Winston’s partner problem

Winston Peters was found by a High Court judge to have contributed to an unclearly filled out form and an incorrect amount of Super being paid to him for seven years.

The judge found it was a mistake and not deliberate deception on Winston’s part (I think that’s a fair assessment on the evidence available), but I think it was quite careless, on three counts.

The incorrectly completed form

The question is: Do you have a partner?

To the left of the question is this text:


Q26 note: A partner is your spouse (husband or wife), your civil union partner, or a person of the same or opposite sex with whom you have a de facto relationship.

We need partner information even if your partner is not being included because it affects your rate of pay.

Whether or not Peters read the clarifying note,  I think that most people would regard a person they were currently living with in a de facto relationship as their partner, and not someone who they had lived with at some time in the past, whether still legally married to them or not.

The judge found:

At the time, Mr Peters was living separate and apart from his former wife (they were not divorced). His answer to the subsidiary question was therefore literally correct. He was living apart/separated from his wife. But he had a partner, Ms Trotman. The form, as completed, was actually incomplete as the primary No/Yes response was not completed. The form should not have been processed as it stood. Mr Peters should have completed the primary question, and Ms S should have asked him to complete the answer to the primary question, rather than leaving it incomplete.

I won’t argue with “literally correct” from a legal point of view, but from a social point of view it seems quite wrong.

I can’t imagine Peters introducing Jan Trotman in a social setting as “this is who I’m shacked up with, but the person I left x years ago and haven’t gotten around to divorcing yet is literally my partner’.

According to this article “Trotman has always been protective of her privacy. When the couple bought their three-level five-bedroom St Marys Bay villa in 2008” – so they had been partners at least two years before the Super application.

Peters made another mistake on the form in two later questions:

33. Do you want to include your partner in your New Zealand Superannuation?

34. Is your partner receiving a current benefit?

The judgement says:

Mr Peters had ticked “No” in response to both questions but then the tick has been crossed out and “Yes” has been ticked.

I accept the evidence of Ms S that Mr Peters must have crossed them out. I do not place any weight on the fact they were not initialled as the other alterations to the form were initialled. Mr Peters’ attempted reliance during cross-examination on the fact he had not initialled the alterations to suggest the form could have been filled in by Ms S, not him, was a clear case of post fact reasoning and contrary to his earlier evidence-in-chief when he said he had completed the questions in issue.

Peters had tried to blame the WINZ staff member for this. It was inconsequential but another mistake.

In summary, an error was made in the completion of the application form. The error arose because Mr Peters did not fully complete question 26 and Ms S did not require Mr Peters to complete the answer to the primary question in question 26. Mr Peters’ apparent failure to read the explanatory note to question 26 which set out the definition of partner contributed to the error. The combination of errors led to Mr Peters receiving NZS at a higher rate than he was otherwise entitled to.

You only get to apply for Super once in your lifetime so I think most people would take care to get things right. Peters got more than one thing wrong. It just seems careless.

Not noticing he was being paid more than he was entitled for seven years 

I think that most people applying to get a significant amount of money regularly for the rest of their lives will work out what they expect to receive. And if they end up getting something different to that amount, they would find out why.

Peters may have not checked it out and may not have cared how much he got, but I think that seems quite unusual.

The current difference (it would have been less but proportional in 2010) per fortnight after tax (what you see credited to your account) is $782.44 (live with someone 18 or older) and $652.04 (a couple when only one of you meets the criteria for NZ Super and you don’t include your partner in your payments). This presumes Peters wasn’t being paid at the higher rate which is currently $847.66 (live alone or with dependent child).

I think most people would notice that sort of difference in amount.

Disregarding or not understanding a letter after four years asking him to confirm his status

On 18 March 2014, the MSD sent a standard letter to Mr Peters which included a request that asked him to check the
following details:

Relationship Status:     You are single.
Your living situation:    You are not living alone.

Mr Peters did not respond to the letter. He has no recollection of it but accepts he would have received it. He says he understood the letter was asking if there was any change in his circumstances.

This sounds contradictory.   I don’t know how Peters can have no no recollection of the letter, but can remember what he understood about the letter (past tense).

If Mr Peters had paid more attention to the letter, he would have realised there was an issue with the MSD’s records regarding his initial application.

