Sellman (and others) versus Slater (and others) – Slater and his lawyer want out

Another defamation proceeding involving Cameron Slater that is encountering persistent delays – this case starting in mid-2016, and three years later still looks a long way off going to trial.

(The Matt Blomfield versus Slater and Social Media Consultants defamation started after a series of posts on the Whale Oil website in 2012, and while Slater was last year found by a court to have no defence damages won’t be dealt with until next year. Colin Craig versus Slater began in mid-2015 and is still going).

Newsroom: Lawyer: Let me off Whaleoil case

In October last year and again in March, Justice Palmer decided Slater and Graham had provided insufficient answers to questions from the medical academics’ lawyers and needed to do so, both in writing and by turning up to court personally for face to face interviews.

Slater has not done so. On his behalf, Henry has argued Slater had two medical opinions saying he was too ill to continue with the case. Then he argued the personal bankruptcy meant the defamation action should be halted and any action that survived ought to be against the Official Assignee as legal custodian of Slater’s property and finances.

In March, Justice Palmer used his discretion to order the case would go on, despite the bankruptcy. The plaintiffs then sought orders forcing Slater to comply and making him respond in writing to their application.

In April Justice Palmer decided there was no “medical evidence on the basis of which I could be satisfied Mr Slater was then incapacitated so that I could appoint a litigation guardian for him.”

The judge regarded Henry’s arguments about the different legal personalities of a bankrupt and the bankrupt’s estate as “a nice academic issue” but decided “I would expect a bankrupt continues to be personally responsible for the discharge of duties in legal proceedings which are purely personal in nature and unrelated to any property interest of the bankrupt” and “no further argument is required.”

Now, in his eighth judgment on these matters, delivered on Tuesday, he says Slater is either actually too ill to continue – in which case either a “litigation guardian” should be appointed or a proper court hearing on his illness and examination of his medical evidence needs to be held – or Slater simply does not want to want to do so. “In which case, he must face the consequences of the plaintiff’s current application.”

The judgment yesterday details the latest court saga:

[1] In this proceeding, three medical professionals sue Mr Cameron Slater, and other defendants, for defamation…

The proceeding

[5] This proceeding was commenced three years ago, in mid-2016. The plaintiffs are three medical professionals, Dr Doug Sellman, Dr Boyd Swinburn and Mr Shane Bradbrook. They sue Mr Slater who they allege defamed them in a series of blog posts on his Whale Oil website. They also sue Mr Carrick Graham and his company Facilitate Communications Ltd (FCL) for defaming them in comments on the posts. And they sue Mrs Katherine Rich and the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council Ltd (NZFGC) for allegedly procuring Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL to publish the substance and sting of the alleged defamation.

Slater’s lawyer Brian Henry is now claiming that due to a stroke suffered in late October 2018 Slater is unable to give him instructions, but had given him instructions on some matters that suited Slater. And Henry wanted the court to excuse him from representing Slater, but he has continued to represent him on a personal basis anyway.

It’s a messy situation for Henry, made worse by Slater filing for bankruptcy in February.

Slater and his family are claiming that he should no longer participate in the proceedingsfor health and stress reasons.

The state of play up until this judgment:

[1}…In an interlocutory judgment of 23 November 2018, I ordered Mr Slater to provide further particular discovery and to attend court to be orally examined. Since then, Mr Henry, for Mr Slater, has: applied for a temporary stay on the basis Mr Slater’s medical condition prevented him giving  instructions; foreshadowed an intention to apply for appointment of a litigation guardian; advised of Mr Slater’s bankruptcy; and advised that he has instructions to oppose new applications but that Mr Slater no longer defends the substantive proceeding.

[2] The plaintiffs have applied for orders that Mr Slater comply with the court orders for discovery and oral examination or be held in contempt of court. Mr Henry now submits, on Mr Slater’s instructions, that Mr Slater is no longer a party to the proceeding or able to engage a solicitor, because he is bankrupt, and he seeks a formal hearing on that issue. Mr Henry also says there are medical reports from February 2019 confirming Mr Slater is unable to give evidence in court.

