Four women claim harassment by Jami-Lee Ross

On Tuesday Jami-Lee Ross claimed that Simon Bridges had confronted him with claims that four woman had made allegations against him. Ross suggested he was in a similar situation to Brett Kavanaugh.

Paula Bennett was criticised for saying that Ross had acted “inappropriately for a married man” – Paula Bennett stands by claim Ross acted inappropriately for a married man, during tense interview with Jack Tame

National Deputy leader Paula Bennett stands by saying Jami-Lee Ross acted inappropriately for a married man but denies accusing him of sexual harassment.

Yesterday, as part of the extraordinary hour long stand-up in which he levelled a number of allegations at Simon Bridges and the National party, Mr Ross accused Ms Bennett of trying to scare him off with anonymous sexual harassment allegations.

Ms Bennett defended herself today, saying Mr Ross has mischaracterised a meeting they had.

“Well he came out yesterday and he said we’d made claims to him of sexual harassment and he likened himself to (US Supreme Court Justice) Brett Kavanaugh, which I found extraordinary in itself,” Ms Bennett said.

Ms Bennett said she stood by telling media Mr Ross had acted inappropriately for a married MP.

At his media conference yesterday after making a complaint to the police about his allegations of corruption (against Bridges) Ross said:

“Well I’m the one here in front of a police station who’s just spoken to three senior sergeants about my concerns around the Electoral Act being broken, so

“I’ve said that I’m comfortable with all of my conduct, I’m comfortable that I am somebody who is standing up and doing the right thing.

“I know that there’s smears about me at the moment: what I think has always been something in New Zealand politics that we leave personal lives and family out of this.

“I’m comfortable with what I have with my wife – if the way in which we’re about to play politics, when a political party and the leader is under pressure, if they want to start lifting the bedsheets on everyone that works in that building, you guys and MPs, then I think there’ll be a lot of people concerned – even those that are throwing allegations now.”

But four women have indeed made claims, according to Newsroom – Jami-Lee Ross: Four women speak out

Over the past year, Newsroom investigations editor Melanie Reid has been looking into the background and behaviour of former National MP Jami-Lee Ross. She has talked to a number of people who have given detailed accounts, recordings and documents of their close working and personal relationships with the controversial politician.

So this is not just a reaction to this week’s events.

Some felt manipulated and intimidated by the way he goes about his politics and his social interactions. Others felt pressured not to speak out.

Today Newsroom presents, on the condition of anonymity, the stories of four women and the relationships which they now believe saw them variously groomed, used for access to information and power, and abused.

Each saw the MP speak out on Tuesday denying his leaders’ allegations of “harassment”, saying he was raised to respect all women.

Yesterday Ross, who is married with children, told journalists he was happy with how he had conducted his personal life and warned against anyone in politics trying to “lift the bedsheets”.

However, each of the women interviewed below wanted to speak out, now, to set the record straight.

Profile of a narcissist

A woman who moved in the same political circles as Ross says he targeted her for a relationship which evolved into controlling behaviour, “incoherent rages” and “brutal sex”.

The woman, who described herself as the ‘primary supply’ for Ross’s narcissistic tendencies, says she was manipulated during a time of personal vulnerability.

A close friendship developed into an affair after consistent and repeated pressure. She described it as “her biggest mistake”.

“It was very clear to me his political motivation was a lust for power and control.”

She saw her opportunity to get out after noticing him seeking ‘supplies’ in other women.

Playing the long game

Another woman says she “absolutely regrets” having an affair with Ross and now believes he manipulated her for information about key National Party figures.

What started as a work friendship at Parliament became sexual after Ross initiated back-and-forth messaging – often late into the night.

The woman told Newsroom that while the encounters were consensual, she felt Ross had “100 percent groomed her” in order to seek information about National Party members she had access to.

During this time Ross had suggested she sleep with other men in the workplace – including MPs who were married – and made many other inappropriate comments.

“He said things like ‘You’re going to go out tonight and pull’.”

The woman said her reaction to Ross’ claim he respected “all women” was to “laugh out loud”.

Threats and harassment

A National Party member who says she was on the receiving end of Ross’ abuse, says she was “completely floored” by his claim he had never harassed a woman.

“I watched as Jami-Lee Ross looked reporters in the eye and told the nation that he, ‘to the best of his knowledge, had never harassed a woman’.

“He was calm. He was collected. He was every bit the master of deception.”

He went on to say that “he was raised by his grandmother to respect women”.

“Well, during the past two years, I can assure the public that my dealings with Jami-Lee Ross have never left me more harassed and disrespected as a woman in my whole life.”

“This man is a narcissist. He absolutely turns on people when he doesn’t get his own way. He is a master manipulator and a deceitful liar who has no problem looking somebody in the eye and outright lying.”

A pattern of behaviour

A woman who worked in close quarters with Ross says he “nearly destroyed” her.

“Not only was he rude and arrogant, he falsely accused me of things I didn’t do. He really didn’t treat me fairly.”

The woman had a history of many years in Parliament, and says she has never experienced anything like it “before or since”.

Ross continually undermined her and her work.

“He was setting me up and I knew I hadn’t done the things he said I had.”

The stress and anxiety became so bad she had to seek medical help.

“I didn’t even feel like I could enter the building afterwards … he destroyed me as a person.

“It makes me shake, just thinking of him.”

Ross didn’t respond to Newsroom requests for a response.

 

Nottingham has not been acting alone

Dermot Nottingham has not acted alone in his actions taken against many people, including harassment and defamation via laudafinem.com and in a number of legal proceedings, some of which have been described as abuses of process, vexatious and more by various judges.

In April Nottingham was found guilty at a jury trial of five charges of criminal harassment and two charges of breach of non-publication orders (suppression). He was sentenced in July to the maximum one year of home detention and ordered not to use the Internet. The Crown had sought a prison sentence and may appeal (Nottingham already indicated he would appeal).

See Blogger dodges prison over court suppression breaches, harassment campaigns and “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

Last week Nottingham was adjudicated bankrupt, largely due to unpaid court costs of about a quarter of a million dollars as a result of five failed private prosecutions.

See Dermot Nottingham adjudicated bankrupt

Nottingham has given post traumatic stress disorder and mental health as reasons for some of his behaviour, but that doesn’t explain everything. And he has not acted alone.