The judge appears to assume Peters did see the letter but didn’t pay enough attention to it. If Peters did pay any attention it should have been obvious that “You are single.” was incorrect. There’s no way of knowing what Peters actually did or thought pr paid attention to, and it seems he can’t be relied on to be accurate (it was five years before the trial so most memories would struggle with one letter).

Mistakes were made by a number of people, but multiple mistakes were made by Peters filling the form out in 2010, and again with the letter in 2014 (at least a mistake of ignoring it or not paying attention to it).

Not noticing the incorrect amount for seven years may have just been someone with more money than they need already getting a bit more off the taxpayer and not caring how much it actually was.

I’m sure I would be quite unpopular with someone if I referred to someone I had separated from some years ago as my partner.

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.


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.


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.

Blomfield statement, plus judgments v Slater

Press Statement by Matthew Blomfield

High Court lifts suppression on strike out of Whale Oil defamation defence

Today, the High Court lifted a suppression order on its 26 October 2018 judgment in my case against Cameron Slater. In that judgment, the High Court essentially struck-out all of Slater’s various defences against my claim of defamation.

In 2012, Cameron Slater ran a long series of articles about me on his Whale Oil website. They were vicious. They portrayed me as violent, a criminal, a fraudster, a psychopath, and more. He said anything he could to try to destroy my reputation and to destroy me. There was no truth to any of it.

I believe he did all of this because he was paid to do so. I had had a falling out with a business partner who tried to get revenge by making false allegations against me. I recognised many of the allegations Slater published as being the same ones that my ex-business partner had made. Slater has always denied it, but I have seen correspondence confirming that my ex-business partner was sending him money. It also appears he gave Slater an overseas holiday. I found out that documents Slater was using to try to legitimise his allegations came from files I had left in the care of my exbusiness partner.

For almost seven years, I have been seeking to clear my name and to have Slater held responsible for spreading these vicious lies. For almost seven years, Slater has succeeded in delaying, and delaying, and delaying. He claimed that if given a chance he would show the Court that all the allegations he made were true. The Court gave him chance, after chance, after chance, but he was never able to even say what his case was.

Finally, in October last year, Cameron Slater ran out of chances. He had blown his last chance and the Court refused to let him have yet another one. The Court carefully considered the case that he said he wanted to bring and found that it failed to properly answer my claim in almost every way imaginable. The Court also looked at the documents Slater had and found that they did “not provide cogent support” for the allegations.

It’s magnificent to have this decision. I think this judgment is a major vindication of everything I have been fighting for, for almost seven years. It shows that there simply was no substance to what Slater said about me on his Whale Oil site.

Unfortunately, this is not the end. Slater has appealed this decision. He has used that appeal to still further delay the final judgment. Like he did in the High Court, he is now trying to delay the proceeding before the Court of Appeal.

I am determined to see this case through to its conclusion. I believe, in light of this judgment, it is now clear that there can only be one conclusion; Cameron Slater will be held accountable for his actions.

Nottingham bankruptcy judgment online

Further to Dermot Nottingham adjudicated bankrupt – for anyone who is interested, the full judgment is now available online:

I’m named a few times but just as one of a number of creditors owed about quarter of a million dollars in court awarded costs, and who opposed a badly flawed proposal to avoid bankruptcy.

Some key sections:

[28] In my judgment, Mr and Mrs Honey and Mr Taka have established that Mr Whitley was wrong to have accepted the claims of the general creditors and allowed them to vote. I propose to allow the appeal and overturn his decision.

Mr Nottingham’s application for approval of his proposal

[29] The effect of overturning Mr Whitley’s decision to accept the claims of all creditors who voted in favour of the proposal entirely undermines the vote in favour of the proposal at the meeting. It means that 100 per cent of those creditors eligible to vote voted against the proposal. In those circumstances, there is no question of approving the proposal.

[30] I propose to decline Mr Nottingham’s application.


[41] There is nothing in any of the arguments which Mr Nottingham advanced in opposition to the application of Mr and Mrs Honey and Mr Taka which persuades me that I should exercise my discretion by declining to make an order adjudicating him bankrupt.

[42] On the contrary, as Mr Grove submitted, there is, in this case, a significant public interest in making such an order.

[43] Mr Nottingham has a demonstrated history of commencing private prosecutions against individuals in which he has thus far been entirely unsuccessful.

