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

“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.”

“He makes the concession…that he has never denied that he has supplied information to the website…”

Following a jury trial in the District Court in Auckland in April and May 2018  Dermot Nottingham was convicted of two breaches of non-publication orders, and five charges of criminal harassment. He was sentenced to a term of a maximum one year home detention. See NZH Blogger dodges prison over court suppression breaches, harassment campaigns

The offending largely involved a website laudafinem.com that has a notorious reputation for posting many breaches of suppression as well as numerous attacks on many people, including judges, lawyers, police officers, pooliticians, journalists, business people (and businesses), and individuals – including me and two individuals who participated here.

I think that there is public interest in Nottingham’s connection with laudafinem.com be made known, as many people have been subjected to attacks and defamation.

Open justice is an important part of our country.

From a court document that is a public document (not yet available online):

[13] The detective sergeant’s efforts to establish links between Mr Nottingham and the Lauda Finem website led to an expansion of the investigation once he discovered a number of Lauda Finem articles which indicated several campaigns of harassment against individuals identified in those articles.

Conduct included:

  • Repetitively publishing articles on Lauda Finem containing fictitious, offensive and defamatory material.
  • Repetitively publishing articles on Lauda Finem about associates and family members containing fictitious, offensive and defamatory material about those persons.
  • Obtaining private photographs of the complainants and family and publishing those on Lauda Finem.
  • Photographing or causing to be photographed for publication on Lauda Finem.
  • Recording communications for publication on Lauda Finem m conjunction with offensive and defamatory material.

[18] It was clear to me that, for some of the complainants, life over an extended period of time had been made very uncomfortable and distressing, in some cases affecting the daily lives of some complainants whose reputations in their community had been so badly maligned as to cause them to withdraw within themselves.

[22] Now, I make some findings of fact. Consistent with the verdicts of the jury I have concluded that between 2010 and 2015 Dermot Nottingham published or had published numerous articles on the blog site laudafinem.com. Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem (in other words, the leading mind of that blog) or he is so intimately related to it that it is proper to conclude that he provided information and draft articles to that blog site knowing and intending that they would be published.

[23] During that five year period the defendant undertook numerous campaigns of harassment against a number of individuals, the most egregious and persistent of which were represented by the five complainants in the trial. I concluded that his conduct by publishing said articles, through other intimidating and harassing conduct – including threatening, watching, photographing, following – was either carried out directly by Dermot Nottingham or at his direction and that he knew his conduct was likely to cause the individuals to fear for their safety or the safety of family members.

[24] It was plain to me from the evidence that a number of these courses of conduct started with Mr Nottingham crossing the path of the individual complainant, either in his own capacity or on behalf of another individual, acting as their advocate. Initially, it is possible in some instances that Mr Nottingham reasonably believed he had legitimate concerns or complaints. However, rather than pursuing those complaints by lawful and reasonable means, he adopted a combative approach, I have to say reminiscent of his approach generally to the authorities and even to this Court, where he sought to achieve his goals or obtain justice by resorting to personal attack. Mr Nottingham seems to believe that, when it comes to informal media through blog sites and social media, “anything goes”.

[25] It is important to recognise and note at this stage that mainstream media are subject to codes of conduct which avoid the type of abusive and threatening articles being published in mainstream media, but bloggers and other persons who carry out their personal attacks through the medium of the Internet seem to feel that they are not bound by similar moral codes of conduct. Mr Nottingham seeks to justify and make
lawful his conduct towards others by reference to the conduct of other bloggers who habitually take an aggressive and attacking approach in purporting to uncover corruption and injustice. Further, Dermot Nottingham seeks to argue that the prosecution of him discloses bias and unfairness on the part of the police, the Crown and the Court, because others are doing similar things and getting away with it.

[26] I proceed on the basis that two wrongs do not make a right. Individuals can never escape the consequences of their unlawful conduct simply by pointing to someone else who is similarly acting unlawfully. It must also be said in the context of the evidence in this case that the degree of attack, abuse, harassment and its relentless nature appears to be far worse in Dermot Nottingham’s case than in the examples he relies upon to claim unfair and biased treatment.

[28] …The Crown submits that the key purpose of sentencing in this case should be to hold the offender accountable for the harm done to the victims, to denounce his conduct and to deter him and others from offending in a similar manner. I accept that those purposes apply in this case.

[29] The Crown further proposes that there are a number of aggravating features to the criminal harassment charges, namely the extent of the harm. The allegations against the complainants included that that they were alcoholics, used drugs, were promiscuous or were corrupt professionals and public officials. The Crown characterised the language used by Mr Nottingham as malicious, misogynistic and entirely abhorrent. Without the need for me to repeat any of those specific offensive allegations, I concur with the summary of Mr Nottingham’s conduct. I also accept that those aggravating features are present.

