Others associated with Slater in defamation of Blomfield

Cameron Slater has been found by a judge to have no credible defence to charges of defamation brought against him by Matthew Blomfield, but it not just him alone who has lost after a lengthy (6 year+) court battle. And others have been closely associated with both the attack campaign that was found to be defamatory, and the train wreck of legal proceedings.

See Blomfield v Slater defamation – no credible defence and Blomfield statement, plus judgments v Slater.

To an extent Slater appears to be the fall guy here. He has been used as a ‘useful idiot’ by others – although I think that litigation-wise it looks more like ‘useless idiots’.  But he has also brought much of this upon himself in his quest for attention and revenue as an attack blogger for hire.

Slater is known to have been involved in a number attack campaigns with or on behalf of others.

  • He had associations with failed mayoral candidate John Palino when he (with others) launched a post election attack on successfully re-elected mayor Len Brown in 2013.
  • He was working with Jordan Williams in his attack campaign against Colin Craig, which resulted in Slater also being found guilty of defamation.
  • He was involved with Dermot Nottingham and Marc Spring in the failed attempts to privately prosecute myself, APN, Allied Press and Lynn Prentice, and also in a failed attempt to shut this site down and wage ‘lawfare’ (as he calls it) against me.
  • Nicky Hager’s booked Dirty Politics claimed that Simon Lusk paid Slater to attack political opponents or competiting candidates.
  • Slater worked with staffer Jason Ede from Prime Minister John Key’s office in various attacks.
  • It is alleged he attacked academics on behalf of (and possibly paid by) PR consultant Carrick Graham and either or both of Kahterine Rich and the NZ Food and Grocery Council – see SELLMAN v SLATER [2018] NZHC 3057 [23 November 2018]
  • He had some sort of association with Jami-Lee Ross in his attack on the leadership of Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett and the National Party.

In the Blomfield case Slater was first defendant, but there was a second defendant, Social media Consultants Limited:

[6] In this proceeding the plaintiff, Mr Matthew Blomfield, sues the defendants, Cameron Slater (the first defendant) and Social Media Consultants Limited (the second defendant), alleging that they defamed him in a series of nine articles which the first defendant wrote and the second defendant published on the Whale Oil blog website between 3 May 2012 and 6 June 2012.

The plaintiff’s claim was originally brought only against Mr Slater. Social Media Consultants Ltd
was joined as a second defendant pursuant to an order of Brewer J on 7 December 2017.

Slater is one of two directors of this company along with his wife Juana Atkins (she seems to be largely managing and running Whale Oil since Slater had a stroke in October).

They are also the shareholders, Atkins holding 99% of the shares, Slater 1%, but this has changed over the time of the Blomfield litigation.

  • Harold Paul Honnor was sole shareholder when the company was incorporated on 19 August 2009.
  • Honnor ceased as director on 1 July 2012.
  • Slater signed a consent to become a director on 1 July 2012.

Note that this was just after the publications on Blomfield.

  • By 24 June 2013 Slater was listed as a shareholder (an unavailable document leaves it unclear when he became a shareholder).
  • On 20 July 2015 9900 shares were transferred from Slater to Atkins, with Slater retaining 100.
  • On 20 July 2015 Atkins became a new director.

I don’t know how these directorship and shareholding changes affect financial liability.

Business associates from Hell

From Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater loses defamation case and gets told: ‘Your day will come’

The case against Slater and his company, Social Media Consultants Ltd, focused on nine blog posts on the Whaleoil website over a month in mid-2012.

It saw claims by Blomfield the blog posts were a deliberate attack orchestrated by a former business partner Warren Powell and associates after a falling out in their Hells Pizza business.

Evidence on the court file showed Powell and others met with Slater before the blog posts to plan “Operation Bumslide” – a plan to target Blomfield.

Documents detailing this include:

From the 2015 judgment:

[9] Mr Blomfield sought discovery, and that interrogatories be answered. The former referred to “all email correspondence between” Mr Slater and other persons who were allegedly involved in the supply of material to Mr Slater. Those persons were Mr Powell, Mr Spring, Ms Easterbrook, Mr Price and Mr Neil. The notice to
answer interrogatories included a question about the source of the alleged defamatory material published on Mr Slater’s blog site.

In a statement Blomfield said yesterday:

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

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

I think that Powell has been living overseas for some time.

Another ex Hell associate who has been involved in the attacks on Blomfield and litigation is Marc Spring, also mentioned in the above court documents.

The just released Reasons Judgment: shows that Spring has been involved directly in the court case.

[17] The defendants also served two briefs of evidence, one by the first defendant himself and another by Marc Spring.

[120] Mr Geiringer also challenges the admissibility of those parts of the briefs of evidence of the first defendant and Mr Spring which refer to the opinions of other persons as a basis or support for the defendants’ truth and honest opinion defences. He submits that the opinions of other persons are irrelevant and inadmissible.

[140] By adopting this approach, the defendants have entirely failed to plead any facts and circumstances relied on to support their defences of truth and honest opinion. As a consequence none of the documents annexed to the first defendant’s affidavits filed on 20 June 2018 or any other documents included in the parties’ common bundle and which the defendants intend to adduce in evidence can be related to any particulars, and consequently they are neither relevant nor admissible. Similarly those parts of the first defendant’s and Mr Spring’s witness statements which refer to the documents annexed to the first defendant’s affidavits or to the opinions of other persons regarding the plaintiff are also inadmissible.

Brief of evidence of Marc Spring (filed 26 September 2018).

Some background. As part of the earlier court processes Slater undertook to not conduct any further attacks on Blomfield. After some breaches of this on Whale Oil were brought to the attention of the court they ceased there.

However in 2015 Marc Spring, using a number of pseudonyms, started to make accusations about Blomfield here on Your NZ. In some instances he replied to his own comments under different identities to give the appearance of agreement with what he was claiming.

Blomfield approached me (the first time I had any contact with him) claiming comments were defamatory, and I agreed and deleted some of them. Spring tried to continue but I prevented this.