While stating he had debts of about $2 million Nottingham tried to avoid bankruptcy by putting a proposal to creditors. A majority of alleged creditors with claimed debts of over $1.5 million voted in favour of the proposal, but as none of them provided proof of their claims these were rejected by the judge, who said:

“In my view, there is a public interest in Mr Nottingham being bankrupted so that the Official Assignee can investigate and establish whether all of these claims are legitimate…”.

Those claims were mostly if not entirely made by family and associates of Nottingham, including:

  • Phillip Nottingham$480,728 – cash advances, unpaid rent, guarantees, work completed – not paid, goods and services supplied
  • Phillip Nottingham with power of attorney for his mother for $450,000  – advances, guarantees
  • Earle McKinney for $248,650 – cash advances, guarantees, unpaid services (two others giving the same address also made claims)
  • Marc Spring for $28,765 – cash advances, multiple motor vehicle expenses, Breiting mens (sic) watch
  • Cam Slater $10,450

I have no information of what Slater’s claim was for, but for the others the above descriptions are all that was given. There was no substantiating evidence for about 18 creditors. Some claims, and part of some claims, may be legitimate, but that will be checked out by the OA.

Nottingham’s sentencing notes allude to others being involved:

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

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

In the private prosecution of myself and Allied Press (charges withdrawn after eleven months) and similarly with the private prosecutions of APN Ltd and Lynn Prentice (charges dismissed at trial) there were a number of people involved with assisting Nottingham, including:

Earle McKinney arranged service of court documents, shared the same email address as Nottingham linked to McKinney’s business Advantage Advocacy Ltd (registered address was Nottingham’s residential address, now in liquidation) of which Nottingham was an employee, threatened further charges via that email, signed court documents on Nottingham’s behalf, has appeared with Nottingham at court hearings.

McKinney has been virtually joined at the hip with Nottingham in the private prosecutions, including acting as a ‘McKenzie friend’.

[24] Importantly, for present purposes, the affidavit was in any event inadmissible. As I noted in my judgment, it was replete with irrelevant material, opinion evidence and pontification by a Mr McKinney, who appeared as Mr Nottingham’s McKenzie friend, as to what he – Mr McKinney – thought the law is, or perhaps more precisely,
should be. The affidavit contained a number of pejorative comments about Judge Collins and how he ran the trial.

NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 1004 [9 May 2018]

Cameron Slater was named as an informant with all four prosecutions. He was named as an ‘expert witness’ but never provided a witness statement in my and Allied Press prosecutions. He was a witness in the APN/Prentice trial:

Mr Cullen submits that the prosecutor’s failings can be summarised in this way:

  • calling a witness who had not been brief (sic), Mr Slater. The detail and nature of this evidence had not been provided to the defence prior to the presentation of the witness to the Court;

NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]

Phillip Nottingham submitted a lengthy affidavit in support of his brother Dermot for the costs hearings in 2016.  I spent half a day reading the only copy at court when I discovered it was there (this was never served despite follow up court orders to do so).

Marc Spring served charging documents. He openly tagged teamed with @laudafinem on Twitter, starting just prior to charges being served, in what amounted to months of harassment via Twitter. I believe he was also a contributor to laudafinem.com via posts and comments. Under numerous pseudonyms he breached court orders and tried to severely disrupt the operation of Your NZ.

In December Spring served a court order on me that attempted to force me to edit him out of Your NZ (where he was named, not where he used pseudonyms, and attempted to force full time moderation with no comments automatically posting. This turned out to be a legal farce, as it used the Harmful Digital Communications Act but didn’t follow correct procedures, and it was a year before the Act came into force, so was discharged when the judge was informed of this – see Court order discharged.

This was discussed on Kiwiblog, with Slater becoming involved indicating he was also linked. He said:

“Your fascination with me and your allowing of despicable and defamatory comments about me and my friends is coming to an end”.

(Emphasis added)

It was covered again later at Kiwiblog in  Judge got it wrong on HDCA – there are some interesting comments.

“If that was done in the knowledge that the grounds did not exist, it seems a clear attempt to pervert the course of justice. If not, it says something about the legal skills of the applicant.”

“Seems the lawyer who sought the order needs to be hauled up before a disciplinary committee. The lawyer is as much to blame as the judge for the foul-up, indeed significantly more so.”

“Negligent is a more than charitable description. It is at best appalling incompetence and at worst an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Assuming, of course, that a lawyer was involved. If not, then the judge really dropped the ball.”

Associated with this a press release was published showing Dermot Nottingham as the document author, which threatened prison. Following the failure of the court order Nottingham tried to get this action included in his prosecution and demanded I be imprisoned by Christmas (2015) but that was rejected by the judge.

In May 2016 Slater put out a press release over the Rachinger/Standard hack – this was posted a day before suppression lapsed on laudafinem.com – either he or someone with access to his press release in advance must have passed it on to ‘Lauda Finem’. Slater may have breached his own suppression. See Slater on the Standard hack.

In my case (also Allied Press, APN and Prentice) Nottingham may have also breached his own suppression over a period of months, if he had anything to do with the posts attacking me and revealing details of his private prosecution. Someone with knowledge of his prosecutions was writing posts for Lauda Finem.

Dermot Nottingham, Phillip Nottingham and McKinney have been engaged in a protracted dispute involving three people and the Real Estate Authority that started in think in 2011 and is still unresolved. A summary (to early 2017) here: NOTTINGHAM, NOTTINGHAM AND MCKINNEY v THE REAL ESTATE AGENTS AUTHORITY [2017] NZCA 1 [27 February 2017]

Another protracted proceeding, going for over six years and scheduled for trial, is the defamation case Blomfield v Slater. Nottingham and Spring have also been associated with that.

[1] The appellant, Mr Slater, operates a blog on the internet which he calls Whale Oil. The respondent, Mr Blomfield, has sued him in the Manukau District Court claiming he has been defamed by material published on the website.

[14] However, the Judge considered there was no evidence that Mr Blomfield had endeavoured to bully and intimidate Mr Spring, or others who had already been disclosed as sources of information given to Mr Slater. The email exchange between Mr Blomfield and Mr Spring indicated that Mr Spring appeared “to be sending Mr Blomfield aggressive and abusive texts”, with Mr Blomfield taking a “relatively defensive position”.

