Williams v Craig defamation retrial ordered

The legal war of attrition looks set to continue in the defamation  battle between Jordan Williams and Colin Craig.

Stuff:  Colin Craig wins latest defamation duel with Jordan Williams, retrial ordered

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has won a retrial of the case in which he was accused of defaming Jordan Williams.

The bitter and hard-fought case between Craig and Williams, the executive director of the Taxpayers’ Union, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which on Thursday found the High Court jury had been materially misdirected and the case should be run again.

In the first High Court case a jury had found overwhelmingly for Williams and awarded him $1.27 million in damages.

The damages sum was all that Williams had claimed and set a record for defamation awards in New Zealand.

But the High Court judge said it was excessive, set it aside, and ordered a retrial of both the size of the award and whether Williams had been defamed at all.

The Court of Appeal refused to reinstate the damages but said only the part of the case that dealt with damages should be reheard.

Williams was at the Supreme Court in Wellington to hear its 3-2 majority decision delivered. Later he said he would not comment on the decision. Craig could not be contacted.

Neither Williams nor Craig have come out of the initial attacks by Williams via Whale Oil and counter attack via media and mass mail out by Craig, or the 4 week defamation trial, or the subsequent court actions with their reputations enhanced – to the contrary.

And they have added substantially too their loss of reputation by huge and mounting costs.

Decision: https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/craig-v-williams/@@images/fileDecision?r=564.327631828

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds like no money, no lawyer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUDGMENT No 7 OF PALMER J [Costs]

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

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

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

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

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

So Slater has effectively conceded no credible defence.

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

 

What Whale Oil isn’t telling their readers

Whale Oil is feeding misinformation to it’s readers about the defamation cases that Cameron Slater is embroiled in, and they are not telling them the facts that would enlighten readers to the grim reality of legal and financial holes dug by Slater himself. Claims that vexatious litigants have dragged out the cases are in some cases at least the opposite of the truth.

Particularly in the six and a half year Blomfield v Slater defamation it is Slater who has opposed, appealed, dragged things out, and failed to file a defence after numerous attempts (which appear to be mostly trying to continue the attacks against Blomfield).

Whale Oil is not being open and honest about the facts of the three cases involving Slater. And I haven’t seen them reveal at all that the company that owns Whale Oil, Social media Consultants, is also included in court actions.

As a result, comments like this are being posted at Whale Oil:

No other journalist in NZ has so many honest people behind him.

Karma will get them in the end, and the continued growth of WOBH will ensure increasing numbers of people get to hear what’s really going on.

You might have been temporary lost in some of the battles, but you will win the war.

Some people are so vindictive they just can’t let go.

I was wondering how many court cases were still pending and how that was going to be handled. I know you would rather fight on and take it to them, but I’m certain that you are getting the right advice, health comes first.

You’ve been brutally fearless and a force of nature on the political landscape.
Stay fearless and apply those traits in your recovery.

It’s too bad that those responsible for this, the vexatious litigants, will never face the costs they should do.

As for the litigants not giving extra time, have they not dragged this on for years already?

That’s more forthright than you normally expect, these days. Our martyr for free speech. Makes one want to join the Whale army, if it exists.

A lot of irony in there. And misconceptions and/or sock puppet misinformation.

Is it possible to tell us without too much detail just who the litigants are on the three outstanding actions?

Whale Oil is keeping the facts from their readers.

Yesterday in An update on Cam’s health ‘Whaleoil staff’ claimed:

This has led Cam to make the very difficult decision to declare bankruptcy, since he is unable to generate enough passive revenue to fund the three extremely expensive and in his opinion, vexatious, defamation actions against him.

They are right that the actions are likely to be extremely expensive. Costs alone are likely to add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars – Slater himself has previously said that’s the likely cost of defamation defences.

But court documents suggest that if anyone has been vexatious, or bringing costs upon himself, it is Slater.

From ( (pre-defamation trial) SELLMAN & ORS v SLATER & ORS NO 5 – COSTS [2018] NZHC 58 [7 February 2018] in which Slater was first defendant, and the plaintiffs were were Sellman, Swinburn and Frederick:

It is a fundamental principle of New Zealand civil law that costs follow the event – a losing party pays a winning party a contribution towards their legal costs. The question of who has won and who has lost is guided by the interests of justice and must be viewed in terms of “who in reality has been the successful party”.

