could be hugely damaging and I didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about this sort of thing,” Craig explained.
McKnight asked Craig who had written the post and if he thought it was Taylor.
“I asked him whether he did it or not and he didn’t give me a particularly straight answer, which is why I say it was possibly him,” Craig responded.
An ex-friend getting a restraining order against someone who is also a counsellor sounds serious.
If today’s information is anything near accurate I think that Taylor’s actions are in no way justified. I’m critical in general terms, and I also feel very strongly about anonymous blogs being used to attack or harass people. It’s a stinking misuse of the Internet.
Steve Taylor was placed at 8 on the Conservative Party list last election. They would have had to have got around 7% for him to have got a seat. He would presumably have been very disappointed when MacGregor resigned two days before the election, effectively destroying any chance of him or the party getting into Parliament.
But being disappointed by an election result is no excuse for anything like this.
Taylor has commented here in the past, at times on issues related to the current defamation case. In light of today’s information from the Court it is not appropriate for him to comment on anything to do with the case or with MacGregor here. If he has any dispute with any of this it should be dealt with through the Court.
UPDATE: Steve Taylor has contacted me and strongly disputes some of the statements made in court in relation to him. He cannot defend himself publicly due to matters still before the Court.
UPDATE2: Taylor has issued a press statement today.
Press Release: Counsellor seeking legal advice regarding defamation claim
The director of Counselling service 24-7 Ltd is currently seeking legal advice regarding what he says are “outrageous and malicious” defamatory claims made against him by the NZ Herald during the Defamation trial of Jordan Williams and Colin Craig being held in Auckland.
“I have today advised a NZ Herald Editorial representative and reporter of my intention to seek legal advice on the grounds of defamation regarding the claims made in an article published by the NZ Herald” said Mr Taylor.
“A number of false and inaccurate statements were made about me in the article, statements that I believe meet the threshold for defamation, and I am currently seeking legal advice on this matter”.
“No reporter from any media organisation has contacted me to fact-check this article, or any subsequent articles”.
“I am informed today by a representative of the NZ Herald editorial team that media publications are permitted to publish anything they choose to, whether or not what they are publishing is true or not – my legal advice on this matter is markedly different, and this position by the NZ Herald needs to be tested in this matter” said Mr Taylor.
– Two sentences have been edited out.