[33] In his submissions, the main emphasis Mr Slater gave this second affidavit related to the fact that Mr Blomfield had telephoned Mr Mattu on Monday 5 October 2015. Mr Mattu recognised the caller’s number as that of Mr Blomfield and decided not to take the call. Instead, he telephoned Mr Slater to seek his advice. Mr Slater was unavailable, but an associate, Mr Nottingham, advised him to take the next call from Mr Blomfield and to record it. It was then arranged that instead Mr Mattu would telephone Mr Blomfield while Mr Nottingham remained on the line and both would record what was said. That then ensued, the discussion lasting for some 26 minutes. A little over an hour later, Mr Mattu again telephoned Mr Blomfield while Mr Nottingham was on the line.

SLATER V BLOMFIELD [2015] NZCA 562 [19 November 2015]

Counsel: C J Slater, in person, Defendant
(D Nottingham as McKenzie Friend for Mr Slater)

BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2017] NZHC 1654 [18 July 2017]

Court notes show that a hard drive belonging to Blomfield, containing business and personal data, was supplied to Slater, and he used contents of that to put up posts on Whale Oil attacking Blomfield. When Blomfield took Slater to court alleging defamation, Slater made an agreement with the court not to post further attacks on Blomfield.

The hard drive ended up in the hands of ‘Lauda Finem’, who then posted many attacks on Blomfield. Eventually (late 2016) according to Lauda Finem, Blomfield shut down their website with a court order.

Marc Spring also started posting attacks on Blomfield at Your NZ using a variety of pseudonyms (for example he would post an attack, then under another name support that comment to try to legitimise it). I was informed that this may be in breach of a restraining order:

Mr Blomfield’s application for a restraining order against Mr Spring was successful in the Auckland District Court. In delivering judgment, Judge Dawson noted that the relationship between the two was “toxic”. The Judge proceeded to find that text messages sent to Mr Blomfield by Mr Spring constituted harassment under the Harassment Act 1997. A restraining order was accordingly made against Mr Spring and remains in force until 9 April 2016.

So I prevented Spring from posting further comments on Blomfield. Spring then started accusing me of acting under Blomfield’s instruction (I wasn’t).

Over a year later Nottingham made written submissions (during a costs hearing that he didn’t attend) accusing me of some sort of collusion with Blomfield. The judge rejected this submission as irrelevant.

Leading up to a costs appeal hearing Nottingham emailed me on 27 June 2017 (using the Advantage Advocacy Ltd email account):

I confirm that you still face contempt applications in police v dn.  You will be required to attend at Auckland or by video link if the court allowed.

I have copied in messrs slater and so they can apply to comment on your defamatory statements.

It may be that they consider a fresh application under the hdca 2015

Kind regards

dn

Another email on 28 June 2017 (also to Spring and Slater):

Dear Messrs Spring, and Slater

I am available with others tomorrow to discuss the issues relating to Mr Georges campaign of criminal harassment.

Please find annexed the highly defamatory and contemptuous documentation filed by [the perp] Peter George.

I agree with both of you that a further application under the Harmful Digital Communications Act might be appropriate, but this time for a complete close down, and I further accept that proceedings under section 24 of the Defamation Act 1992, would also be appropriate for you both.

I have invited professionals that can advise you Mr Spring, in particular given Mr Georges inimical contact with your ex employer, who I understand is prepared to give evidence.  They have advised that the entire proceedings would be held in Auckland.

Such an application would need to be made on notice to Mr George.  George will likely represent himself which would be an issue, and I suggest that an application for Amicus to assist Mr George might be necessary.

Mr George has lied in his recent subs to the Court, and this will be proved to the Criminal Standard by your evidence to the High Court at Dunedin.

I look forward to your presence tomorrow.  At your instructions, Mr Slater, I have ordered in catering for 14, and an international video link in relation to one of your supporters.

Kindest regards

Dermot Nottingham

I wonder if the international ‘supporter’ is @laudafinem from the Netherlands (ex Australia, ex New Zealand), another brother. or it could be just more bluster.

Claims in that are laughable and ridiculous, but typical of numerous threats of further litigation and ‘investigations’. My wife has also been threatened, my brother implicated, and my lawyer was threatened with being reported for misconduct if he didn’t get me to plead guilty.

Dermot Nottingham is generally regarded as the main offender, hence his prosecution. As described by the sentencing judge:

“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.”

“The leading mind” implies some sort of higher intelligence, which is debatable, but it could be true given the line up of associates.

But it is clear that there is a line up of associates alongside Nottingham, aiding and abetting and engaging in similar bullying, harassment and defamation. A common practice of Nottingham, Spring and Slater is to accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of doing – to the extent that sometimes their accusations sound almost like confessions, or revealing intent.

With the convictions and bankruptcy things have finally unravelled for Nottingham, and there could be more repercussions for him. Some of his associates may also find themselves under more scrutiny (Slater ‘already’ faces trial next month).

In my opinion this group of people have run despicable campaigns against many people, including possible defamation of judges, and allegations of judges and court officials being corrupt (for example allegations of court transcript tampering, and collusion with police and media as happened in the application to file charges against myself).

They may finally be held to account.

I am publishing this so that others who may have been or may be subject to their attention can know some of what they have done. I knew virtually nothing about them (apart from Slater) before they started their campaign of harassment against me. If I knew what sort of people I was dealing with I would have approached things differently – in particular I would have pushed much harder for the courts to not let them abuse processes and ignore laws, court rules and court directions often with impunity for years.

My stuff is still dragging through the courts over three years after the prosecution charges were filed. others have been battling them and the court system for much longer – six years, eight years.

There are signs that courts are finally getting tougher. Good.

I know of a number of others who say they have been subjected to egregious treatment by these people.

As the judge said on adjudicating bankruptcy:

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

Unquestionably these apparently groundless prosecutions have wreaked havoc with the lives of those wrongly accused of criminal activity. In my view, if Mr Nottingham’s bankruptcy puts an end to this practice on his part, then that is a public good.

I agree that putting an end to ‘this practice’ is in the public good. And I believe that making the public aware of what Nottingham and his associates have done is also in the public good.