Overall, I consider the plaintiffs  did enjoy substantive success.

The time-bar strike-out applications by all five defendants involved argument about, and determination of, a relatively untested aspect of New Zealand defamation law, based on policy considerations. But the applications all failed. I award costs to the plaintiffs in respect of this aspect of the applications on a 2B basis.

The abuse of process strike-out applications also failed…On a net basis, accordingly, I award costs to the plaintiffs, in respect of this aspect of the applications, of 90 per cent against the first defendant and 80 per cent against the second and third defendants.

Assuming, as I do for this purpose, that each of the three aspects of the strikeout applications of the proceeding by the first, second and third defendants were of equal weight, the result is that I award to costs to the plaintiffs of 93 per cent of the costs for the first defendant’s strike out application…I discount each award by a third. So the first defendant will pay 62 per cent.

The first, and the second and third defendants’ applications to strike out the ss 39 and 41 notices simply failed. They will each pay two thirds of the costs of that to the plaintiffs on a 2B basis.

All defendants will pay the costs of the one-and-a-half-day hearing and the plaintiffs’ disbursements jointly and severally.

So costs were awarded against Slater in failed actions. Slater was represented by two lawyers so presumably would have accrued costs of his own too.

From SELLMAN v SLATER [2018] NZHC 3057 [23 November 2018]:

Should Mr Slater and Mr Graham be examined?

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

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

Slater has provided inconsistent insufficient answers and is being called to appear in a court hearing to answer questions.

It looks to me that either through evasiveness or incompetence (or both) Slater is prolonging the action.

Mr Henry advised at the hearing that Mr Slater would have to file a new amended statement of defence to substitute the new public interest defence for qualified privilege.

Similarly, the application to strike out affirmative defences falls away with the filing and impending filing of new affirmative defences. I record that, if the previous sets of pleadings by Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL had remained extant, I do not consider they should have been struck out but they would have needed to be amended to provide greater specificity of particulars in relation to the defences.

More insufficient information and changing defences.

Discovery

Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL will provide further particular discovery to the plaintiffs and other defendants, within 15 working days of this judgment

Costs

If costs cannot be agreed between the parties they have leave to file written submissions of no more than five pages within 10 working days of the date of the judgment

So Slater appears to be responsible for ongoing delays and further court appearances, and is incurring further costs.

A telephone conference was scheduled for this case in the High Court yesterday, the same day that Whale Oil posted:

The prospect of on-going ill health and potential further strokes means the advice of his medical team, lawyer, accountant, family members and those who, due to his incapacity, would have been appointed his guardians ad litem, is for him to completely withdraw from any activity other than rehabilitation.

It’s understandable that Slater would want to withdraw from any ongoing court actions, but I don’t know if the judge will buy it.

From CRAIG v SLATER [2018] NZHC 2712 [19 October 2018], just prior to Slater having a stroke, claiming media stress (Slater is first defendant, Social Media Consultants is second defendant):

RESULT AND ORDERS

I declare under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992 that Cameron Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited are liable to Colin Craig in defamation for the untrue statements…

I dismiss Mr Slater’s causes of action in defamation against Mr Craig by way of counterclaim.

So Slater failed in his defence, and he also failed in his counter claim against Craig.

Costs

[655] Rule 14.2 of the High Court Rules 2016 provides as a primary principle that a party who fails with respect to a proceeding should pay costs to the party who succeeds.  The rule also provides that an award of costs should reflect the complexity and significance of the proceeding. Bearing in mind that each of the parties has both succeeded and failed in the proceeding in varying degrees, and having regard to the complexity and significance of the proceeding, it will be obvious that the determination of costs will require careful consideration by the parties and by the Court.

Due to his failed counter claim it looks unlikely that Slater will be awarded any costs, and may have substantial costs awarded against him.

From Blomfield v Slater [2018] NZHC 2781 [26 October 2018] (Slater first defendant, Social media Consuktants second defendant):

[139] It is therefore apparent that the defendants took no heed whatsoever of the description provided by Lang J in his judgment of 18 May 2018 as to the pleading requirements for the defences of truth and honest opinion. In the circumstances it is clear that the defendants have chosen to adopt the general and unspecific approach later taken in the 3ASOD pleading those defences.