[3] On 20 March 2019, I ordered this proceeding to continue against Mr Slater despite his bankruptcy, under a wide discretion in s 76(2) of the Insolvency Act 2006 (the Act).

The full judgment may be of interest to legal geeks (I’m not a legal person but have acquired a habit of reading through legal judgments), but here I’ll skip to the middle:

[16] In Minute No 15 of 2 April 2019, I did not consider there was any medical evidence on the basis of which I could be satisfied Mr Slater was then incapacitated so that I could appoint a litigation guardian for him. I noted Mr Slater appeared to intend not to comply with the discovery and oral examination orders, made in the 23 November 2018 judgment, and that he had sought to avoid complying with them from 14 December 2018 by successively applying for a stay on medical grounds, indicating he would apply for appointment of a litigation guardian, withdrawing instructions from counsel, indicating he would take no steps and applying for bankruptcy.

So the judge is nu buying Slater’s claims without evidence.

And to the end.

[28] Section 76(2) of the Act provides that “on the application by any creditor or other person interested in the bankruptcy, the court may allow proceedings that had already begun before the date of adjudication to continue on the terms and conditions that the court thinks appropriate”. That is, if anything, wider than the court’s discretion in the predecessor section which was characterised by the High Court as wide.

[29] Under the discretion, on 20 March 2019, I ordered this proceeding to continue against Mr Slater. I consider it is an implicit term of that order that Mr Slater must comply with orders made against him in the proceeding, which was one of the reasons why the plaintiffs sought its continuation against him. If that was not sufficiently implicit, I now make it explicit under that discretion and/or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to supervise proceedings before it. That means Mr Slater must comply with the court orders irrespective of Mr Henry’s argument about the effect of his bankruptcy. Given that, I do not consider the court and the parties need to incur yet further delays from, and the expense of, argument about that issue. Further argument is not required.

[30] Mr Slater must comply with the orders personally if the Official Assignee cannot do so through the exercise of the Assignee’s powers. The order to be examined orally must be complied with by Mr Slater personally, subject to what I say below about his medical condition. If the Official Assignee has possession of, and control over, Mr Slater’s documents sufficient to discharge Mr Slater’s obligations under the discovery order then I request the Official Assignee to arrange compliance with that order. Otherwise, Mr Slater will need to comply with that obligation personally too.

Mr Slater’s medical condition

[33] In terms of Mr Slater’s medical condition, I identify three possibilities:

(a) either Mr Slater is incapacitated and not able to give instructions, in which case a litigation guardian must be appointed for him under r 4.30 of the High Court Rules 2016; or

(b) Mr Slater is able to give instructions but is not medically able to provide discovery and/or be orally examined, in which case medical evidence of that must be provided and tested if required in response to the plaintiffs’ current application to compel compliance or sanction for contempt; or

(c) Mr Slater is able to give instructions, is able to provide discovery and be orally examined but does not want to do so, in which case he must face the consequences of the plaintiffs’ current application.

[34] I assume that possibility (a) is not the case, because Mr Henry has most recently said he has instructions from Mr Slater. If, now or at some future point, Mr Henry were to tell me Mr Slater is incapacitated and not able to give instructions, then I would want to see an affidavit explaining the basis of such a statement and its consistency with the various statements made to me to date and I would consider appointing a litigation guardian under r 4.35 of the Rules.

[35] If possibility (b) or (c) is the case, Mr Slater will need to file a notice of opposition to the plaintiffs’ application to compel compliance or sanction for contempt, with any supporting affidavits, by 1 pm Monday 22 July 2019, if he wishes to oppose the application.

Doubts have been raised here about claims of how debilitating the stoke was. Slater was commenting on Whale Oil soon after his stroke. And this was posted on Whale Oil in April:

Having just spent a bit of time with the boss I can tell you a couple of things.