 

Dermot Nottingham sentenced for criminal harassment, suppression breaches

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

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

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

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

And it seems that Nottingham remains unrepentant,

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

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

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

See:

Also:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is remarkable the articles still remain online.

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

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

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

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

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

Good. So will mine.

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

Bullshit. He blatantly broke the law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope they carefully consider that.

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

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

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

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

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

Judge shortage and lawyer abuse major issues for judicial system

Two news items that may or may not be related.

NZH: Judge shortage pushing courts to crisis point, New Zealand Bar Association says

The law society and the New Zealand Bar Association are calling on the Government to increase the number of judges available to carry out district court business to address critical resourcing levels.

The organisations are speaking out after a column written by the Chief District Court Judge, Jan-Marie Doogue, in which she said there would be a redeployment in judicial resource from the criminal jurisdiction to the Family Court, to meet the backlog.

NZLS Criminal Law Committee convenor Steve Bonnar QC said the access to justice in the district court was under threat and moving resources from the family court to the criminal courts would only move the problem.

New Zealand Bar Association president Clive Elliott said resourcing had reached a critical point and immediate intervention by the Government was needed.

A serious backlog had arisen in the Family Court where there were about 8000 Care of Children Act cases waiting to be heard, he said.

“The situation in the Family Court is one example. It is clearly serious when the welfare of so many children is likely to be affected by these delays. The reality is that the only way the courts can manage is by pushing further delays on to litigants.”

Prior to the passing of the District Court Act 2016, although there was cap on the number of permanent judges who could be appointed, lawyers as well as retired judges could be appointed as acting judges.

The 2016 Act now restricts appointment of acting judges to those who are former judges of the District Court and are under 75 years old so there is a much smaller pool of people who can be appointed as acting judges.

In real terms, there has been a fall in the total number of judges. In 2017 the total number of all judges was 179. By the end of May 2018, this will have fallen to 167 judges. The new cap in the legislation is 160.

On top of that, the cases judges were dealing with had increased in complexity and seriousness in criminal cases and there had been a considerable rise in the number of without-notice applications and defended applications in the Family Court, Elliott said.

He said the strain on the judiciary had been considerable and the country could not afford to lose experienced judges.

Lawyers become judges, and that isn’t a happy camp either. a report says the profession is facing a ‘cultural crisis’.

Stuff: Widespread harassment, bullying and racism identified within the law profession

The legal profession in New Zealand is facing a “cultural crisis” after a survey uncovered wide-ranging and ongoing sexual harassment, racism and bullying.

Commissioned by the New Zealand Law Society, the survey follows allegations of sexual abuse and harassment aired by some female lawyers earlier this year.

The Law Society said 13,662 lawyers were invited to take part in the confidential survey managed by Colmar Brunton, with 3516 responding.

Out of that total, the survey found widespread harassment throughout the profession, with 33 per cent of female lawyers experiencing crude or offensive behaviour that made them feel offended.

The survey found most victims of harassment were employee lawyers in a law firm. According to the data, the harasser was most likely to be the target’s manager, supervisor, partner or director.

Women were more likely than men to be harassed by someone in a more senior position.

Six per cent of lawyers who had been sexually harassed described the harassment as an actual or attempted rape or assault.

The survey found the reported nature of sexual harassment varied.

While non-physical forms of sexual harassment were most common, two thirds of lawyers who had experienced sexual harassment said it included some form of unwanted physical contact.

Over half of all lawyers surveyed said they had suffered some form of bullying in their career, with 21 per cent of lawyers experiencing bullying in the last six months.

Just over half of those who described being subjected to sexual harassment said it had been a one-off occasion.

Both sexual harassment and bullying behaviours were more common among lawyers working in criminal law, the survey said.

Bullying was more common in family law.

New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck called the findings a “cultural crisis”.

“When nearly one third of female lawyers have been sexually harassed during their working life, when more than half of lawyers have been bullied at some time in their working life, when nearly 30 per cent of lawyers feel major changes are needed to the culture of their workplace, and when 40 per cent of lawyers under 30 believe major changes are needed to their workplace culture, we must call a spade a spade – there is a cultural crisis in the New Zealand legal profession,” she said.

Nearly one in five lawyers – 18 per cent of those surveyed – reported having been sexually harassed in a legal environment at some time in their working life.

The reported levels of abuse in the legal profession are alarming. An abusive environment will deter people from staying in the profession.

I don’t have anything to do with the legal profession, but I have had some experience in the legal/court system. This has been a long drawn out farce for three years and still waiting for a conclusion. While what I have been involved in may be abnormal it isn’t isolated, and has been blighted by lengthy court delays, only some of which can be blamed on a vexatious but incompetent lay litigator.

I have seen in a number of proceedings where judges have been very lenient dealing with repeated non-compliance with basic court rules and legislation, repeated abuses of process, associate harassment, and allowing an incompetent litigator to waste a lot of court time and resources. Judges have allowed themselves to be played by someone with a long record of legal and social media abuse.

Successive judges have ignored ongoing harassment while they have pandered to a malicious prick.

But this is probably only a small symptom in a court system under real pressure, and a legal profession that may well be forced to confront a crisis of abusive culture.

 

 

Human Rights Commission CFO gropes, keeps job

I think there is still a big and unresolved issue about how small but personally invasive actions can result in major repercussions – for both the victims and the offenders.

This groping story is of particular interest because a senior staff member of the Human Rights Commission is allegedly involved.

Stuff: Human Rights Commission finance boss sexually harasses young intern, keeps job

A young American woman cut short her internship at the Human Rights Commission after she was groped by the organisation’s chief financial officer at a work party.

The commission investigated a sexual harassment complaint against Kyle Stutter, which resulted in disciplinary action. However, three months on, he remains employed there as chief financial officer.

From what is reported it’s difficult to judge whether what happened was of job-losing severity or not. Consequences of harassment remains a highly contentious issue.

The intern says she trusted the commission to look after her; instead, she felt the complaints process and the attempts to gag her became all about “protecting the organisation”.

If that’s what happened it is of concern that the Human Rights Commission is gagging the victim to protect their reputation.

The commission is the country’s watchdog for unlawful discrimination and racial or sexual harassment. But the former intern says it seemed ill-equpped to deal with Stutter targeting her, and it didn’t acknowledge the seriousness of the incident.