I believe that as a result of this Spring and Lauda Finem turned on me and began a sustained attack on me over about a year. This included attempts to disrupt this site and render it inoperable. It also included attempts to provoke and entrap me, which led to a court order initiated by Spring but with the help of Dermot Nottingham and support of Slater. When this was shown to be hopeless and vexatious the judge threw it out.

I believe this turning on me also played a part in the attempted private prosecution brought against me (and others) by Dermot Nottingham. Slater was named as informant and as an expert witness (a witness statement was never provided, similar to the Blomfield case I think the intent was to ambush at trial but it never got to trial).

The Blomfield Reasons Judgment shows that Slater and Spring were attempting to use the trial to attack Blomfield’s character:

(vii) New pleading of bad character

[105] Mr Geiringer also refers to the new pleading of bad character introduced in the 5ASOD. He submits that the addition of the 29 particulars of bad character set out in the 5ASOD represents a major change to the scope of the proceeding, as a plaintiff would wish to answer and respond to the bad character and/or bad reputation allegations made against him.

[107] In the case of each of these particulars, Mr Geiringer submits that they are simply allegations and not particulars relevant to the issue of the plaintiff’s character and expressed in a way that gives him proper notice of what is being alleged and relied upon by the defendants. I accept this submission.

Something similar was discussed in some past discussions here. From Defamation trial – Craig versus McGregor

At least the defamation laws are getting a good work out.

All that happens is what’s been said about people gets a much bigger airing in mainstream media

All it does it makes sure the public reads more about it ….. the irony

From –Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on MondayView Post25 comments

Many causes of action have been dropped I see – wonder why?

I would suggest that they were not defamatory as otherwise you’d keep them there for the trial …….. ???

Be interesting – Ex Bankrupt V Blogger

 

From Blomfield versus Slater trial over?

Blomfield’s lawyer Felix Geiringer got the law wrong when referring to the Suminivich case on admissiable evidence – hardly a good look

Geiringer seemed to do quite a thorough and effective job, unlike team Slater.

From Open Forum – Thursday

Well this is what happens when idiots take defamation cases – should be a warning to one or two others who can now “yard stick” themselves to a simple question. ….. “is my reputation better than Colin Craig’s when it comes to having ones reputation damaged?”

From Craig v Slater – the biggest loser

The Craig Judgement shows how this all works – Craig killed his own reputation by his actions

Blomfield and Geiringer worked things quite differently to Craig, and it wasn’t their reputations killed by their own actions – if they had reputations worth anything.

Goes back to my previous comment yesterday – Craig got nothing, so it’s looking like a big problem if your reputation is less than him to start with

From what I’ve seen the defamation game just brings to the attention of the wider public what and why the articles were written about in the first place, when most had long forgotten

All in all a mugs game

Who are the mugs?

All those comments were by ‘Bill Brown’.

Lastly, in the Blomfield judgment there is an unnamed assistant:

[52] Mr Beard for the defendants submits that notwithstanding the lateness of the application, it is in the interests of justice that the defendants be granted leave to file the proposed 4ASOD. He says that the defendants’ 3ASOD was prepared by the defendants during a time when the first defendant was self-represented, and was prepared with the assistance of a McKenzie friend and without professional legal advice.

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

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

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

Mr Slater was unavailable, but an associate, Mr Nottingham…

A lot that is described in the just released Reasons Judgment – repeatedly failing to comply with court timetables, heaps of documents and abysmal arguments – sounds very much like the Nottingham proceedings against myself and others, that left him with hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid costs and bankruptcy.

While the incompetence has been a joint effort it is Slater left facing potentially substantial costs in this case, along with Social media Consultants Limited. And presumably the Whale Oil operation, even though they have tried to distance Slater from it.

There is another significant association – Lauda Finem. Slater, Nottingham and Spring all have links to that site, particularly Nottingham…

“Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem (in other words, the leading mind of that blog) or he is so intimately related to it that it is proper to conclude that he provided information and draft articles to that blog site knowing and intending that they would be published.”

…who has been convicted on seven charges related to that. I believe both Spring and Slater have also supplied material there.

Blomfield has already been addressing that – see BLOMFIELD v THE OWNER AND/OR ADMINISTRATOR OF WWW.LAUDAFINEM.COM [2018] NZHC 2747 [24 October 2018]

But that is really another story left for telling some other time.

Blomfield v Slater judgments:

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1902/CIV20134045218_15022019_JUDG.pdf

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1902/CIV20134045218_26102018_JUDG.pdf

 

Nottingham fails again in Court of Appeal, judicial system faltering

Another failed Dermot Nottingham attempt to get leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal, this time against myself and Allied Press Limited.

This follows over three years of two related private prosecution proceedings. Last week Nottingham was also declined leave to appeal in the Court of Appeal versus Lynn Prentice and APN Limited – see Nottingham fails another attempted appeal.

All four parties were originally charged together in July 2015, but the cases against Allied Press and I were moved to Dunedin as they had been incorrectly filed in Auckland.

Prentice and APN went to trial in June 2016 and all charges were dismissed. They were eventually awarded costs. Nottingham unsuccessfully appealed the dismissal and costs in the High Court, and last week failed to get leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal.

The  week after those dismissals at trial Allied Press and I had a hearing seeking dismissal of charges prior to trial. Nottingham had not submitted opposing this. At the hearing Nottingham sought and obtained the Court’s leave to withdraw the charges.

We subsequently applied for costs and these were eventually awarded. In March this year Nottingham lost a High Court appeal against the costs, and has now failed to get leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal. After a hearing before three judges on 9 October 2018 their judgment has just come out.

[5] The private prosecution initiated by Mr Nottingham charged Allied Press Ltd and Mr George with breaching a suppression order by publishing articles on their respective websites in breach of s 211 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

[8] Mr Nottingham’s principal argument in support of his application for leave to appeal is that convictions of Allied Press Ltd and Mr George were inevitable if he had chosen to continue with the prosecution. He submits that Davidson J’s finding that the prosecution was defendable was “inconsistent with the indisputable facts”.

At the time the charges were withdrawn the case was in a hopeless state. The 1000+ page long 3 month+ late initial disclosure was inadequate, a promised expert witness statement was never produced, and Nottingham repeatedly failed to comply with law, court rules and timetables.