[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.

[142] Accordingly, in the absence of any proper particulars that would enable the trial to proceed in a focused and orderly manner, I ruled that the defendants may not adduce any evidence directed at advancing the defences of truth and honest opinion…

[144] The proposed evidence clearly contains opinions and conclusions that the first defendant cannot offer as admissible evidence…

Conclusion

[147] The effect of my judgments is to preclude the defendants from adducing any evidence directed at supporting the defences of truth and honest opinion, as well as any evidence directed at showing the plaintiff to be a person of bad reputation. This unusual situation is the direct consequence of the defendants’ failure to plead their case in accordance with the requirements for pleading the defences of truth and honest opinion and the requirements for adducing evidence directed at establishing bad reputation. The defendants have had considerable time and a number of opportunities to get their pleadings in order, leading to the Court giving them a final opportunity to replead their defences in May 2018. Despite this leniency, and the impending trial
fixture, the defendants failed to properly plead their defences in the 3ASOD and it was not until the trial was a fortnight or so away that they took steps to apply to file a further amended pleading that significantly recast their case yet still failed to comply with the requirements of pleading. Then, when that application was dismissed and the trial was to commence, they applied again to file a yet further amended pleading which also significantly recast their case and contained numerous deficiencies in pleading.

After six and a half years Slater could not put up a credible defence. This played out in court mid October last year, with the judgment being given just prior to Slater having a stroke claimed to be due to stress from media.

[148] Although the effect of my rulings and judgments may appear harsh, this outcome underlines the importance of proper pleading and of compliance with procedural rules and timetable orders. In this case the defendants’ failure to comply with those requirements have resulted in them placing themselves in the situation in which they now find themselves.

“defendants’ failure to comply with those requirements have resulted in them placing themselves in the situation in which they now find themselves” – not due to vexatious litigants, due to hopeless defendants.

Both an award of damages and awards of costs are yet to be determined.

From Blomfield v Slater [2018] NZHC 171 [15 February 2019]:

[20] Here there is no concern that the reasons judgment contains any confidential information of the defendants, nor any information that would be likely to adversely affect the defendants’ fair trial interests if released for publication. While it is likely that publication of the results judgment may be unwelcome and somewhat embarrassing for the defendants, those consequence arise from the manner in which they themselves, particularly the first defendant, have conducted these proceedings during the past six-and-a-half years.

Again the responsibility for his predicament is Slater’s.

[24] I decline to determine the costs on the interlocutory applications brought by the defendants at this time.

Deferred pending an appeal.

[25] I direct that the Registrar recover $12,800 of the balance owing for Court fees from the defendants. The remaining $1,600 (unless it has already been paid by the time of this judgment) is to be recovered from the plaintiff.

Yesterday following the post on Whale Oil, Blomfield responded via NZ Herald:  Cameron Slater’s stroke – what defamation victim Matt Blomfield says the evidence shows about the blogger’s health

The businessman who successfully battled Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater over defamation claims the blogger’s claim ill-health drove him to bankruptcy is contrary to evidence and should be treated with suspicion.

Matt Blomfield told the Herald he was basing his view on evidence which had emerged during the final stages of the seven-year defamation battle.

He said he was making the details public over concern Slater was attempting to gain sympathy from the public and seek donations from readers, as he has done over the course of the prolonged court case.

Blomfield said the High Court ruling was followed by Slater filing with the Court of Appeal then seeking to delay the subsequent hearing on the basis of ill-health.

He said Slater was then obliged by the court to provide evidence supporting his claims around his health and “that evidence simply didn’t support his application”.

“He has told the public he had two strokes, but the evidence showed he had only had one. He keeps repeating the fact that the stroke was caused by stress and that he must now avoid stress.

“However, the medical evidence is that his particular stroke has nothing to do with stress and he is in no more danger of another stroke due to stress than any other person.

“He claimed to have cognitive and language impairment because of his stroke, but the evidence showed he had none.

“He claimed to be too incapacitated to communicate with his lawyers, but he was simultaneously engaging in political discussions in the comments section of the Whale Oil website.”

Slater was commenting on Whale Oil soon after he had his stroke, and continued for months until recently.

Blomfield said the Court of Appeal gave Slater until February 22 to provide evidence supporting his claims of ill-health.