He’ll be back if he chooses to be.

The mans grit and fortitude are unbelievable.
We had a reasonably active weekend and he stayed the course and even after he’d already told me he was knackered he then walked another kilometer.

Then the bloke that had lost all use of his right arm a few short months ago and has only regained a portion of its use and is in constant pain, picks up his shotgun, takes 3 practice swings and then proceeds to blow 9 out of 10 clay pigeons out of the air using the 2nd barrel only once.
If I hadn’t seen it (and scored it) I wouldn’t have believed it.

Bloody amazing man.

See Slater active recovering from stroke. Not such an amazing man when it comes to court matters – unless that grit and fortitude is applied to avoidance.

But it looks like the current avoidance hasn’t been successful.

 [32] …I will be hearing the plaintiffs’ application to compel compliance or sanction for contempt at 10 am on Friday 26 July 2019.

So the case will proceed, with Slater required to front up or risks being found in contempt of court for not complying with legal requirements. That can be a serious matter.

A large bit of deceit at Whale Oil

Whale Oil continues to deceive their readers, most of whom are likely to know at least some of the truth despite repeated posts that defy reality. I think that SB (Juana Atkins) is unlikely to be totally ignorant of what numerous court judgments and media reports have revealed over the years, but SB continues to make claims that are at odds with what Cameron Slater and Whale Oil have done – and some of which she has been a party to.

Posted yesterday:  A Little Bit of Justice

As I write this post I am acutely aware of my bias.

She begins with a frank admission, but it all goes downhill from there.

My view of New Zealand’s justice system is totally skewed by the fact that people with deep pockets were able to drag my better half through the court system for more than 7 long years until he had a debilitating stroke from the stress at only 49 years old and was forced to declare himself bankrupt.

I think it’s fair to say that Slater brought a lot of stress upon himself. he had his stroke last October, when he had embroiled himself in the Jami Lee Ross saga, was dealing with finally having to front up in court in the seven year Blomfield defamation, had just been slammed by another judge in another ongoing defamation case – see More court costs for Slater and co-defendants in defamation entree, abandons appeal in another case – and had just got bad news in his defamation tit for tat versus Colin Craig – see Craig v Slater – the biggest losers.

When SB first fronted up about the stroke at Whale Oil in February she blamed reporters for causing stress:

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.

That doctor claim has been debunked in court. The claim of no predisposing stroke risk factors also looks questionable if not downright nonsense.

“7 long years” has to be referring to the defamation case against Slater, doggedly pursued by Matt Blomfield after Slater had run an attack campaign of over a hundred posts on Whale Oil based on the contents of a hard drive that Slater had obtained that contained a large amount of private, personal and business information – Judge Asher found the hard drive and other documents provided to Slater “appear to have been obtained illegitimately”.

Being right didn’t matter at the end of the day as it came down to who could last the longest.

‘Being right’ is a ludicrous claim. Slater was eventually found to have been wrong about many things, with a court finding in the end that he had no defence to false and defamatory  claims.

And it was Slater who dragged the proceedings out for so long, trying to avoid being held to account with many delays and failed appeals. Some of the delays and the copious amount of inadmissible ‘evidence’ can be put down to legal incompetence. He was helped by Dermot Nottingham, who has a very poor record in numerous legal proceedings. But some appears to have been deliberate tactics to wear down legal opponents and to inflict as much financial hardship as possible.  That eventually backfired, with both Slater and Nottingham now bankrupt over hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal costs.

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 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.

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.

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.”

So the judge found that Slater had no defence for making false and defamatory claims. SB must be aware of this, but still claims that Slater was right and is somehow the victim in this.

Slater appealed, but that appeal has since been dropped. Damages are yet to be awarded, that won’t happen until next year.