Both APN and I had entered not guilty please, legally we were ‘not guilty’ when the charges were withdrawn by the prosecutor, and we both believe we are not guilty in fact and could have defended the charges. Seven judges have agreed that the charges were defendable, but as the cases had never gone to trial could not rule out the possibility that Nottingham could have eventually proved something. he never has.

[9] Mr Nottingham says that the issues of costs against a prosecutor and what published information will breach a suppression order require clarification…

[10] These questions are all fact specific and relate only to this case.

[11] We are of the view that the questions posed are not issues of general principle or of general importance in the administration of the criminal law by the courts.

[12] Nor are we satisfied that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred or may occur unless the appeal is heard. Discontinuation of proceedings will ordinarily have cost consequences. This was not a case where the prosecution would have clearly succeeded but for circumstances unrelated to the merits. We agree with the Judge that the prosecution was defendable. The issues would have included whether the publications contained any suppressed information and whether the requisite mental element was established for charges that are not of strict liability. Further, as the Judge mentioned, if the issue of “hidden computer search tools” had become relevant, then the legal and evidential issues would have been more complex. There were no clear answers to these issues on the untested evidence.

[13] We accordingly decline the application for leave to appeal.

The evidence had never been tested at trial, so despite Nottingham effectively trying to re-litigate the case at four subsequent hearings over costs we remain ‘not guilty’ (and, I believe, not guilty).

Note: there is suppression (Order prohibiting publication of evidence and submissions contained in
this judgment) related to a different prosecution (and conviction), so those details cannot be published at this stage, and the full judgment won’t be published pending the final outcome of the other case.

Prior to the last High Court appeal Nottingham indicated he intended taking the case to both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, so a further legal step is possible. I think this would be futile, and would use up more of the already overstretched court resources.

Nottingham currently has three cases pending before the Supreme Court following other failed appeals – see Case information 2018

Further attempts at appeal would incur further costs. Nottingham has admitted he has been insolvent for some time, has claimed to have debts of about $2 million (about quarter of a million in various court costs awarded against him), and he was adjudicated bankrupt in September – see HONEY v NOTTINGHAM [2018] NZHC 2382 [11 September 2018].

He seems to have had no intention of paying costs, and no ability to pay costs, yet he continues to force people to incur costs through the courts. In an email in 2015 he said that if various intended litigation took ten years ‘he was up for it”.

Nottingham has incurred all the costs but has not been acting alone.

Robert Earle McKinney has been closely involved with the proceedings against us. He arranged for the initial serving of documents (that was funny, I was photographed being served the documents on a Dunedin street). He shared the same email account as Nottingham, which was associated with his company Advantage Advocacy Limited (now in liquidation – see First Liquidators Report). Nottingham was said to be the sole employee of this company, and the company was registered at his address.

Cameron Slater was named as an informant to the prosecution, and was named as an expert witness (but never provided a witness statement). He appeared as a witness in the Prentice/APN trial. See NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]:

  • calling a witness who had not been brief, 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;

Slater has been named by Nottingham as involved in ongoing attempts at litigation against me. He was also associated with the failed Court Order attempt by Marc Spring.

Marc Spring was also involved in serving court documents for Nottingham, and openly associated himself with @LaudaFinem in a campaign of harassment against me, at one stage suggesting I would be ‘fucked over’ as happens at Whale Oil. He has been involved in a number of ways in trying to trash and take down Your NZ. I believe he was also contributor to content (posts and comments under various pseudonyms) at the now taken down laudafinem.com blog. – see from sentencing notes:

“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.”

There is a lot more on Spring’s involvement in various things but that is for another story. Others have also been involved in various ways.

Due to all of this I have learned a lot about how our judicial system works. I don’t think it has coped well with people who use it to attack and use it to try to cause hardship to others, and who repeatedly abuse processes and fail to comply with laws, rules and conventions that lawyers are bound to adhere to.  They have wasted a large amount of court time and resources.

I think that private prosecutions are an important part of our judicial system, as is the right to represent oneself and act as a lay litigant.

But I think that far less leniency for breaches of laws, rules and timetables would make things more fair for the targets of vexatious litigation.

There are apparently strict requirements for filing court submissions according to defined timetables. In theory this allows for orderly and fair processes.  But Nottingham has been allowed far too much leniency, and due to his frequency of litigation he should not get away with the excuse of lay litigant ignorance. Courts have pointed that out.

Nottingham repeatedly ignored requirements. A few examples (from many) from my proceedings.

“At the commencement of criminal proceedings, or as soon as practicable after that time, and in any event not later than the applicable date, the prosecutor must disclose the following information to the defendant.”

“In this section, applicable date means—

(a) the date that is 15 working days after the commencement of criminal proceedings

That means he should have provided disclosure by mid-August 2015. After he failed disclosure was requested by counsel and instructed by the Court. He still failed to disclose, and at one stage said he was deliberately delaying disclosure. He finally served a 9cm think pile of garbage (that has to be all read in case there is something important, not cheap when you are paying a lawyer to do it) in December 2015, three and a half months late.

When we applied for and submitted on costs Nottingham filed his submission late with the court but failed to serve it on us (the Applicants). When just prior to a scheduled hearing we found out he had submitted but not served the Court directed that he serve, but he failed to do that. I had to spend half a day in Court reading through hundreds of pages just in case there was something in it that was important.

Nottingham failed to appear at the costs hearing, but instead emailed a further submission during the hearing. remarkable the Court gave us copies and the Judge ordered a short adjournment so we could read it (a ridiculous situation to put us in). Then when the hearing resumed another submission arrived in court. At least the judge refused to accept that one.

For the Court of Appeal proceedings Nottingham:

  • filed his application seeking leave to appeal out of time
  • failed to file a submission as directed by a judge to give reasons for applying out of time
  • failed to file his submission as Applicant by the due date
  • after being told he had not filed by the court he set his own timetable
  • he finally filed his submission after both respondents had filed our submissions on time
  • two hours prior to the appeal hearing he filed another submission.

How did the Court deal with all of these transgressions? One of the three appeal judges said he two hour prior to hearing submission was ‘unhelpful’.