[31] The third aggravating feature as proposed by the Crown is that the offender, Dermot Nottingham, clearly researched his targets extensively and published intimate and personal details, including making reference to friends and family, photographs of homes and cars and their licence plates. The level of research and preparation for a number of these articles demonstrates, the Crown says, a high degree of premeditation.

[32] Finally, the Crown submits that another aggravating feature, being the number and seriousness of the offences, is present, relating not only to the number of complainants, but also the persistence and time over which that harassment was carried out or continued. I accept that all three of those aggravating features are present in this case and to a high degree.

[38] I turn now to Mr Nottingham’s position, or his submissions on sentencing. In his written submissions, Dermot Nottingham, as I have previously indicated, relies on the proposition that the Lauda Finem website treated the complainant no differently to anyone else it reports on; for instance, like Mr Slater does on his website. He makes the concession at paragraph 32 of his submissions that he has never denied that he has supplied information to the website, although he maintains his denial that he is the leading mind of that website or has any significant control over its operators

[40] On the subject of cumulative sentences, Mr Nottingham simply states that is not appropriate. Further, he submits that imprisonment is not appropriate and he seeks to focus on the behaviours of the complainants, presumably to suggest that his conduct towards them was, at some level, justifiable.

[42] Not only does such a statement reinforce the contempt with which
Mr Nottingham holds the decisions of the Court and the non-publication orders, but establishes beyond doubt that Mr Nottingham harbours no sense of remorse in relation to any of this offending.

[52]  Mr Nottingham does not qualify for any consideration of reduction of sentence for guilty pleas, or indeed for remorse. He has doggedly defended the allegations and required the complainants to give evidence. Although this does not add to the sentence I impose, it highlights why Mr Nottingham is not entitled to any discount for remorse or acceptance.

[53] In his written submissions, Mr Nottingham makes it plain that he disagrees with the findings of the jury and challenges many of the rulings of the Court. As is characteristic of his approach to legal proceedings, I anticipate that Mr Nottingham will pursue all avenues of review and appeal and is unlikely ever to accept that what he did was not only unlawful, but reprehensible.

[59] Mr Nottingham, the message to you and to others by way of deterrence is that “anything goes” is wrong. The right to free speech or freedom of expression is not a paramount right. It must be balanced against the competing rights of others in the community to be free from harassment, to be protected from harm by others who malign, abuse, threaten and undermine their peace and safety. Your activities were not harmless. Nor were they justified by your sense of injustice or unfairness. They were destructive of good order and good human relations. They were misconceived and wholly disproportionate to the harm or injustice that you believed you and others had suffered.

Given his extensive record Nottingham is likely to appeal everything he can. The Crown may also appeal the sentence – they sought a substantial prison sentence.

There are also some important lessons for bloggers in the judge’s comments.

“He makes the concession…that he has never denied that he has supplied information to the website…”

I dispute that, but that’s for another story.

I will note however that on the Lauda Finem website it was often denied that ‘Team LF’ included people in New Zealand, even though it was obvious they used a large amount of New Zealand sourced material, their posts were almost exclusively New Zealand subjects, and their campaigns had things in common with campaigns on other websites.

Nottingham has not been acting alone in all of this (the court suggested a prominent role), but associates are for another story.

The laudafinem.com website started up in July 2010, and was shut down by a New Zealand court order in late 2016. Another site was set up but ceased activity in March 2017.


NOTE: This case was subject to suppression (non-publication orders) – and the private prosecutions of myself and three others were also bound by this. I have been advised by the court that this suppression lapsed on the sentencing of Nottingham.

However the case involves other cases that are still subject to non-publication orders (suppressed), so details on them must not be published.

Due to on-going suppression orders comments here will be strictly moderated. Do not try to identify anyone who is not named in the quotes from the court document here in any way.

Dermot Nottingham sentenced for criminal harassment, suppression breaches

Dermot Nottingham was sentenced in the Auckland District Court yesterday for breaching suppression, and for five counts of criminal harassment.

Internet blogger Dermot Nottingham was sentenced today in the Auckland District Court. Photo / Sam Hurley

The person who has also been harassing me online and through litigation

He was charged in April 2015 – see  the year he was charged, and he and associates of his continued harassing others after that – including me extensively, and others who were and are associated with Your NZ.

And it seems that Nottingham remains unrepentant,

It seems remarkable that he avoided a prison sentence, despite the Crown prosecutor suggesting a four year sentence. He was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention and 100 hours’ community work. Thee prosecutor said an appeal of the sentence would be up to the crown law office.

Nottingham plead not guilty and defended himself, and says he will appeal the conviction. That is no surprise – I need to be cautious at the moment about how much I say, but he is currently attempting what would be the third appeal on costs awarded against him as a result of a failed private prosecution  of me and others.

He is also currently involved in court proceedings with an attempt being made to have him declared bankrupt for failure to pay substantial court costs (I am one creditor).

See:

Also:

I and Allied Press were charged at the same time as Prentice and APN (Herald) but our cases were transferred to where they should have been laid, Dunedin.