[44] 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.

[45] Furthermore, as Mr Grove also submits, whilst there may be some room for doubt as to whether all of those persons who claim to be creditors of Mr Nottingham and who filed the claims in the context of his proposal that I have overturned are all bone fide creditors, if they are, it would seem that Mr Nottingham’s creditors have paid to him something in the order of $2 million (in cash or value) over recent years and yet he claims to be penniless. In my view, there is a public interest in Mr Nottingham being bankrupted so that the Official Assignee can investigate his affairs to establish whether all of these claims are legitimate and if so what has happened to the $2 million which Mr Nottingham has received but claims no longer to have available to him


Williams appealing defamation decision

Jordan Williams has announced he is going to appeal the judgment to set aside the jury decision in the defamation case Williams v Craig, saying he doesn’t want witnesses to have to go through a new trial and an appeal is “the best way forward”. His other option was to walk away with nothing but a huge legal bill.

In general for the public I think this is a good path to take, as the Court of Appeal will help clarify issues of defamation and of appropriate awards.

In September 2016 a jury awarded Williams a total of $1.27 million having found that he was defamed on two counts by Colin Craig.

On count one, the jury ordered $400,000 be paid in compensation caused for the injury to Williams’ reputation and feelings and $90,000 in punitive damages for Craig’s “flagrant disregard” of Jordan’s rights.

On count two, they ruled Craig pay $650,000 in compensation and $130,000 in punitive damages.

At the time Nick R (a lawyer) commented at Kiwiblog:

Court of Appeal can reduce any award of damages it considers to be manifestly excessive. It has done so before for jury awards in defamation cases. The CA has previously indicated that damages in defamation cases in NZ should be modest in the absence of evidence of actual pecuniary loss. That’s why I expect them to reduce this award, potentially by quite a lot.

Immediately following the verdicts Craig’s counsel requested that Judge Katz defer entering judgment as they intended applying to have the jury’s verdict set aside, so the judge deferred entering judgment.

Craig’s counsel subsequently applied to have the verdict set aside, and six months later, on 12 April 2017, Judge Katz delivered a judgment ruling that the damages awards were so high that they constituted a miscarriage of justice.

[109] …I am satisfied that the damages award is well outside the range that could reasonably have been justified in all the circumstances of the case. The consequence is that a miscarriage of justice has occurred. The jury’s verdicts must therefore be set aside and a retrial ordered, unless both parties are willing to consent to my substituting a new damages award in place of the jury’s award.


[112] The parties are to file memoranda by 3.00 pm on Wednesday 26 April 2017 advising whether they consent to the Court substituting its own award of damages for the jury’s award, pursuant to s 33 of the Act. If confirmation is not received by that date that both parties consent to such a course, then I order that the jury’s verdicts be set aside and the proceedings be set down for a re-trial on the first available date that is convenient to senior counsel.

Craig immediately indicated he would not consent to the Court substituting it’s own award of damages, and it has now been confirmed that he has advised the court that he wouldn’t consent, and Williams put out a press release saying he didn’t want another trial, but would instead appeal Judge Katz’s judgment.

Statement from Jordan Williams

Lawyers for Jordan Williams are appealing the judgment setting aside last year’s jury verdict in the Williams v Craig defamation proceedings.

Mr Williams says, “Colin Craig argued that the jury’s damages award was too high. The judge agreed but the High Court is only able to reset the damages if both parties agree.”

“Last week Colin Craig’s lawyers told Justice Katz that Colin Craig was not willing to have her determine the damages; they want a full retrial.”

“I don’t want Rachel MacGregor or my mother or any other of my witnesses to have to go through it all again. The jury made clear findings. At every stage Mr Craig has wanted to stretch things out. We have no assurance he would not appeal after a new trial. So an appeal now could get to the key issues directly. It is the best way forward.”

It probably is the best way forward for Williams, but it has risks.

A new trial would presumably mean that there was no way that Williams could recover any costs from the first trial, and a new award would likely be significantly lower given Judge Katz’s judgment. Williams’ counsel would have had to seriously consider claiming significantly lower damages to avoid a repeat of the first trial.

NZ Herald have reported a response from Craig in: Jordan Williams appeals to try to avoid retrial in Colin Craig defamation case

Craig said Williams had every right to appeal, but he believed a retrial was the right way forward.