I made the point in oral submissions that all of these failures impose severe difficulties on the respondents, and also costs for those who have lawyers having to try and deal with the chaos. But that was not noted in the judgment.

I have been severely inconvenienced and disadvantaged through 3+ years of proceedings due to the actions and failures to comply of Nottingham. Lawyers would not get away with any of this (they wouldn’t attempt to get away with it).

While the various judges and courts have had difficulty dealing with a recidivist abuser of processes I believe hey have in effect aided and abetted these abuses by being so lenient with Nottingham time and time again.

If the courts want to reduce the pressure on time and resources they could help themselves by ensuring that litigants at least mostly comply with requirements.

This has been a huge learning curve for me, being my first experience in litigation and the courts. I found out what I was required to do, and did everything as required, on time. I have been severely disadvantaged by the numerous breaches by Nottingham, unchecked by the courts.

What have I got for this? Some costs awarded, with the likelihood that none of that will be paid. And I have got off cheaply compared to others.

The law is largely not an ass, and court staff and judges generally do good jobs under pressure, but the judicial system could be improved with some simple insistences that basic processes are complied with.

Blomfield versus www.laudafinem.com

According to the Daily List Matthew Blomfield is back in the Auckland High Court today, this time against ‘Lauda Finem’.

Last week Blomfield was in court in a defamation action against Cameron Slater. This trial was set down for ‘up to four weeks’ but seems to have finished as it has now dropped off the daily list (since yesterday). Presumably this is now waiting for a judgment. That could take a while. Slater is waiting for the judgment of cross claims versus Colin Craig 18 months after the trial, but that is a much more complex proceeding that may be waiting on rulings in Jordan Williams v Craig, which was in the Supreme Court recently on a point of appeal,

The notice for CIV2016-044-121:

MATTHEW JOHN BLOOMFIELD v THE OWNER AND / OR ADMINISTRATORS OF WWW.LAUDAFINEM.COM

It is hard to find any information about this. The only hit on ‘Lauda Finem’ on court Decisions Online is MALTESE CAT LIMITED v DOE [2017] NZHC 1634 [14 July 2017] which shows defendants as:

JOHN DOE AND/OR JANE DOE
Defendants

DERMOT NOTTINGHAM
Second Defendant

[2] The claim contends that all three were victimised by defamatory publications on the website, http://www.laudafinem.com (the offending website).

[7] The plaintiffs want these four webpages to be declared defamatory. They have good reason to believe that if the declaration is made by this Court then GoDaddy and DBP will no longer host the pages. At the present time they have been taken down. A declaration is sought under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992. By the terms of that Act they have to seek defamation against a person and hence the proceedings were commenced against John and Jane Doe. The plaintiffs, however, believe the offending material was put together by Mr Dermot Nottingham.

[17] I am also concerned that Mr Nottingham has neither denied he is responsible for the subject defamatory publications on the website, nor expressly pleaded that they are true.

In a second judgment – MALTESE CAT LIMITED v JOHN DOE AND/OR JANE DOE [2017] NZHC 1728 [25 July 2017] – Nottingham defended the action  due to what he claimed was time limitation but the judge ruled that it was not time barred and could proceed. There are no other judgments, but there was a Court of Appeal hearing in August for which there is no published judgment yet.

Nottingham was recently convicted of two breaches of non-publication orders, and five charges of criminal harassment, which I would presume would have some bearing on this latest action. From sentencing notes:

[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.

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

Some information that seems linked directly to the current action was posted on laudafinem.com – that website was shut down by court order as a result. A post in October 2016:

Godaddy, our web hosting provider, has very kindly agreed to oblige a New Zealand court and hand over the domain laudafinem.com and various other material; we hold unlawfully of course; not a good look for a provider that sells itself as a bastion of free speech.

We at Lauda Finem are now apparently at the coal-face of international law and the struggle for press freedom, for despite Cameron Slater, also a blogger, having been declared a journalist, Kiwi High Court Judge, Peter Woodhouse, seems to have opted to ignore that fact and taken the very dangerous step of unlawfully interfering with a legitimate media outlet, an off-shore whistle-blowing anti-corruption website at that.

“The struggle for press freedom” is a laugh. This is more of a struggle to hold to account rogue website operators who try to be clever to get around New Zealand laws.

Moreover, despite Blomfield failing to even comply with his obligation to file his substantive arguments in the Slater case, and no sign that he is even capable of doing so, he has now decided, after more than 4 years, that he’s going to take on another “defamation tort”.

As is common with these numpties, the reverse of what they claim is closer to the truth. “Failing to even comply with his obligation to file his substantive arguments” applies more to Slater’s attempts to delay and avoid going to trial, and that may have backfired on him. Blomfield succeeded in getting it to trial so must have complied.

A follow up post:

Following on from our last post covering the Blomfield saga and his latest attempt to pervert justice LF have now been advised that the New Zealand Court decision enabling Kiwi lawyers to seize the LF site, in addition to the obvious lack of jurisdiction, may also breach EU laws on privacy, data protection, whistle blower, and journalist protections.

Did Judge Peter Woodhouse realize he lacked jurisdiction? Did Blomfield mislead him? Perhaps Woodhouse would care to explain his failures and the likely breaches of EU law?

With this in mind LF is now intending to email every Kiwi elected politician for their information and opinion, we’ll of course be following that up with a complete file copy, delivered by post, evidence that the legal hi-jinks of Mr Blomfield are merely designed to thwart LF’s reporting of the truth.

Remember LF has been following this story for many years, we’ve been posting, providing damning evidence for years, but not a peep from Blomfield until LF published damning evidence…

This appears to be related to the Slater defamation action. LF somehow managed to obtain the huge amount of data that Slater used in his posts attacking and accusing Blomfield. One the defamation action got under way Slater made an undertaking to the court not to post any more about Blomfield, but LF continued to post on it.

Remember readers, this so-called court judgement is a scam, service was not effected in accordance with New Zealand’s own laws. And as aforesaid it also likely breaches EU laws and treaties protecting residents whistle-blowers and journalists privacy.

Two years later it has now gone to trial.