It is alarming that the Commission responsible for dealing with unlawful discrimination and racial or sexual harassment can’t deal with their own internal cases adequately.

The allegation:

…one Friday night at a farewell party for a colleague, after work hours at a private venue. As the night wore on, her colleagues left and she planned to head home herself. Only she and Stutter remained.

At this point, Stutter began dancing with her, before advancing on her without her consent and groping her breasts and private parts, she said, despite her trying to push his hands away.

“I felt it was so severe that it was completely unacceptable and inappropriate.”

She told Stutter she needed to leave and he walked her out of the venue. She got in an Uber and left.

The aftermath and mediation:

“I sent him an email later that night, just to let him know that it wasn’t OK and he should have asked permission to dance with me, to do anything with me,” she said.

She felt Stutter’s return email was “not an adequate response”. She considered laying a complaint with police, but instead reported the incident to her immediate boss the following Monday. She was confident the commission would address it.

But a mediation demonstrated there was no specific policy to deal with the incident.

That’s surprising. Perhaps the thought that harassment policies were just for other organisations.

The result of the mediation was that Stutter sent her a written apology and had to undertake anti-harassment counselling. He also received a formal warning and had the incident recorded on his personnel file, to be removed after three years if there were no further complaints against him.

“I would have hoped to see there was some distinction drawn at some point, where something like this would be handled differently to someone just making an inappropriate comment.”

She added there should have been increased transparency around the matter. “The fact there is so much emphasis on confidentiality in their policies can make it really isolating.

“It wasn’t until the complaint got to the highest level that I felt it wasn’t so much about me any more, it was about protecting the organisation, and them hitting all the right points that they had to hit legally. Ultimately I felt it came down to making sure they could move on as an organisation.”

The Commission response:

Chief executive Cynthia Brophy said the organisation was reviewing its internal processes for dealing with sexual harassment and “if there is anything we can improve on we are keen to make sure this happens”.

“I have a high degree of trust and confidence in the professionalism of all of our staff and can confirm that there is no current complaint outstanding against anyone in the Human Rights Commission.”

That sounds like sweeping under the Commission carpet. And it isn’t a one off incident:

The complaint against Stutter isn’t the only sexual harassment complaint against the commission’s staff in the past five years.

Figures released to Stuff under the Official Information Act showed the organisation had investigated three sexual harassment complaints against three separate staff members dating back to 2013.

Each of the complaints progressed to an investigation, with Stutter’s the only case that resulted in disciplinary action. Two employees resigned before their investigations were completed.

That suggests (but doesn’t confirm) three legitimate complaints.

It is understood the complaint against Stutter was dealt with exclusively by Brophy and human resources, and none of the organisation’s four commissioners were aware of it until the intern had left.

Chief commissioner David Rutherford said, “the Human Rights Commission takes this matter very seriously”.

“It is an employment matter requiring us to respect all of the rights of our employees. We have confidence in how our chief executive is dealing with this matter.”

It was an employment matter, but it is more than that for the Human Rights Commission. If they can’t deal adequately with internal complaints how can the be trusted to deal with complaints reported to them to deal with, their core function?

Clinton harassment excuses too little, too late, too self serving

Hillary Clinton has now admitted she was wrong not to dismiss an adviser accused of sexual harassment during her 2008 presidential campaign. She had been strongly criticised since a New York Times claim: Hillary Clinton Chose to Shield a Top Adviser Accused of Harassment in 2008

A senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate was kept on the campaign at Mrs. Clinton’s request, according to four people familiar with what took place.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider. But Mrs. Clinton did not. Instead, Mr. Strider was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling, and the young woman was moved to a new job.

It is sadly typical that the person who was harassed was moved away from the problem rather than dealing properly with the problem.

It has been reported that Strider did not do the counseling.

Mr. Strider, who was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser, was a founder of the American Values Network and sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign, was hired five years later to lead an independent group that supported Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, Correct the Record, which was created by a close Clinton ally, David Brock.

He was fired after several months for workplace issues, including allegations that he harassed a young female aide, according to three people close to Correct the Record’s management.

Those familiar with the accounts said that, over the years, a number of advisers urged Mrs. Clinton to sever ties with Mr. Strider, and people familiar with what took place did not want to see Mrs. Clinton blamed for the misconduct of men she was close to.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton provided a statement from Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners, the law firm that had represented the campaign in 2008 and which her advisers said has been involved on sexual harassment issues.

“To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken,” the statement said. “This complaint was no exception.”

Late Friday night, more than a day after The New York Times reached out to her aides for comment, Mrs. Clinton posted on Twitter that she was “dismayed when it occurred.”

Not dismayed enough to take appropriate action. Perhaps more dismayed that it has now been revealed.

She added that she called the woman on Friday “to tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard.”

A strange thing to do given her failure to give the woman’s complaints a suitable response at the time.

Clinton has also been awkwardly connected to Harvey Weinstein.

After several Hollywood actresses told The Times and The New Yorker that Harvey Weinstein, a longtime friend and donor to the Clintons, had harassed or assaulted them, Mrs. Clinton spoke out against his behavior, saying in a statement that she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations.”

Weeks later the actress Lena Dunham, one of Mrs. Clinton’s most visible celebrity supporters in her 2016 presidential bid, told The Times that she warned two Clinton campaign aides against associating with Mr. Weinstein. “I just want you to know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Ms. Dunham said she told the campaign.

Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy has been cited as an inspiration for the #MeToo movement, but she has not played a visible role in it.

Now Clinton has tried to explain her lack of appropriate action, and says that “If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.”

The most important work of my life has been to support and empower women. I’ve tried to do so here at home, around the world, and in the organizations I’ve run. I started in my twenties, and four decades later I’m nowhere near being done. I’m proud that it’s the work I’m most associated with, and it remains what I’m most dedicated to.

So she starts with a promotion of herself.

So I very much understand the question I’m being asked as to why I let an employee on my 2008 campaign keep his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior.

The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.

In 2007, a woman working on my campaign came forward with a complaint about her supervisor behaving inappropriately toward her. She and her complaint were taken seriously. Senior campaign staff and legal counsel spoke to both her and the offender. They determined that he had in fact engaged in inappropriate behavior. My then-campaign manager presented me with her findings. She recommended that he be fired. I asked for steps that could be taken short of termination. In the end, I decided to demote him, docking his pay; separate him from the woman; assign her to work directly for my then-deputy-campaign manager; put in place technical barriers to his emailing her; and require that he seek counseling. He would also be warned that any subsequent harassment of any kind toward anyone would result in immediate termination.