He said Justice Katz’s decision said a miscarriage of justice had occurred so he was not willing to accept the jury’s decision he had defamed Williams.

But Judge Katz said that the miscarriage of justice was due to the damages award being “well outside the range that could reasonably have been justified in all the circumstances of the case”, the Judge did not reject the jury’s decision that Craig had defamed Williams.

[110] In relation to Mr Craig’s second ground of challenge to the jury’s verdicts, I reject the submission that there was no evidence, or insufficient evidence, to support the jury’s finding that he had lost his qualified privilege…As a result, there is no basis for entering judgment in favour of Mr Craig (as opposed to ordering a retrial).

So on to an appeal. The Court of Appeal is limited on what it can rule on, I think just on points of law in the judgment. So presumably Williams will ask for the setting aside to be overruled. I don’t know if the amount of damages can be changed on appeal, or if it’s an all or nothing situation.

Judge Katz took months before delivering her Judgment, and is likely to have anticipated a likely appeal, so is likely to have taken a lot of care in her Judgment. That doesn’t rule out having made a mistake in law, but it may narrow the grounds for appeal.

In the meantime there is one other matter from her judgment that I don’t know if it is still relevant or not, costs.

[113] This outcome is likely to raise some difficult costs issues. Leave is accordingly reserved to file costs memoranda in relation to both the trial and the present application, if costs cannot be agreed. Any memorandum on behalf of Mr Williams is to be filed by 5 May 2017. Any memorandum on behalf of Mr Craig is to be filed by 19 May 2017. Counsel are to indicate in their memoranda whether a hearing is sought in respect of costs.

I have no idea what can or may happen with this, given the verdict has been set aside. Perhaps we will find out next month. Or perhaps it will have to wait for the outcome of the appeal.

The Judge Katz decision:

Rizalman disputed facts judgment

The judgment of Judge Collins on the the Rizalman disputed facts hearing is out.

Summary of judgment

[1] This judgment explains my findings in relation to facts which were disputed when Mr Rizalman pleaded guilty on 30 November 2015 to a charge that he indecently assaulted Ms Billingsley1 in her home on 9 May 2014.2

[2] I have concluded:

(1) Mr Rizalman had a sexual motive when he followed Ms Billingsley to her home on the evening of 9 May

(2) Mr Rizalman was in an abnormal state of mind when he indecently assaulted Ms Billingsley.

(3) Mr Rizalman’s abnormal state of mind may have diminished his level of understanding when he offended. However, Mr Rizalman’s possible “diminished understanding” is not a mitigating factor because at the time of his offending Mr Rizalman was, in all likelihood, affected by drugs which he had voluntarily consumed.

[3] The Crown accepts Mr Rizalman did not intend to sexually violate Ms Billingsley or force himself upon her in a sexual sense.

[4] Although Mr Rizalman may have had diminished understanding at the time of his offending he did not suffer from a disease of the mind within the meaning of s 23 of the Crimes Act 1961. Nor is there any suggestion Mr Rizalman suffers mental impairment within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired) Persons Act 2003.


[100] Mr Rizalman had a sexual motive when he followed Ms Billingsley to her home on the evening of 9 May 2014 and when he entered her bedroom naked from his waist down. Mr Rizalman may have had “diminished understanding” at the time he indecently assaulted Ms Billingsley. However, Mr Rizalman’s possible “diminished understanding” is not a mitigating factor because at the time of his offending Mr Rizalman was, in all likelihood, affected by synthetic cannabis.

[101] If Mr Rizalman wishes to continue to advance his application under s 106 of the Sentencing Act then I will hear his application on 4 February 2016. In the meantime, I call for a pre-sentence report, including a report concerning Mr Rizalman’s eligibility for home detention.

[102] It may be that I ultimately conclude that the appropriate sentence is one of home detention and that it should be served under careful supervision in the Malaysian High Commission. Before I could reach that conclusion I would need to be satisfied that the Malaysian Government would co-operate with such a sentence. For this reason, I have asked the Registrar to forward a copy of this decision to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade so that it can initiate inquiries with the Malaysian High Commission to see if it would be willing to co-operate with a sentence of home detention, if that is the sentence that I ultimately decide to impose

Details of the judgment show that a number of the claims and stories aboiut what happened were not true.