Disclosure of interest: While I am not involved in the case before the court today and don’t have details of what it is actually trying to do, I have an interest in all of this because I was dragged into this whole Blomfield versus Slater and Lauda Finem messy business. They tried to use Your NZ to attack Blomfield in breach of court orders, and when I stopped that they started attacking me.

This involved an ongoing campaign of disruption here, litigation and attempted litigation (involving Nottingham, Slater plus  Marc Spring and Earle McKinney) and numerous threats of more litigation. I was also the target in a number of Lauda Finem posts and comments that made false accusations and threats, were defamatory, and were similar to harassment others have been subjected to.

Others here were also targeted by LF.  So the outcome of whatever is being attempted in court today will be of interest.

 

Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on Monday

Whale Oil potentially be fucked if the defamation trial about to start in the Auckland High Court is successful.

Matthew Blomfield started defamation proceedings against Cameron Slater in 2012 after a series of posts (thirteen) on Whale Oil attacking Blomfield. It finally goes to trial on Monday after Slater ran out of legal options to avoid facing the claims against him.

NO 8 COURT BEFORE THE HON. JUSTICE DAVISON
First Floor 10.00am
CIV2013-404-5218 MATTHEW JOHN BLOMFIELD (F E Geiringer) v CAMERON JOHN SLATER (D Beard) & ANOR
Civil Proceeding – Defamation

The defamation claim

[5] In 2012, Mr Slater ran and administrated the blog website “Whale Oil” under the name http://www.whaleoil.co.nz (Whale Oil). Mr Blomfield had provided marketing services to Hells Pizza until 2008 and had been a director of a company Hell Zenjiro Ltd (in liquidation), which had owned several outlets of the Hells Pizza chain. That company went into liquidation on 9 April 2008 and was struck off the Companies Register on 6 September 2013. Mr Blomfield was adjudicated a bankrupt in 2010 and an order was made prohibiting him from being a director of a company. He has since been discharged from bankruptcy

[6] Hells Pizza had an association with a charity known as “KidsCan”. On 3 May 2012 Mr Slater wrote and published on his Whale Oil website a blog post entitled “Who really ripped off KidsCan?”. It contained a number of statements that Mr Blomfield claims were defamatory of him. On the same day Mr Slater wrote another blog on the Whale Oil website entitled “Knowing me, knowing you – Matt Blomfield”. In that story he made a number of statements about Mr Blomfield. Between 3 May 2012 and 6 June 2012, Mr Slater wrote and published on his website 13 articles that referred to Mr Blomfield.

[7] Mr Blomfield claims that these articles allege that he had conspired to steal charitable funds and was alleged to be a thief, as well as dishonest, dishonourable, a party to fraud, involved in criminal conspiracy, bribery, deceit, perjury, conversion, the laying of false complaints, drug dealing and making pornography. He was also accused of being a psychopath, a criminal, a thief and a “cock smoker”.

[8] The majority of the articles that are the subject of the claim contain extracts of emails to which Mr Blomfield is allegedly a party. They refer to electronic files which Mr Blomfield claims were sourced from his hard-drive and potentially other sources including a filing cabinet of Mr Blomfield.

[9] Mr Slater admitted in his statement of defence that he had in his possession copies of emails, databases and electronic files relating to the affairs of Mr Blomfield. He stated that on or about February 2012 he was provided with a
hard-drive that included approximately one terabyte of computer files previously owned by Mr Blomfield.

[10] Following the publication of the articles on the Whale Oil website, Mr Blomfield filed proceedings in the Manukau District Court in October 2012 in which he claimed that the statements and the articles were defamatory. He sought anorder that the material relating to him be removed from the Whale Oil website as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

SLATER v BLOMFIELD [2014] NZHC 2221 [12 September 2014]

The trial was initially delayed due to arguments about Slater’s status as a journalist, and whether this allowed him to keep secret sources of material he published – he had appeared to be acting on behalf of others. Slaater was found to be acting as a journalist, but in 2014 a judge ruled:

[150] On balance the public interest in disclosure outweighs any adverse effects on the informants and the ability of the media to freely receive information and access sources.

[151] Therefore Mr Blomfield succeeds on overview and there is an order that s 68(1) does not apply, and Mr Slater must answer the interrogatories and comply with discovery in the usual way.

SLATER V BLOMFIELD CA 678/2014 [2015] NZCA 240 [17 June 2015]

Slater applied to adduce new evidence, and tried to appeal, but eventually failed, as did other legal attempts. A judgment from 6 July 2017:

[2] Mr Slater has applied to strike out Mr Blomfield’s proceeding on grounds of delay. Mr Blomfield applies for further discovery, on an “unless” basis. Both applications are opposed. Mr Blomfield contends that the delay in prosecuting his claim to hearing has largely been caused by Mr Slater’s own actions.

[30] Mr Slater referred me to a wealth of information to suggest that Mr Blomfield may not have had any relevant business reputation at the time the articles were published on the Whaleoil site. He submitted that the Court’s resources should not be deployed to deal with such an undeserving claim for defamation.

[31] I do not accept that this proceeding is of such a character as to justify invocation of the Jameel approach. A number of the allegations made against Mr Blomfield go beyond his business activities and/or practices; in particular, the suggestions that he might be a pornographer and/or a psychopath. In my view, while there may be a question about the value of his claims based on business reputation, the same cannot be said about those other aspects of the claim.

[32] In those circumstances, the better course is to ensure the proceeding is readied for trial promptly. Mr Slater’s application to strike out is dismissed.

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

The trial is set to start over a year later.

While Slater is in the firing line, if he loses this Whale Oil will take a hit as well. Slater has been far less prominent on the blog over the last few months so it could probably survive without him, but if a sizeable award goes against Slater, or even just costs (costs are eye-wateringly high in defamation proceedings) it would put the blog at financial risk – Whale Oil could be fucked.

Slater has not been acting alone through all this. He was supplied information – one of the sources has been revealed as Marc Spring, and the court ordered that others be revealed but I don’t think that has shown in court judgments.