I did this because I didn’t think firing him was the best solution to the problem. He needed to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong. The young woman needed to be able to thrive and feel safe. I thought both could happen without him losing his job. I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous.

The woman lost her job instead – she was moved on – while the offender remained in his position.

I also believe in second chances. I’ve been given second chances and I have given them to others.

Like to her husband for his sexual misconduct. Probably not just second chances.

She put a ‘second chance’ for the offender – and her campaign – ahead of the victim.

I want to continue to believe in them. But sometimes they’re squandered. In this case, while there were no further complaints against him for the duration of the campaign, several years after working for me he was terminated from another job for inappropriate behavior. That reoccurrence troubles me greatly, and it alone makes clear that the lesson I hoped he had learned while working for me went unheeded.

The reoccurrence should trouble Clinton – it is a far too typical case of the offender being smacked on the hand and effectively left to reoffend.

When The New York Times reported on this incident last week, my first thought was for the young woman involved. So I reached out to her – most importantly, to see how she was doing, but also to help me reflect on my decision and its consequences. It’s never easy when something painful or personal like this surfaces, much less when it appears all over the news. I called her not knowing what I’d hear. Whatever she had to say, I wanted her to be able to say it, and say it to me.

She expressed appreciation that she worked on a campaign where she knew she could come forward without fear. She was glad that her accusations were taken seriously, that there was a clear process in place for dealing with harassment, and that it was followed. Most importantly, she told me that for the remainder of the campaign, she flourished in her new role.

This in Clinton’s words, not the victims. Clinton is trying to make excuses for not dealing with an insidious problem.

It was reassuring to hear that she felt supported back then – and that all these years later, those feelings haven’t changed. That again left me glad that my campaign had in place a comprehensive process for dealing with complaints.

It wasn’t comprehensive, it was a crappy failure.

At the time, I believed the punishment I imposed was severe and fit the offense.

A decade from now, that decision may not look as tough as it feels today. The norms around sexual harassment will likely have continued to change as swiftly and significantly in the years to come as they have over the years until now.

Sounds very confused.

Over the past year, a seismic shift has occurred in the way we approach and respond to sexual harassment, both as a society and as individuals. This shift was long overdue. It occurred thanks to women across industries who stood up and spoke out, from Hollywood to sports to farm workers – to the very woman who worked for me.

And no thanks to people like Clinton who tried to sweep it under a dirty rug, effectively allowing offenders to continue.

Clinton put her political ambitions first, and helped enable ongoing sleaze.

No woman should have to endure harassment or assault – at work, at school, or anywhere. And men are now on notice that they will truly be held accountable for their actions. Especially now, we all need to be thinking about the complexities of sexual harassment, and be willing to challenge ourselves to reassess and question our own views.

In other words, everyone’s now on their second chance, both the offenders and the decision-makers. Let’s do our best to make the most of it.

Clinton has just squanderer her ‘second chance’ to make a strong statement about the wrongs of the past, including her own. She has tried to justify what she did and didn’t do. This is more excuse than apology.

I recognize that the situation on my 2008 campaign was unusual in that a woman complained to a woman who brought the issue to a woman who was the ultimate decision maker. There was no man in the chain of command. The boss was a woman. Does a woman have a responsibility to come down even harder on the perpetrator? I don’t know. But I do believe that a woman boss has an extra responsibility to look out for the women who work for her, and to better understand how issues like these can affect them.

She failed in that responsibility badly. The problem wasn’t her failure to “to come down even harder on the perpetrator”, it was her failure to come down hard enough on him. And she is still failing with this statement to come down hard enough, she is putting more weight onto trying to save her reputation than condemning the offender and her own lack of action.

You may question why it’s taken me time to speak on this at length. The answer is simple: I’ve been grappling with this and thinking about how best to share my thoughts.

I presume she means ‘grappling’ with it since the NY Times revelation. Grappling with her PR advisers by the sound of it, trying to paper over the cracks in her reputation. Grappling with a cynical decision to make her statement under cover of Trump’s state of the nation speech.

At least she has not called the NY Times article fake news, and she has admitted she enabled a recidivist sexual harasser. Sort of.

This is a poor, excuse making, diversionary statement from Clinton. That she has belatedly admitted some things and is slightly better than Trump on this doesn’t do her much credit.

There was nothing heartfelt or spontaneous about this from Clinton, it is carefully constructed arse covering.

The BBC reports: What’s the reaction?

Not good for Mrs Clinton.

Vox, a liberal leaning media outlet, was not impressed by her latest bid to tamp down the controversy. It wrote:

“Her statement falls short as an apology, attempting to deflect attention onto others and failing to address some of the key issues in the case. Hillary Clinton is not directly responsible for Strider’s conduct during her campaign. But she is responsible for how she reacted to it – a reaction that affected a woman’s career and that may have left others vulnerable to harassment. Her statement on that reaction leaves a lot to be desired.”

Houston Chronicle opinion columnist Alyssa Rosenberg wrote:

“It’s been the longest relationship of my life as a voter, and as a writer on culture and politics. But after last week, and the revelation that she failed to take her campaign manager’s advice and fire an aide accused of sexual harassment in 2008, Hillary Clinton and I are done. And to be honest, it’s probably overdue.”

Clinton dealt with the offending poorly in 2008, and now in 2018 she has responded poorly.

She was already done, but she has just whacked another nail or two in her political coffin.

 

Caution advised over Christmas, but a resolution is required

This is wise advice…

…but there is a risk of a chilling effect on harmless socialising.

While holding sexual nuisances, abusers and predators to account is long overdue, there are dangers.

Passing contact, pats on the shoulder, back, bum, could be misconstrued, or they could be an invasion of personal space, or could be sexual harassment.

Hugging has become a widespread practice – has it gone to far? Some people don’t like being hugged by workmates, acquaintances or people they hardly know or have just met.

Personally I’d prefer to limit hugs to people I know well and love.

How common is it for children to be coerced into hugging relatives when they are obviously uncomfortable with it?