“He filed no response at all. Instead, he applied for bankruptcy. He is now saying his proceedings need to be halted for that reason.

“He is doing everything he can to avoid the consequences of his own nefarious actions.”

Blomfield said “this will not work” and a full Court of Appeal hearing next month would rule based on the evidence.

So Slater failed to file evidence of ill health to the Court of Appeal, but instead unsubstantiated claims were made on Whale Oil yesterday, with most of the facts of the cases again omitted.

As well as the misinformation and misleading, Whale Oil seems to be in denial of reality. Comments from yesterday’s post:

He really sees that as a good thing? ‘Nige’ is one of the site managers. I wonder how much information  he has been given – I mean facts rather than fiction and fantasy.

The second last word from ‘Whaleoil staff’:

Contrary to many naysayers’ opinions, the Whaleoilsite is continuing to grow and expand. This is very similar to the way Breitbart survived its founder Andrew Breitbart’s death. Whaleoil has become very much bigger than just Cam. Unlike Breitbart, when and if Cam’s health allows, he will return to the site, subject entirely to his medical team’s clearance.

Deluded.

Timeline around Slater’s stroke

This is  reference post.

It became obvious about the end of October that there had been a significant change at Whale Oil – after multiple posts a day under the author ‘Cameron Slater’ they suddenly stopped. There have been no posts since.

There was no explanation at all until ‘Whaleoil staff’ advised  on on January 21, 2019 at 8:00am in ‘Where the hell is Cam?’:

The eagle eyed amongst you have no doubt spotted that Cam has not written any posts for Whaleoil or Incite Politics for some time. In fact, Cam has been absent since October but, for various reasons that will become clear, we opted not to make any announcement till we were ready. That time has now come.

In late October Cam had to go to hospital by ambulance not once but twice. After being discharged from his first stay in hospital he had to be readmitted due to complications. Cam suffered a serious stroke that left him partially paralysed down his right side and totally paralysed in his right arm including his hand and fingers as well as severe impairment in higher order functioning and moderate speech impairment. Prior to this event Cam was perfectly fit and healthy with no predisposing stroke risk factors. Doctors have concluded that the cause of the stroke was entirely due to stress.

There will be no other public announcement or comment regarding Cam’s health other than to say that he is approaching his recovery with typical determination (some would say obsession) and a never-give-up attitude.

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

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

Please help us to help Cam with his recovery by supporting our efforts to minimise further stress which could prove fatal to him.

This raised quite a few questions and speculation, especially since Friday when a court judgment was released, as repoted by NZ herald who had obtained the judgment: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater loses defamation case

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 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 new judgment came after a defamation hearing 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.”

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”.

Davison said Slater’s defence “fell well short” of providing facts which supported the accusations printed.

As indicated the court hearing was in October, before Slater had his stroke.

The REASONS JUDGMENT OF PAUL DAVISON J [Re application by defendants to file fourth and fifth amended affirmative statement of defence, security for costs and admissibility of evidence] shows:

Hearing: 26 September, 8, 10, 11, 12 October 2018

Judgment: 26 October 2018

So presumably Slater received the judgment the Friday before having his stroke.

The last post by ‘Cameron Slater’, Bring peace to the world by buying our ham, was on October 30, 2018 at 10:05am.

There was a political post just prior to that – A year into this government and at least one commentator thinks they’ve done jack all – on October 30, 2018 at 9:30am that quoted what looks like a NZ Herald opinion by David Cormack that doesn’t have a link.

Prior to that Nice sentiment but aid isn’t where it is at was posted at October 30, 2018 at 9:00am which links to an RNZ article ‘The days of treating you as pests are over’ from 4:01 pm on 29 October 2018.

That could have been scheduled any time after 4:01 pm on Monday 29th.

A comment was posted by Slater at 9:25 pm Monday 29th:

So it appears that Slater had his stroke some time between then and the end of October (the Wednesday).

There have been no more posts under Slater’s name since then at all.

There have been a number of comments since then starting with this one:

That could have been posted by someone else. Whale Oil gave no indication that Slater could have been incapacitated for two and a half months.

No indication there that there there was any problem (apart from the sudden cessation of posts).

So it seems that several days after having had a stroke Slater is commenting again. and the comments have continued since then. Including:

Whats wrong with lambchop, roast and cutlet for names?