In 2015 Spring also tried to use Your NZ to continue attacks on Blomfield against a court agreement with Slater and against a restraining order. I believe that me stopping Spring was at least part of the reason he Slater and Dermot Nottingham turned on me, attacking me here, via lauda Finem and via the courts (the legal harassment is ongoing, I have a hearing v Nottingham in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday).

Spring has obvious associations with Lauda Finem, where attacks against Blomfield continued well into 2016, until Blomfield had the site shut down by court order (I think that something on that is also due to come up in court this month).

Nottingham has also been thick in this. Both he and Spring feature here: SLATER v BLOMFIELD [2014] NZHC 2221 [12 September 2014].

And Nottingham continued to assist Slater:

Hearing: 6 July 2017
Counsel: F Geiringer for Plaintiff
C J Slater, in person, Defendant
(D Nottingham as McKenzie Friend for Mr Slater)

With friends like that…

And this year Nottingham was sentenced for breaching non-publication orders (suppression) and criminal harassment via Lauda Finem – see  “Either Dermot Nottingham is Lauda Finem…or he is so intimately related to it…”

It would appear that Slater has a difficult defence on at least some of the claims.

The ninth publication – 17 May 2012

[51] Mr Slater has not responded to the evidence adduced by Mr Blomfield regarding this issue.

[52] The overall tenor of the publication is clearly defamatory because it accuses Mr Blomfield of stealing assets belonging to the company and then selling them to a third party

.The twelfth publication – 6 June 2012

[61] Mr Slater has not responded to this evidence so for present purposes must be taken to have no answer to it. He would therefore appear to have no arguable defence to the claim relating to this publication. As in the case of the ninth publication, however, I propose to exercise my discretion against the entry of summary judgment and for the same reasons.

BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2018] NZHC 1099 [18 May 2018]

The challenge:

[76] Mr Slater needs to be aware, however, that the defences comprise different elements. For that reason the same particulars may not support both defences. In order to establish the defence of truth, for example, it is necessary for the defendant to set out the facts and circumstances relied upon to prove either that the pleaded imputations are true or substantially true, or that the publication as a whole is substantially true.

[78] The defence of honest opinion requires the defendant to establish that, reading the publication as a whole, such imputations as the fact finder has found to exist were conveyed by the publication as expressions of opinion rather than statements of fact. It is for the Judge in the first instance to determine whether the imputations are capable of being opinion rather than fact. Importantly, the facts in the publication must have existed at the time of the publication and must either have been alleged or referred to in the publication. Alternatively, they must have been generally known at the time. The defendant may not go outside these parameters in establishing the defence of honest opinion. Furthermore, the defendant may not call evidence at trial that is outside the ambit of the permitted particulars. For that reason the particulars “serve to focus and confine the evidence which may be given in support of defences of truth
and honest opinion”.

[79] Mr Slater needs to re-plead his statement of defence and particulars bearing in mind these principles. He also needs to be aware that he will not be permitted to call evidence at trial if it falls outside the pleadings in their final form.

The means that Slater cannot use the trial as a way of continuing the campaign against Blomfield by calling witnesses in order to attack Blomfield when this is outside the defence of ‘honest opinion’ – I think his defence has to be based on his own opinion at the time of publishing the posts on Whale Oil, not the ‘opinions’ of his associates and accomplices.

I have a particular interest in this because I got dragged into this as a means to try to avoid court orders.

But there should be wider interest.

If Blomfield is successful there is a real possibility that Whale Oil be fucked.

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.

 

The Nottingham private prosecutions

It will have been obvious to those following Your NZ in July-August 2015 that there was some legal stuff happening. But I was then gagged through suppression orders so had to be careful what I posted. Until now.

Yesterday morning NZ Herald reported 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.

That case is closely linked to my legal misadventure, so much so that suppression on that was also applied to a private prosecution of myself and others.

I posted on this sentencing, trusting that the Herald would have carefully complied with suppression orders. Yesterday I sought and eventually got confirmation from the Auckland District Court that suppression had lapsed in that case, which meant that it will have also lapsed in my case.

Nottingham has a legal history that goes back a long way, including private prosecutions. That’s a different story.

This story is long and complicated – I will keep it as concise as possible – about my legal dealings with him have been going for three years, and are not over yet, with an application seeking leave to appeal currently before the Court of Appeal, with Nottingham promising to take it to the Supreme Court if he fails (again) with that.

While Nottingham is at the centre of all of this he has not acted alone. In my case others have been closely involved, including long time business associate and employer Robert Earle McKinney, brothers Phillip and I believe Antony (the Netherlands LF connection), Marc Spring and Cameron Slater.

In April 2015 NZ Herald published a report. A revised version of this is still online: Man accused of suppression breach

An Auckland man accused of breaching a high-profile name suppression has been granted name suppression himself.

The man appeared in Auckland District Court today facing two charges of contravening suppression orders. He is also charged with five counts of criminal harassment.

That article was republished by the Otago Daily Times, and as the original headline referred to it being a blogger it also attracted interest posts here on Your NZ and at The Standard.

Slater was an obvious candidate, as he had a history of suppression breaches resulting in convictions on multiple charges, but I could quickly rule him out. I did quite a bit of searching but ended up having no idea who this person was,

As with most stories it quickly faded into history. But it resurfaced in July when out of the blue I was served with court papers that were an application to lay charges against me for breaching suppression by a private prosecutor, Dermot Nottingham. This confirmed that Nottingham was the subject of the April article, the first time I knew it was him. At that stage I had heard of him but knew little about him.

Nottingham says he first went to the police but they declined to act, so he decided to conduct private prosecutions against myself, APN (Herald), Allied press (ODT) and Lynn Prentice.

Earle McKinney arranged for service of the papers. I willingly complied, having no idea what they were about. The application to lay charges claimed a conspiracy between police, court officials and the Herald.

It alleged that I had ‘entered into an online agreement with Lyn Prentice’, which was ridiculous – lprent had just re-banned me from the Standard (for a year) on 1 April 2015 after a previous one month ban in March.

About a week later Marc Spring served two charging documents – alternative charges of suppression breaches. This raised some suspicions, because about the time the first document was served Spring had suddenly started niggling at me, including suggesting I might be fucked over by Whale Oil like someone else had been, on Twitter in tandem with an LF account.