Costs on pre-trial proceedings have been awarded against Slater a number of times over the years (that happens when you’re wrong, not right). The last of these were awarded recently  – BLOMFIELD v SLATER COSTS JUDGMENT [2019] NZHC 1203 [29 May 2019]

By memorandum dated 23 November 2018, Mr Blomfield (the plaintiff), seeks an award of costs against Mr Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited (collectively “the defendants”), in relation to several interlocutory matters.

SB (Atkins) was a director of Social Media Consultants Limited (now in liquidation) so must be aware of all of this.

The defendants were planning on relying on a large body of evidence covering many different issues, and I determined that almost all of it was inadmissible.

The plaintiff is entitled to costs and disbursements of $59,000.29 as set out in the annexed schedule.

The Human Rights tribunal also found that Slater and Whale Oil were wrong – Human Rights Tribunal slams Cameron Slater:

This blog can only be described as a calculated attack on Mr Blomfield and an extended assassination of his character.”

Even if Mr Slater was not party to any illegality, it seems likely the information was obtained illegally by Mr Slater’s sources.

[175.1] A declaration is made under s 85(1)(a) of the Privacy Act 1993 that Mr Slater interfered with the privacy of Mr Blomfield by disclosing personal information about Mr Blomfield contrary to IPP 11.

[175.2] An order is made under s 85(1)(b) of the Privacy Act 1993 restraining Mr Slater from continuing or repeating the interferences with Mr Blomfield’s privacy, or from engaging in, or causing or permitting others to engage in, conduct of the same kind as that constituting the interferences, or conduct of any similar kind.

[175.3] An order is made under s 85(1)(d) of the Privacy Act 1993 that Mr Slater erase, destroy, take down and disable any personal information about Mr Matthew John Blomfield as may be held on http://www.whaleoil.co.nz and on http://www.scribd.com. Mr Slater is to likewise erase, destroy, take down or disable any of Mr Blomfield’s personal information published by Mr Slater and which may be found on any other website or database which is within Mr Slater’s direction or control.

[175.4] Damages of $70,000 are awarded against Mr Slater under ss 85(1)(c) and 88(1)(c) of the Privacy Act 1993 for the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings experienced by Mr Blomfield.

The full judgment [2019] NZHRRT 13 is here.


SB continued yesterday:

Oh, how I hate the old “public interest” line. The New Zealand media and Nicky Hager justified what they did to us as being in the public interest. The information they had obtained was stolen and included private and personal communications but even though it revealed zero wrongdoing (no one had broken any law) they decided it was in the “Public interest” to publish what had been written between friends with an expectation of privacy.

‘Zero wrongdoing’ is a joke.

I have always expressed concerns about hacking for political purposes, but there is no evidence that Slater was actually hacked (although it seems likely). There have been suggestions a whistle blower inside the Whale Oil camp may have at least aided the revelations.

There was certainly public interest in revealing that staff (Jason Ede at least) in the Prime Minister’s office colluded with Slater and used Whale Oil as a medium with which to run political attacks – some of the dirtiest of politics (Slater used to brag about how dirty he played).

There was also public interest in revealing that Whale Oil was being paid to run attacks on businesses, academics and people.

Perhaps SB just hates being found out.

She is also being very hypocritical about personal information and privacy, given:

  • Slater and Jason Ede using private information obtained from a Labour Party website by dubious means.
  • Slater’s attempt to hack The Standard (he had to admit he broke the law to get diversion).
  • Slater’s use of Blomfield’s private information.
  • The attempt to overturn the Auckland Mayoral election, and the trashing of Len Brown, using private and personal information.
  • The trashing of Colin Craig’s political career using private information in a breach of confidence.

There must be few people now who are still deceived by claims of innocence at Whale Oil, and there will be little sympathy for their repeated claims to be victims.

They are running the risk of ongoing self inflicted stress. They could deal with this if they front up with some honesty, as well as admissions and acceptance of the harm they have dumped on many people, but there is no sign of that happening.

High Court awards more costs against Slater, SMCL

Legal costs continue to mount for Cameron Slater and the company that ran Whale Oil, Social Media Consultants Limited. Slater has already filed for bankruptcy, and the company is in liquidation.