NZ Herald has details: Blogger dodges prison over court suppression breaches, harassment campaigns

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

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

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

In 2014, the brothers pleaded guilty to assault, were discharged without conviction and granted permanent name suppression by the High Court.

Just days later, Nottingham wrote his blogs naming the two brothers and publishing photos of them alongside details of the case.

Nottingham said of the breach: “It would seem odd to be punished for supplying information to an overseas website about two killers that received no punishment.”

Even more odd than Nottingham’s denial of doing anything wrong is his attempt to prosecute others for (he alleged) breaching suppression by helping people to search for and find the information he ‘supplied’.

As a result of Nottingham’s disregard for the court’s order, a police detective began investigating the website and found “several campaigns of harassment”.

Some of the five people identified as potential victims had gone to police but were told officers could do nothing, the court heard.

Nottingham’s harassment against his victims, all of whom have permanent name suppression, took place between 2011 and 2015.

And continued after he was charged, against me and others. It wasn’t just him involved, there were others actively involved as well. I won’t name them at this stage, until I find out what is able to be said – but there’s a lot to this story, and it is time it came out.

The blogger’s targets included business people, civil servants, and a former Member of Parliament.

Photos were taken of them and their homes and the allegations published online falsely claimed drug abuse and corruption.

Some long time regulars here will recognise how similar that sounds to what was published online about me and commenters from YourNZ – after Nottingham was charged. It may not have been him doing it, but it was closely associated with him.

Nottingham also made a veiled violent threat against one victim and wrote “two shots to be sure” alongside the person’s name.

One of the victims said they had been stalked and photographed, with their images appearing on the blog page.

I have posted here about veiled threats against me. Photos of me and my house were posted online.

And serious accusations made against me and others were simply made up, false. Some of my family were threatened and implicated in conspiracies. This was all done at least by people associated with or related to Nottingham, and he did have some direct involvement here.

Brian Dickey, Auckland’s crown solicitor, said Nottingham’s harassment was at the high end of the criminal spectrum, calling it “so malicious, so nasty”.

The prosecutor said the offending articles remained on the internet and are displayed prominently when the victims’ names are entered into a Google search.

“He shows absolutely no insight into his offending, no remorse.”

That is remarkable the articles still remain online.

Nottingham had, in part, argued a prison sentence would be manifestly excessive due to his health complications, some of which saw him hospitalised for a week during the trial.

However, Dickey attempted to rebut the claims by arguing Nottingham’s health would improve if he lost some weight.

Dickey also strongly opposed home detention and sought a sentence of up to four years imprisonment.

Nottingham said he never intended to threaten the safety of his victims, but Dickey was concerned he would now simply use someone else’s computer or phone to continue his harassment.

“And our business with Mr Nottingham will continue,” Dickey told Judge Down.

Good. So will mine.

Nottingham tried to ague at trial that his “articles” were covered by freedom of expression rights.

Bullshit. He blatantly broke the law.

And he’s a huge hypocrite. He and his cronies used a ridiculous court order to try and shut me up and shut YourNZ down.  See Court order discharged .

“People have different opinions about what is said in articles,” he said today. “The articles contained words that the jury found offensive … I’m not a bully.”

In my opinion he is a highly vindictive vexatious bullying bastard. I know others have similar opinions of him.

However, Judge Down said the right to free speech or freedom of expression is not a paramount right.

Nottingham, nonetheless, stood by his blogs and said his words remained true and would survive a defamation trial.

He also blamed his victims and said, “if they had been honest … none of this would have occurred”.

He keeps failing to accept any responsibility, and keeps blaming others – I have many examples of this that I hope to be able to reveal at some stage.

The judge the “unique” case showed Nottingham had an abrasive and combative approach to others.

“Mr Nottingham is unlikely to accept what he did was not only unlawful but reprehensible,” he said.

What he was charged for was reprehensible – and there’s a lot more, from my own experience and from what others have told me.

Why no prison sentence? He actually tried to get me imprisoned (December 2015 ‘in prison by Christmas’) because I stood up to his threats and bullying.

Nottingham has indicated he will appeal the jury’s verdicts, while Dickey told the Herald a potential appeal of the sentence would be a decision for the Crown Law Office.

I hope they carefully consider that.

When I get clarification on the status of suppression orders – while he claims free speech for himself Nottingham used courts to shut me up – I may give more detail on this.

In the meantime, no naming (or hinting) of the offending website please, that will be strictly moderated.

Given that Nottingham tried (and failed) to  prosecute the Herald for breaching suppressions (that he breached himself) my assumption is that they have carefully complied with any existing suppression orders in there article.

Still, please take care with what you say, but those of you here who were also targets may feel that some degree of free speech may be appropriate.

Nottingham has threatened me with further prosecutions and legal actions as recently as this year. I will continue to stand up to his bullying, but I will do it prudently.