It’s not just personal contact in which there can be problems, there is potential risk from online contact, from comments or from inappropriate posts.

Most contact passes as ok, inoffensive, or not worth making a fuss about.

Some contact  is unwelcome, uncomfortable.

A fraction of contact – too much and too often – is over the top, over the line, offensive, predatory and worse. This needs to be checked and dealt with.

But there are risks that accusations can be themselves used as harassment and abuse.

Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental part of our justice system, but it is imperfect, especially when people with power and influence are guilty. Some of them have been long term recidivists.

The issue of personal and sexual abuse and harassment needs to be confronted and dealt with better by our society, but it is a difficult and complex issue.

It’s not just a US problem.

In New Zealand the very serious issue of abuse of children in state remains improperly dealt with.

In Australia the findings of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has just been released. It is damning, especially of the Catholic Church, which hid, aided and abetted abuse for a long time.

A number of people in power in churches, institutions, schools and sports clubs have acted disgracefully.

RNZ: Australia child abuse inquiry: ‘It is a national tragedy’

A five-year inquiry into child sexual abuse in Australia has released its final report, making more than 400 recommendations.

The royal commission heard evidence from thousands of victims. Allegations were made against more than 4000 institutions.

“The survivors are remarkable people with a common concern to do what they can to ensure that other children are not abused,” commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said on Thursday.

Many dirty secrets have been revealed and exposed.

RNZ: Pope responds to Oz sex abuse report

Pope Francis says the findings of Australia’s child sex abuse royal commission “deserve to be studied in depth”, after the Catholic Church was heavily criticised in the final report.

The sanctity of the religious confessional would be tossed aside and celibacy would become voluntary under the final recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which were released on Friday.

“The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia is the result of the accurate efforts made by the Commission in recent years and deserves to be studied in depth,” the Pope said in a statement online.

“The Holy See remains close to the Catholic Church in Australia – lay faithful, religious and clergy – as it listens and accompanies victims and survivors in an effort to bring healing and justice.”

Mild and vague words about a serious problem in the church. And there is resistance to change:

Archbishop Fisher was also quick to downplay any change to tradition.

“I think any proposal to effectively stop the practice of confession in Australia would be a real hurt to all Catholics and Orthodox Christians and I don’t think would help any young person,” he said.

Clinging to tradition and to power seems more important than exorcising a horrible record of abuse.

Priests and the church has seen itself as above the law. They put themselves second only to God, and acted as judge and jury.

And too often as the dirty offenders.

The royal commission report said the Catholic Church had demonstrated “catastrophic failures of leadership”, particularly before the 1990s.

The average age of abuse victims at Catholic institutions was 11 years old.

There’s no reason to doubt that there have been similar problems in New Zealand – in churches, in state care. There have been convictions of people from sports clubs, from cubs and scouts, even an ambulance officer has been convicted of abuse of patients in ambulances.

There are risks of inappropriate behaviour at Christmas parties, at New Year parties, in workplaces and homes and institutions.

There is always a risk of false or disproportionate accusations.

For a long time there have been far greater risks through inaction, through turning blind eyes, sweeping dirty secrets under carpets.

There will be some overreactions, but by far the biggest risk has been inaction, a failure by families, communities, authorities, societies to address these problems.

Smooching under the mistletoe is not really the problem. It’s what happens behind out of sight, behind closed doors where greater dangers lie.

We should still be able to have fun at parties, we should still enjoy one of the biggest social events of the year, Christmas. And New Year.

But a worthy resolution would be to find a way as fairly and effectively as possible to address the many dirty secrets of the past, and to enable healing, as much as is possible, of victims of abuse.

Harmful communications and Your NZ

From today people who believe they have experienced online abuse, harassment and cyberbullying van submit complaints to the appointed agency, Netsafe, to try to stop the attacks.

Your NZ may have to deal with this if complaints are received under the Harmful Digital Communications Act. I will do what I can to ensure comments posted here don’t breach the Act and moderation may be necessary to do this.

Now the Act has taken effect it is important to note:

What are harmful digital communications?

Harmful digital communications take a variety of forms such as private messages or content that others can see. It includes when someone uses the internet, email, apps, social media or mobile phones to:

  • send or publish threatening or offensive material and messages;
  • spread damaging or degrading rumours about you; and
  • publish online invasive or distressing photographs or videos of you.

What are the 10 communication principles?

The 10 principles work as a guide for how people should communicate online. Netsafe and the District Court will look at these when deciding if a digital communication breaches the Act.

The 10 principles say that a digital communication should not:

  1. disclose sensitive personal facts about a person;
  2. be threatening, intimidating, or menacing;
  3. be grossly offensive;
  4. be indecent or obscene;
  5. be used to harass a person;
  6. make a false allegation;
  7. breach confidences;
  8. incite or encourage anyone to send a deliberately harmful message;
  9. incite or encourage a person to commit suicide; and
  10. denigrate a person’s colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

I will moderate comments here that I believe risk breaching those principles. I don’t want that sort of behaviour here anyway, but if I don’t then it puts this site at risk of breaching the Act.

If you believe that anyone has posted comments here that breach any of these principles then contact me. You can do this either through comments or directly:

  • Email: YourNZContact@gmail.com
  • Phone: 027 327 3468

I will deal with it as soon as I can. I’m not always available so it may take a few hours but it will be as soon as possible.

If I decide a comment here breaches the Act I will edit or delete the comment. If I can’t deal with it properly immediately the comment may be deleted in the first instance and then later edited and reinstated.

The aim of Your NZ has always been to allow robust discussion but not to be nasty or abusive. The Act does not change this approach, but it provides different means of dealing with abuse.

Some abuse is obvious, but sometimes it can get tricky. One person’s ‘joke’ can be perceived by others as abusive or offensive.

We don’t have to be prudes but we should be decent humans in the way we interact here. Most of it should be common sense.

It shouldn’t change things much here as I done my best to maintain reasonable standards already, sometimes in very trying circumstances.

If this site was to be subject again to the sort of attacks experienced last year by a couple of malicious visitors using multiple identities then I won’t rule out making complaints to Netsafe myself.

For more details see Harmful Digital Communications or Netsafe’s website.