The latest costs of $59,000 are for pre-trial proceedings and do not include preparing for and conducting the trial held last October, nor damages, neither of which will be determined until next year.

Judgment: BLOMFIELD v SLATER COSTS JUDGMENT [2019] NZHC 1203 [29 May 2019]

[1] By memorandum dated 23 November 2018, Mr Blomfield (the plaintiff), seeks an award of costs against Mr Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited (collectively “the defendants”), in relation to several interlocutory matters.

[4] Following two results judgments on 27 September and 16 October 2018,2 on 26 October 2018, I released a judgment detailing my reasons for ruling in favour of the plaintiff on several interlocutory matters. The interlocutory matters dealt with in those judgments were:

(a) the defendants’ application for security for costs;

(b) the defendants’ application for leave to file a fourth amended statement of defence;

(c) the defendants’ application for leave to file a fifth amended statement of defence;

(d) the defendants’ application for an adjournment of the trial for a day to enable counsel to prepare the fifth amended statement of defence; and

(e) the plaintiff’s application challenging the admissibility of evidence proposed to be adduced by the defendants.

It was Slater’s fourth failed application for security of costs.

Blomfield’s lawyer Felix Geiringer has pointed out that the it was actually Slater’s ninth statement of defence document in the lengthy (over 6 years) lead up to the trial. From the book Whale Oil:

Not withstanding (Judge) Laang’s orders for timetabling – all pleadings by 13 July; all briefs of evidence by 13 August – throughout September Slater embarks on a massive exercise, filing enormous quantities of paperwork, including a new statement of defence, with dozens of amendments and additions, making it substantially different to the document around which Matt and Geiringer have been preparing for trial. It even includes a new defence of public interest; that Slater was doing important civic duty in exposing Matt’s activities.

The material flooding in is overwhelmingly dense, and it’s now two months after the date that wss to have been Slater’s last chance to file his defence.

From the judgment:

[21] The trial was originally due to start on 8 October 2018, and the defendants’ evidence was originally to be filed by 13 August 2018. Two briefs were filed on 21 September 2018, following an unless order made by Wylie J in a Minute issued on 13 September 2018. A notice under r 9.7(6) of the High Court Rules 2016 was also filed by the defendants to the effect that they intended to call 27 witnesses who had not provided briefs of evidence. That notice did not contain the necessary information required by r 9.7(6). The defendants also did not finalise their list of documents to be included in the common bundle until 6 October 2018, two days before the trial was due to commence.

[22] The plaintiff’s counsel says that he urgently assembled a team of five lawyers, who worked extensive hours in an effort to try and preserve the trial fixture. In addition to responding to the defendants’ interlocutory applications, they assembled an electronic casebook ready for a delayed start of the trial scheduled for 23 October
2018. They also prepared reply evidence, submissions and cross examination materials.

[25] For those reasons, I have decided to allow the plaintiff to recover the full amount of costs it seeks on a mixed 3A/3B/3C basis, except for the amount claimed for wasted preparation for trial.

[26] Having considered the disbursements the plaintiff also seeks, I have decided to allow the full amount of $10,160.29.

Result

[27] The plaintiff is entitled to costs and disbursements of $59,000.29 as set out in the annexed schedule.

That adds to the already substantial debts in Slater’s bankruptcy and Social media Consultant’s liquidation.

The only significant assets disclosed so far are the value of the Whale Oil website (whatever that may be), and several hundred thousand dollars of costs awarded to Slater and Social media Consultants – see Slater awarded costs v Craig, but well short of actual costs (with Slater’s legal bills in that proceeding far in excess of costs awarded).