Apart from chips and mashed potato, is there anything made from plants that tastes good? Asking for the daughter who was perplexed as to who would even consider buying plant-based mince.

Instead they will go down the path, well worn, twice over, of Bill English.

He back Amy Adams and has been advocating strongly in her favour. But a man who wont stand by his mates isn’t leadership quality.

They always poll the leader. They already know how tits he is.

I wonder if they will stop the Greens writing about GE. It is now scientific fact that GE is safe, yet the Greens constantly push their own denialism on GE.

Except she is a terrible bully, though not as bad as Paula Bennett.

They were posted through November and the last one on 1 December 2018. On 3 December and following:

She, amongst others in parliament, is well known as a terrible boss. Staff turnover is the indicator. Paula Bennett has one of the worst, but for some reason she is never touched. Barry has more than those in media, and it is somewhat strange that the nats are sticking by her when her sackings involved Parliamentary Services intervention and they were never involved in the much highlighted JLR staffing issues. Surely Bridges should at least be asking her to spend some time on the back bench like he was going to do with JLR?

Saying the others do it too never worked in the kindergarten sandpit , what makes you think it will work now?

Ignore all that and focus on the illegal work. Yes he is a mincing pooftah with a silly moustache and is soft, but what he says is illegal regarding party work.

So why did he decide to walk out at 0800 meeting yesterday?

Really? So the 1996 election never happened and the member for Rakaia was never elected.

Wrong, that was Jim Bolger.

She was elected as the MP for Rakaia. Jim Bolger was elected as MP for Taranaki-King Country in 1996. No one is ever elected as PM. They are selected as leader of their party and nothing else.

You cant tell me that had Bill English remained as prime minister that he wouldnt have signed, of course he would have. The globalist influence of McCully would have endured.

9 December 2018:

Really? immeasurable damage? Fortunately stats show otherwise. WO never supported Peters, but I did personally. I am glad I did because now Bill English is gone and I’m still here. I am not some toady to any political party, and will never be again. The fact that you think I should have toadied up to a Bill English led National party despite the animus shown to me by the party show that you don’t understand either me or my personal belief structure.

And:

The use of terms like old prick and old crook implies that other politicians are inherently honest. They aren’t. Bill English in particular, who was aided and abetted over the years by Michelle Boag and Murray McCully, amongst others.

Again you us a superlative, un fathomable, that shows a lack of perception your part. Even Blind Freddy know the old political saw “the enemy of my enemy s my friend”. See, that wasn’t that hard to perceive was it?

What you also fail to perceive is that politics isn’t a zero sum, winner takes all game. It is a common failing though of dyed in the wool, blinkered National party supporters.

Politics is the art of the possible, it is about finding pathways to victory and National’s continued adherence to zero sum and winner takes all mean they may well spend an awful long time in opposition. That would be good thing. Until they change, their (and yours) continued arrogance dooms them.

More:

Most atheists that I know are worse than happy handclappers bashing anyone with a belief telling them how wrong they are. This woman sounds precisely like that.

Its Thursday ,the prime minister will conveniently be away from the house.

Are you completely stupid or just a troll. National has said they would repeal this, how can they be “under instruction”?

You can have an opinion, and I can point out facts that show your opinion is ill-founded, ill-informed and wrong.

Made my boss cry within 15 minutes of stepping in the door. Once I knew how to make her cry that just emboldened me to set better times.

Maybe they should endorse three strikes…Imagine Cindy having to push that through.

Just like the prime minisda

Nah, Baz is on the money.

Helped immensely by stupid questions from Bridges. Total facepalm there. It is clear he hasn’t got the skills to challenge Cindy. I am waiting for a silly Christmas stunt to get attention.

Im not ashamed and never will be. If you think Simon Bridges or Bill English would have done any different over the recent UN happenings then you are seriously unobservant of the wet liberal leadership National has had since John Key took over. Murray McCully did in fact do precisely what you have said, he was the one steering it thru before the election…and had National won they would have done exactly what the CoL has done.

National is still wetter than the ocean, just because it wears a blue wetsuit doesn’t mean they aren’t wet.

Word is she used to push around Parekura Horomia, which is impressive shoving power.