Your NZ has already experienced an attempt to gag the site and threats were made to imprison me prematurely under the ACT. A vexatious court order didn’t comply with the procedures specified in the Act, was nearly a year before this part of the Act came into effect (today), and relied on evidence planted in anonymous comments here. When this was pointed out to the Court it was immediately thrown out.The vexatious incompetents who attempted this are some of the worst online abusers I have seen, frequently breaching the principles of the Act.

Harmful Digital Communications

The Harmful Digital Communications Act has taken a long time to come into force, but from today anyone who is experiencing online abuse, harassment and cyberbullying can report to the appointed agency, Netsafe, who will “receive, assess and investigate complaints”. What they will do to help targets of abuse and how effective this will be is yet to be seen.

From Netsafe’s website:


Anyone who is experiencing online abuse, harassment and cyberbullying can get help from Netsafe thanks to the Harmful Digital Communications Act (the Act). Netsafe will receive, assess and investigate complaints related to harmful digital communications from 21 November, 2016.

UNDERSTANDING HARMFUL DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS

The Act tackles some of the ways people use technology to hurt others. It aims to prevent and reduce the impact of cyber-bullying, harassment, revenge porn and other forms of abuse and intimidation.

The Act provides quick and affordable ways to get help for people receiving serious or repeated harmful digital communications. A digital communication is harmful if it makes someone seriously emotionally distressed, and if it is a serious breach of one or more of the 10 communication principles in the Act.

What are harmful digital communications?

Harmful digital communications take a variety of forms such as private messages or content that others can see. It includes when someone uses the internet, email, apps, social media or mobile phones to:

  • send or publish threatening or offensive material and messages;
  • spread damaging or degrading rumours about you; and
  • publish online invasive or distressing photographs or videos of you.

What are the 10 communication principles?

The 10 principles work as a guide for how people should communicate online. Netsafe and the District Court will look at these when deciding if a digital communication breaches the Act.

The 10 principles say that a digital communication should not:

  1. disclose sensitive personal facts about a person;
  2. be threatening, intimidating, or menacing;
  3. be grossly offensive;
  4. be indecent or obscene;
  5. be used to harass a person;
  6. make a false allegation;
  7. breach confidences;
  8. incite or encourage anyone to send a deliberately harmful message;
  9. incite or encourage a person to commit suicide; and
  10. denigrate a person’s colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

How to get help?

If you are concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. If you or someone you know needs help with a harmful digital communication, contact Netsafe toll free on 0508 NETSAFE or complete a complaint form at netsafe.org.nz/report.

Netsafe can look into your complaint and tell you if there’s anything else you can do to stop the abuse and stay safe. We may also work with you and the person harassing you to get them to stop.

If Netsafe can’t resolve things, you can apply to the District Court for help – but you have to have tried to resolve things with Netsafe first.

How can the District Court help?

The court deals with cases of serious or repeated harmful digital communications that Netsafe hasn’t been able to resolve.

The court will look into whether the person harassing you has seriously breached, will seriously breach or has repeatedly breached one or more of the 10 communication principles. It will also consider how people responded to the advice Netsafe provided.

The court has the power to order people to stop their harmful digital communications and take action including:

  • Ordering material to be taken down;
  • Ordering someone to publish a correction, an apology or give you a right of reply;
  • Ordering online content hosts (like social media/telecommunication companies or blog owners) to release the identity of the person behind an anonymous communication; and
  • Order name suppression to protect your identity or the identity of anyone else involved in the dispute.

Anyone who ignores the District Court’s orders can be prosecuted and penalised. The penalty is up to six months in prison or a fine up to $5,000. Companies can be fined up to $20,000.

What if the situation is really serious?

The Act also includes a criminal offence to penalise the most serious perpetrators. It is illegal to send messages and post material online that deliberately cause somebody serious emotional distress.

Police will handle these most serious cases. They may prosecute a person or company if:

  • they intended the communication to cause harm;
  • it’s reasonable to expect that a person in your position would be harmed by it; and
  • you were harmed.

The court will consider a variety of factors including how widely the material spread and whether what was said was true or not. The penalties for this offence are a fine of up to $50,000 or up to two years’ jail for an individual, and up to $200,000 for a body corporate.


How this affects  Your NZ and you if you comment here: Harmful communications and Your NZ

 

Accusation of Colin Craig’s harrassment

Whale Oil has presented documentary evidence that is claimed to show why the Conservative party secretary resigned two days before last year’s election, in EXCLUSIVE: THE POEM COLIN CRAIG DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE

This was posted at Whale Oil 15 minutes before the Conservative Party media conference was held announcing that Craig would step aside while the party leadership was reviewed. It didn’t allow any time to re-word the media statement.

WhaleOil Media can reveal that Colin Craig failed to tell the Conservative Party’s Board that he previously faced serious allegations of sexual harassment from a former staff member in a complaint laid with the Human Rights Commission. It is understood that the claim lead to a confidential payout which until recently the Board were unaware of.

A side comment – interesting to see it presented by ‘WhaleOil Media’.

We have been told by members of the Board that they were assured on multiple occasions by Colin Craig that no allegations of a sexual or moral nature were involved and relied on one element of the claim, a series of unpaid invoices or a dispute in relation to the employee’s hourly rate, to hide the more serious allegations.

WhaleOil Media understands that no sexual relationship resulted, but Colin Craig is alleged to have pursued the staffer including sending a large volume of text messages, letters and inappropriate touching.

A source, which was supporting the victim as the events unfolded last year, has provided WhaleOil Media with some of the letters and text messages.

A poem scan:

Newstalk ZB reports Harassment allegations against Craig:

UPDATED 5.41PM: Colin Craig paid out thousands of dollars to a former Conservative Party staffer over claims of sexual harassment, it has been alleged.

A few more things for the Conservative board to consider in their review of leadership.

Obviously someone with Conservative connection has been spilling to Whale Oil, big time, with this coinciding with the coup move against Craig.

UPDATE: Newstalk ZB say they have also seen evidence that backs up Whale Oil claims.

Cameron Slater says he has a lot more information (text, emails, letters) and he has presented this with care given Craig’s litigious nature.

There was no sexual relationship but sexual harassment has been alleged.

Slater says there is a lot more to come.

Barry Soper says “it’s a very sorry saga” and there is no coming back from this for Craig. And for the Conservatives “it’s a terrible situation”.