I did some investigating and found that Spring had been commenting on Your NZ since January 2015 using multiple pseudonyms. I had clashed with him when, as I later found out, he started attacking a Matthew Blomfield which was in breach of a Slater court agreement and a restraining order against Spring. That is a whole different (albeit related) story (also still before the courts, with a defamation hearing Blomfield v Slater due later this year).

The charges were odd – I was charged with publishing an article, the name of which matched a post at The Standard. Through the course of the proceedings I pointed out this was ridiculous and completely unfounded but that was ignored by the courts and by Nottingham.

As with much of Nottingham’s legal stuff it is difficult to know what is incompetence and what is deliberate confusion and chaos. I think it is usually a mangled mess of both.

Nottingham rang me soon after the charges were served, and we exchanged emails over a couple of days. He suggested I should plead guilty. Believing I was probably not guilty, I declined to commit, instead saying that I would seek legal advice. Over the next couple of weeks I found a lawyer to advise and represent me. This was my first experience with law and courts so I needed help. I (and my lawyer) had no idea what we were getting into.

A day or two after declining to confess I received an abrupt email from McKinney, saying he had been given instructions to scour the Internet, threatening further prosecutions, and demanded I respond by 4 pm that afternoon. I had no idea who McKinney was at that stage.

As it turned out McKinney was working closely with Nottingham. They always shared the same email address, Nottingham was purportedly an employee of McKinney, with both acting for Advantage Advocacy Ltd – now in liquidation.

McKinney eventually provided a witness statement in the prosecution. He also acted for Nottingham, including signing court submissions on his behalf. He is not a lawyer and I suspect this isn’t legally correct.

After another not very nice email from McKinney that was seemingly dealt with, but McKinney did a lot over the next few months to, I believe, lay further charges and when that failed, Nottingham tried to get a whole bunch of accusations included in his prosecution. The court never allowed this.

In July the LF website had already posted about me being in a ‘dirty dozen’ of journalists and bloggers and made other insinuations. In August more posts started to appear, targeting me, making outlandish claims and accusations, and these continued for about a year.

LF had in the post campaigned on some worthy causes. Occasionally. But I found out that mostly they found fragments of facts, grossly embellished them, jumped to ridiculous conclusions, and generally attacked and defamed many people. Their website was eventually shut down after court action against them. They popped up somewhere else but seem to have been stopped from posting there last year.

Many of the LF campaigns against people were closely aligned with Nottingham’s so-called justice campaigning. LF detailed a number of instances where they and Nottingham worked together.

And in the court case in which Nottingham has just been sentenced, according the the Herald report, he admits “supplying information to an overseas website”. It happens that that ‘overseas website’ contained almost entirely New Zealand related content, often closely related to Nottingham’s legal crusading.

It appears that LF was based overseas simply to try to avoid New Zealand law. That eventually blew up in Nottingham.

The private prosecution progressed slowly, with many delays and disruptions.

The first hearing was in September in Auckland where the charges were filed. My and Allied Press’ charges were transferred to Dunedin where they should have been laid in the first place – in the court closest to the defendants,

What followed was a hopeless legal mess.

When charges are laid within 15 working days the prosecutor is supposed to provide initial disclosure, that is supposed to clearly explain the charges and the case against you. It is normally brief, especially in simple cases as theoretically this one should have been, a few pages. That was due by mid August 2015.

After Nottingham failed to provide this lawyer’s requests were sent, the court directed compliance, and then set dates by which it had to be provided. By late November it still hadn’t been done – and at one stage Nottingham said he was deliberately withholding it pending ‘further investigations’.

Finally in early December documents arrived. A lot of them. A pile 9 cm thick. Largely a pile of nonsense. Much of it was screen shots of web pages and printouts of articles and posts. Most if not all of it would have been inadmissible. It was a monster of a mess, but it all had to be read in case there was something critical to the case in it. That gets expensive when you’re paying a lawyer. I did quite a bit of the reading and summarised.

One interesting thing I discovered – Cameron Slater was an informant for the prosecution.

McKinney’s witness statement was included, most if not all would have been inadmissible.

An expert witness was named, but nothing ever eventuated from them. They turned out to be the creditor that initiated the liquidation of Advantage Advocacy.

When lawyers made it clear that disclosure was manifestly inadequate the judge arranged a conference call in mid December to organise a way forward. Nottingham filed memoranda the morning immediately prior – very late filings became the norm – and tried to turn it into a move to imprison me by Christmas.

The judge rejected this, but due to the disruptions adjourned for another conference the following day. More late filings, another shambles. Nottingham blocked me from listening to his accusations and claims. As a result the judge ruled that conference calls were out of the question.

A date for the next hearing was set. Nottingham said he needed a holiday and wanted to wait until the following March. The judge obliged – throughout the protracted court proceedings I have been amazed and disappointed how much different judges have pandered to Nottingham, at the expense of the defendants.

in 2015 there was already talk amongst lawyers and the judge of a possible dismissal and costs.

At the March 2016 hearing Nottingham was pressed to name additional witnesses. He put forward Slater as an expert witness.

Slater never provided a witness statement as is required. He seemed to want to distance himself from the prosecution – I will give him the benefit of doubt on this, despite Nottingham’s practice in other cases of trying to introduce witnesses and evidence at trial, giving the defences no time to deal with them properly. Again I don’t know if this is incompetence or a tactic.

Then in April 2016 Nottingham had a serious motorcycle accident. He ended up in hospital for a few weeks. He sustained a head injury – not the first. He has also claimed to have had a serious motorcycle accident in I think 1998, also suffering from a head injury with ongoing effects.

Illness has been a prominent factor in a number of Nottingham’s legal proceedings, often resulting in delays and excuses for non-compliance with timetables and legal requirements.

The accident made a very messy prosecution worse, impossible.

Both I and Allied Press filed for dismissal of charges and a hearing was set for late June 2016.

I made a decision to dispense with counsel and represent myself. By now I had learnt a bit about how legal and court processes worked. I considered the case was hopeless, so I was better saving money and trying things on my own.