In January:

Not betrayed at all. I understand how MMP works. The only vote possible for me to get rid of Bill English was Winston, job done, extremely satisfied.

From 3 weeks ago:

Using your standard there would be about 10 MPs left.

Back in my day he’d be hung on the coathooks by his shorts, bog-washed in the Taj and given the bash for being a smarty pants…and Bob Hunt would have likely caned him, just because…all on the first day.

So, let’s get this straight….relatives with a criminal past preclude someone from public office? How many generations back does that apply?

Bridges is a lying so & so when he says he doesn’t know much about the Vernon Tava wet dream. McCully has been setting it up and working with Goodfellow on it.

Bridges is lying when he says he doesn’t know much about the Vernon Tava wet dream. McCully has been setting it up and working with Goodfellow on it.

I don’t know whether that cartoon of Simon makes him look like a giant douche or a turd sandwich.

No, one must not…they started carrying on with each other while both married and then Dowie decided she wanted to be Mrs Ross 2.0.

Murray McCully’s work, with Goodfellow and Bridges involved even though they deny it.

How’s that sink Winston, govern alone plan working out?

And where did all his votes go? Not National. Collapse Winston vote and govern alone looks retarded now.

Next you’ll be sounding like Labour voter.. Rogue poll…rogue poll.

I think if they throw milk the truth just might come out and end up all over John Keys face.

You guys don’t know Mark Mitchell very well, do you?

Fyfe would be an appalling choice given his private life.

It’s curious that he started commenting a few days after suffering a stroke, and has continued since, but hasn’t been posting.

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.

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:

 

 

Craig v Slater – the biggest losers

Finally after waiting eighteen months for a judgment on their tit for tat defamation trial Colin Craig and and Cameron Slater are both claiming some sort of victory, but the overwhelming response is that they are both losers.

Craig technically won – he succeeded on two claims that Slater defamed him. But:

  • he lost most of his claims
  • there was no award of damages because “the reputational damage which Mr Craig suffered throughout the events traversed at length in the judgment resulted almost entirely from his own actions”
  • “It is true that Mr Craig was guilty of moderately serious sexual harassment of Rachel MacGregor, on multiple occasions”

Technically Slater succeeded in defending most of Craaig’s claims, but he failed on both his claims of defamation, as Craig was found to be “entitled to the defence of qualified privilege in reply to an attack on him by Mr Slater”, so no damages there either (he asked for $8,117,010).

Costs are yet to be decided. Craig represented himself so cannot claim much in the way of costs and disbursements.

Slater lost the case, and Craig won a part of his case, so Slater may have difficulty claiming much if any of what will be substantial legal costs. There seems no chance of him getting all costs, and any he might get will be going to his lawyers, so the dream of a legal fighting fund that was mentioned when Whale Oil eyes lit up when Jordan Williams was awarded over a million dollars (now quashed) is now a financial burden, if not nightmare.

Summary from Courts of New Zealand:

The claimant, Colin Craig, laid 15 separate defamation claims in relation to statements made by Mr Slater
either on his blogsite or in other media.

Mr Craig alleged that he suffered serious damage to his reputation as a consequence of allegedly untrue statements published by the defendants, Mr Cameron Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited (SMCl) (the company which establishes the Whaleoil blog).

Mr Slater made two counterclaims.

The matter was heard by judge-alone over 17 days in May – June 2017, with final submissions not received until September 2018.

In brief, Mr Craig alleged that Mr Slater and Whaleoil caused him serious reputational damage by publishing untrue statements based on information leaked to him by a friend of Ms MacGregor, Mr Jordan Williams, and a Conservative Party board member, Mr John Stringer, about Mr Craig and the Party’s internal problems; electoral funding and the Party’s finances; and a rumoured sexual harassment claim by Ms MacGregor.

Mr Craig sought declarations under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992 that the defendants are liable to him
in defamation. He also claimed general, aggravated and punitive damages of unspecified amounts and
costs.

Mr Slater counterclaimed, saying he was himself defamed in a booklet entitled Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas which Mr Craig published, allegedly in defence of the attacks he claims Mr Slater and others made upon him, following his resignation in 2015. The booklet was circulated to more than 1.6 million New Zealand homes. Mr Slater claims that the contents of the booklet defamed him by implying, among other things, that he developed or coordinated the strategy to defame and spread lies about Mr Craig and published material on his blog knowing it not to be true.