This will take some time to work through, as the damages award is still pending, as is another defamation case Slater (and others) still face versus Sellman, Swinburn and Bradbrook – latest public judgment: SELLMAN v SLATER NO 7 [2019] NZHC 467 [18 March 2019]

Blomfield may benefit from Craig costs v Slater

Here’s a possible twist to Cameron Slater’s defamation cases – he has been awarded substantial costs in the Craig v Slater defamation case, but as I understand it those will be paid to the administrators of Slater’s bankruptcy and company liquidation. And part of available funds from them could end up being paid to Matt Blomfield, who is likely to be a major creditor for both.

While Blomfield has won substantial costs in various court proceedings, Slater appeared to negate all of that by declaring himself bankrupt in February.

This week the a High Court judge awarded costs to Slater in the defamation and counter defamation trial versus Colin Craig – see Slater awarded costs v Craig, but well short of actual costs.

These costs amount to several hundred thousand dollars. It’s a good bet that Craig will appeal the costs, but there are very limited options with that, costs are at the discretion of the trial judge and are difficult to overturn unless an error of law is made.

So where do these costs go? I believe not, as I had initially presumed, directly to Slater’s lawyers. Slater has been billed (indemnity costs according to the judgment) $564,730. That is substantially more than the costs awarded, but presuming that Slater has paid not paid all of his legal bills, that is a debt incurred by his lawyers.

Costs are not paid to the lawyers, they are paid to, in this case, the first defendant Slater, and the second defendant Social Media Consultants Limited (Slater’s company).

But with Slater being bankrupt any costs will go to the Official Assignee, and with Social Media Consultants being in liquidation costs related to the company will be under control of the liquidator.

Slater’s lawyers will have to line up with all other creditors to seek their share of what is available to be paid out. Blomfield is already a creditor as well.

But there could be another substantial debt to be added, incurred before bankruptcy and liquidation, but yet to be quantified.

An award of damages in the Blomfield versus Slater defamation is yet to be made. Despite the case already taking nearly seven years, I understand that the hearing on an award of damages won’t take place until next year, and it could take some time after that for the judge to make a decision.

The judgment on defamation between Craig and Slater was made on 19 October 2018, but the judgment on costs has just been made (6 June 2019).

The award of damages in Blomfield v Slater may not be known until 1-2 years from now. But as they were incurred before the bankruptcy and liquidation, and funds available will be apportioned to Blomfield and any other creditors like Slater’s lawyers. Even if Craig appeals costs that should be decided on by then.

The cost of clearing his name has been expensive. Blomfield’s legal battles with Slater have cost him many hundreds of thousands of dollars. It may turn out that costs awarded to Slater in Craig v Slater may pay some of that back via through costs and damages incurred in Blomfield v Slater & Social Media Consultants.

But this may be even more complicated. Slater is still facing defamation in the action bought against him by Sellman, Swinburn and Bradbrook. If costs (either way) or damages are awarded there it could also affect things.

Note – I’m not a lawyer or debt expert, I’m just trying to get my head around how this all works.

Slater awarded costs v Craig, but well short of actual costs

Cameron Slater has been awarded substantial costs in the defamation case between him and Colin Craig, but the amount awarded is well short of actual costs claimed. As Slater is now bankrupt his lawyers may be the ones to suffer the shortfall. Craig will also be substantially out of pocket.

Slater had been found to have defamed Craig, but as Craig had been found to have then ruined his only reputation no damages were awarded.

Summary

Costs judgment in defamation proceeding Craig v Slater [2018] NZHC 2712. 3B costs allocated to Slater as the successful party. Craig succeeded only in proving that he did not place his press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, under financial pressure to sleep with him and that he did not sexually harass another woman. Craig failed on all other significant pleaded causes of action, including particularly the principal allegation that he had sexually harassed Ms MacGregor. Costs award to Slater reduced by 10 percent to reflect Craig’s limited success.
The Court held that costs should lie where they fall in respect of the counterclaim. Craig protected by response to an attack privilege, but Slater succeeded in proving the statements about his journalistic integrity were not true. Because it is difficult to identify precisely those costs incurred by Slater in respect of the counterclaim, a discount of 10 percent applied to reflect those costs lying where they fall.

Mr Slater’s claim for indemnity costs failed because the Court accepted that Mr Craig did not know he had sexually harassed Ms MacGregor when bringing the proceeding, due largely to his oblivious and self-involved perception of their professional and personal relationship. He therefore did not bring the proceeding vexatiously or frivolously.

Final disposition of costs awards as follows: first, Slater shall not receive costs for any interlocutory steps taken in respect of the counterclaim; costs in respect of pretrial preparation and trial appearances reduced by 10 percent to reflect the aspect of those costs expended in relation to the counterclaim lying where they fall; 90 percent of the remaining sum payable by Mr Craig to reflect the limited success he had on the substantive claim.

The judgment details who succeeded and who failed in the defamation claim and counter claim, and then explained the costs calculations.

Claim for indemnity costs

[56] Mr Slater seeks indemnity costs of $564,730 or, in the alternative, scale costs of $356,400 on a category 3C basis.

Indemnity costs were turned down because Craig didn’t think he was guilty of harassing MacGregor.

[75] It follows that I do not consider Mr Slater is entitled to indemnity costs against Mr Craig. Regardless of what I have said about his relative lack of success in the proceeding overall, I do not think Mr Craig acted vexatiously or improperly in pursuing his claims or resisting the counterclaim. He did not believe that he was guilty of sexually harassing Ms MacGregor. That position may seem wholly unreasonable to many, but it needs to be considered in the light of Ms MacGregor’s failure to protest, as explicable as that may have been.

Category C scale costs are the largest scale costs that can be awarded, although substantially less than indemnity ()actual) costs. But the judge awarded category 2 costs, which are about two thirds of category 3 – because of the lack of detail given in the lawyers’ invoices.

[83] For Mr Slater, Mr Henry has not explained why each, or indeed any, of the steps involved in the proceeding took a comparatively large amount of time. Rather, he asks the Court to undertake a blanket assessment for banding. As has been made clear by the Court of Appeal, that approach is not desirable. Mr Slater has provided the Court with the monthly invoices charged to him by Mr Henry. However, the invoices simply set out the total hours of work completed by Mr Henry (and Ms Foster) in each month. They do not specify how much time was spent on which steps in the proceeding. I am unable, therefore, to assess whether the time allocated to a particular step by band C might be reasonable by reference to the actual time spent by counsel for Mr Slater on that step.

So due to invoicing laxness that cuts the scale costs back by something like a hundred thousand dollars.

There were more deductions.

[85] The saga that is this case needs to be brought to an end. I do not think it is desirable to add more delay by requesting further information from Mr Slater. The principles I have discussed should be applied as well as they can be to the material provided. On that basis, I direct that the award of costs to Mr Slater is to be calculated as follows:

(a) Mr Slater shall not receive costs for any interlocutory step taken in pursuing the counterclaim against Mr Craig.

(b) Because of the difficulty in identifying from the information provided how much of the preparatory work for which costs are sought under item 33 in Schedule 3 related to the counterclaim, I direct that the costs claimed under item 33 shall be discounted by 10 per cent.

(d) Because of the difficulty in identifying with precision how much of the trial time was occupied by the counterclaim, I direct that the costs of both counsel under items 34 and 35 in Schedule 3 shall be discounted by 10 per cent.

(e) A further deduction is to be made to reflect the limited success that Mr Craig enjoyed on the substantive claim. On that account, the amount of costs payable by Mr Craig shall be reduced to 90 per cent of all costs and disbursements.

I don’t know how that all works out but it looks to be much less than half the $564,730 claimed.

There are still substantial costs for Craig to pay  (he could appeal them). But the shortfall from actual costs will be greater. As Slater is bankrupt that may be bills that his lawyers cannot recover (I don’t know how the timing of the award and the bankruptcy affects things).

Everyone seems have lost here, after several years of litigation after a very public online spat.

Decision

PDF document icon SCC_0.pdf — PDF document, 196 KB (201019 bytes)

 

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