Mr Slater claimed general damages of $8,117,010 on a proposed basis of $5.00 for each of the 1,623,402 New Zealand homes to which the booklet was delivered.

The result and orders

Mr Craig failed on his principal causes of action against Mr Slater. He did so because the Court found, for reasons set out in full in the judgment, that Mr Craig had been guilty of moderately serious sexual harassment of Ms MacGregor; that he had made a substantial financial settlement with her on confidential terms in exchange for the withdrawal of her claims to the Human Rights Tribunal; and that he had deliberately misled the Conservative Party board about those matters.

The court found other statements and assertions were untrue statements. However, the court held that Mr Slater could rely on the defence of “responsible communication on a matter of public interest” with respect to all but two of these untrue statements and imputations.

This new defence was available to Mr Slater despite his personal animosity towards Mr Craig, because the Court found he was principally motivated to release into the public arena information which he believed to be reliable and which would inform public discussion on a matter of undoubted public interest.

The Court found that to hold that Mr Slater was deprived of the defence of responsible communication on a matter of public interest, merely because of his views about Mr Craig, would be to tilt the balance between freedom of expression on a matter of public interest and protection of reputation too far in favour of the latter. Such a finding would have an unduly chilling effect on political discourse of the kind which the public interest defence is designed to recognise.

HELD: The Judge declared, under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992, that Mr Slater and SMCl are liable to Mr Craig in defamation for only two untrue statements:. The Court found Mr Slater had no defence for the untrue statements that Mr Craig:
(i) had placed Ms Rachel MacGregor under financial pressure to sleep with him; and
(ii) sexually harassed at least one victim other than Ms MacGregor.

The Judge dismissed the remaining causes of action in defamation, either on grounds that the defence of truth was upheld or on the basis the publications were responsible communications on a matter of public interest.

While this meant Cameron Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited were liable to Colin Craig in defamation for these two statements, the Court ruled he was not entitled to an award of damages because the reputational damage which Mr Craig suffered throughout the events traversed at length in the judgment resulted almost entirely from his own actions.

Mr Slater’s counterclaims

Mr Slater counterclaimed for allegedly defamatory statements made in the booklet.

The Court dismissed Mr Slater’s counterclaims against Mr Craig. It found that while many of the assertions Mr Craig had made about Mr Slater in his booklet Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas, were untrue – including the assertion that Mr Slater made up allegations and was a liar – Mr Craig was entitled to the defence of qualified privilege in reply to an attack on him by Mr Slater.

On that basis, Mr Slater’s counterclaim in defamation was dismissed.

From the judgment on costs:

Bearing in mind that each of the parties has both succeeded and failed in the proceeding in varying degrees, and having regard to the complexity and significance of the proceeding, it will be obvious that the determination of costs will require careful consideration by the parties and by the Court.

Costs are reserved for the exchange of memoranda and will be determined on the papers unless the Court directs otherwise.

This could take some time.

Full decision of J Toogood: PDF document icon CSEJ.pdf — PDF document, 1.82 MB, 250 pages

Craig has claimed a win but acknowledges that is limited. He says he is considering an appeal.

Mr ‘explaining is losing’ Slater has done a number of posts on the judgment at Whale Oil claiming some sort of victory and vindication, but it looks like trying to make a silk purse out of a boar’s bum. There has been only a a little bit of congratulations and support in comments, seemingly from a mix of blind supporters and sycophants with perhaps some sock puppets.

David Farrar seems to have obtained an advance copy of the judgment and what looked like a pre-prepared post that appears to be trying to paint lipstick on a pig – Zero damages in Craig vs Slater.

Comments there are overwhelmingly negative towards Craig and to Slater in particular.

There was a brief flurry of response on Twitter, largely critical of the two litigants, and also praising the ‘both losers’ result.

Craig’s reputation was already in tatters, this just reinforces that. The decision puts pressure on his ongoing defamation proceedings versus Jordan Williams – arguing appropriate damages in Williams v Craig, and his counter suit Craig v Williams.

Surely Craig must now drop his defamation claim against Rachel MacGregor.

And any political ambitions must be gone or futile.

Slater comes out of this with his reputation of a political activist and dirty attack blogger largely intact (remember that his attacks were based on information supplied by Jordan Williams in a breach of MacGregor’s privacy and highly questionable for a lawyer). His financial stress remains.

And Slater has another legal headache looming as he awaits a judgment on the Blomfield v Slater defamation case. This is similar in that involved a series of attacks on Matthew Blomfield via Whale Oil, but it is different in that Blomfield didn’t get drawn into a public spat and overreach like Craig. Blomfield just tenaciously pursued Slater through the courts, despite numerous appeals and delays.

Whale Oil has also suffered. Slater’s bold claims of legal success have proven to be like many of his claims, over-optimistic and overblown, so his credibility has taken another hit, at the same time that he continues shedding support due to his ongoing attacks on National.

In five consecutive posts on the decision at WO there have been a total of 56 comments (23 on one post is the most), compared to 85 comments on a single post at Kiwiblog.

 

Craig v Williams strike out attempt fails

This is another chapter in the widening litigation after Colin Craig was attacked via Whale Oil and Craig retaliated via a media conference and a nationwide mail-out of a pamphlet.

Craig is counter claiming defamation against Jordan Williams in a parallel case to the original claim Williams made against Craig.

Williams v Craig

Williams took Craig to court for defamation. Williams won and was awarded a record amount by a jury. However this was overturned by the judge. Wrangling on this case recently got as far as the Supreme Court, and remains unresolved.

Craig v Williams

Meanwhile, Craig also later filed separately for defamation against Williams.

This differs from the Craig v Slater v Craig claim and counter-claim which were heard at the same time (early last year, still no judgment).

Earlier this year Williams applied to the High Court for:

(a) striking out the plaintiff’s (Mr Craig’s) claim as an abuse of process;

(b) if the proceeding is not struck out, transferring the proceeding to the Wellington Registry of the Court; and

(c) if the proceeding is not struck out, ordering Mr Craig to provide security for Mr Williams’ costs

Williams partially succeeded but largely failed.

The claims made by Mr Craig

[4] On 29 May 2017, Mr Craig filed this proceeding (“the Craig proceeding”) against Mr Williams, alleging that Mr Williams made defamatory statements about Mr Craig in the period between 26 May 2015 and 26 June 2015.

[5] Mr Craig’s statement of claim pleads six separate causes of action, each relating to statements allegedly published by Mr Williams.

Conclusions on the strike-out application:

[99] In my view, the issue of whether Mr Craig sexually harassed Ms MacGregor (by means falling short of sexual assault) has been conclusively determined against him in the Williams proceeding.

The causes of action and parts of causes of action that argued whether Mr Craig sexually harassed Ms MacGregor were all struck out.

[128] The pleaded meaning that Mr Craig had sexually harassed Ms MacGregor will be struck out, for the reasons discussed earlier.

But other parts of five of the six claims were allowed to stand. Craig was directed to file and serve an amended statement of claim.

[129] I do not consider there is a sufficient basis to strike out the other pleaded meanings, both of which are concerned with sexual harassment of women other than Ms MacGregor.

Williams also asked that the proceedings be struck out due to the existence of other proceedings. This was declined.

[159] Mr Williams points to numerous Court proceedings Mr Craig has now filed against a number of parties, including Mr Slater, Ms MacGregor, and Mr Stringer. It appears that all of these claims relate broadly to the same series of events in 2015.

[160] I do not think I can make anything of these other claims in the context of the present application. I did not receive any detailed submissions on the nature of the other claims, and I have no basis for finding that they were unnecessary or improper, or otherwise an abuse of the Court’s process. I am dealing here with a strike-out application in respect of this one proceeding, and I think it would be dangerous to conclude from the fact that there are a number of other proceedings commenced by Mr Craig that this proceeding was commenced for an improper collateral purpose, or was otherwise an abuse of the Court process. I decline to strike out the Craig proceeding on the basis of the existence of these other proceedings.

Williams also applied for an order for security of costs. This was dismissed.

Williams also applied for an order transferring the proceeding to the Wellington registry of the Court (from Auckland). This was dismissed.

Craig has failed to re-litigate findings that he sexually harassed MacGregor, but otherwise he successfully opposed Williams applications.

So this means that as well as Williams versus Craig continuing on it’s way through the courts, Craig versus Williams is now also able to proceed.

Full judgment here