So I prepared for the dismissal on my own, and filed submissions, as did Allied Press, always on time. Nottingham didn’t. He couldn’t travel to Dunedin so engaged a lawyer to act for him.

The week before the dismissal hearing the APN/Prentice cases went to trial in Auckland. At that Nottingham failed on a fundamental aspect of a suppression breach case – he could not identify the publisher owners. It turned out he had charged the wrong herald company. Slater appeared as a witness and conceded that Prentice was not an identifiable owner of The Standard. So the case was dismissed.

Other allegations, of actually suppression breaches, never got tested at trial, although the trial judge said they were unlikely to have succeeded.

As in my and Allied’s case, Nottingham was claiming that if particular words could be selected out of an article and used in Google searches, and that led the searcher to a particular website, and words were taken from that and googled again and led them to another website, and then other words were used to search that site, and that led to articles that breached suppression, then the publisher of the original article was guilty of breaching suppression.

That on it’s own is nonsensical.

McKinney had tried to show how this could be done. But he already knew what he was looking for. In that case it’s easy to know what words to use in searches to find what you want, and which search results to sue to move on the next search step. Especially when the computer search history knows you already have an interest in the destination website.

The charges claimed about fifteen suppression breaches because that’s how many there were on the destination website. I don’t think there’s any way of proving an average member of then public would end up finding and reading one let alone all fifteen.

What is more preposterous is that Nottingham was claiming that information he supplied to a foreign website revealing the identity of people with New Zealand suppression was fine, but if he picked words out of other people’s articles that he could then use in Google to find his articles then that other person was guilty of a suppression breach.

I arrived at the dismissal hearing in late June, eleven months and the eight hearing after charges were laid, to find out from Nottingham’s lawyer minutes before the hearing was to begin that Nottingham wanted to withdraw the charges.

Leave was put to the judge, and after he clarified that due to time new charges couldn’t be laid the charges were dismissed.

Both Allied and I initiated proceedings to claim for costs.

It is well known that standard costs available in failed prosecutions are ridiculously small. But you can ask for indemnity (actual) costs at the judge’s discretion, if certain criteria are met.

A costs hearing date of September 2016 was suggested and a submission timetable was set. Both Allied and I submitted ion time as usual. Nottingham never served a submission in response.

District courts are under a lot of time pressure. It wasn’t until early March 2017 that we got a hearing set.

Prior to the hearing the court suggested that Nottingham had filed a submission. When we stated that we had not been served the court directed that it be served, and had to repeat the directive when it wasn’t forthcoming.

A few days before the hearing i ended up having to go to court and spend a morning reading their copy. They wouldn’t let me take it away or take a copy of it.

As was typical it was long. It comprised of an attempt to re-litigate his failed prosecution, claiming that we were obviously guilty and but for his accident we would have been convicted, so should be treated as convicted. A withdrawal of charges means that legally we are ‘not guilty’.

And most of it was an affidavit from Nottingham’s brother Phillip. addressed to the World Court, the United Nations and other international legal bodies claiming that it was unfair that Dermot was being prosecuted.

It was a waste of time me reading it, and the only consolation was that it must have been a much bigger waste of time for the Nottingham’s writing it and sending it around the world (if they did that).

Nottingham couldn’t attend the costs hearing. he tried to get yet another delay, but the court insisted that the hearing go ahead.

After the hearing started the court official interrupted the judge and handed him some papers. It was an even later than usual memorandum from Nottingham. Remarkably the judge adjourned the hearing, giving us half an hour to read and work out how to deal with the memorandum.

The hearing resumed, and the judge accepted our suggestion that the memorandum was more ranting nonsense irrelevant to the costs applications.

Then he was interrupted again – another memorandum was hot off the printer. This time the judge refused to accept it.

At the end of March 2016 we got a judgment awarding us costs. The problem was, it was unclear what costs we had been awarded, it didn’t make sense. We had little choice but to go to the High Court with an appeal.

The appeal took place in Dunedin in July 2017. Again Nottingham filed late, but before the hearing this time. he appeared by AV link from Auckland.

Again Nottingham claimed we should be considered guilty because it was obvious he was right and his case was not defendable.

The judge found otherwise and the appeal judgment was in our favour, in that it suggested that as bad faith was involved in the prosecution, and as needless cost had been imposed on both defendants due to the manner in which Nottingham had conducted the prosecution, that something approaching indemnity costs might be appropriate. he sent it back to the District Court judge to set a quantum of costs.

The DC judge decided that he had sufficient information and another hearing wouldn’t be necessary. And in a supplementary judgment in October 2017 he set a quantum of costs at 50% of indemnity costs.

This was a win, although I felt that the judge had not understood the complexities of the attempted prosecution and the hopelessness of the case, nor the vexatiousness of the prosecution. But I would have been happy to leave it at that rather than appeal again. Too much time, money and court resources had already been wasted.

But of course Nottingham appealed, so back to the High Court. He filed late again, despite that sort of abuse of process being a primary reason for having costs awarded against him.

This was a virtual repeat of the first appeal. Nottingham again tried to claim we should be considered guilty, and he claimed that the onus of proof should be on defendants (except \when he is a defendant I presume). And he asked that costs not just be quashed, but reversed and awarded to him.

That’s inane. I could only claim costs billed by my lawyer when I was represented. I could not claim for my own costs, or for lost time or anything. And as far as I know the same applies to Nottingham.

There is no way he could be awarded costs for what I paid my lawyer, which a reversal would presumably mean.

Nottingham lost the second appeal. Judges tend to want good reasons for overturning decisions of other judges. There wasn’t even a legal argument involved, it was a discretionary costs award.

But prior to the appeal Nottingham had already told me he would take it to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court. He made it clear from early on that one of his aims was to inflict as much time and costs on us as he could, And unfortunately the courts kept letting him do exactly that.

So Nottingham went to the Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal, as you have to do. He was late doing this so it’s out of time, and he also has to seek leave to do that.

This is pending, so as it is before the court I don’t want to say much about it. Submissions from both sides are required next month, with a hearing set down for 27 August – this is in Court of Appeal August fixture list (I am shown as Anor which is incorrect, I should be a separate case to Allied Press.

In the meantime the herald and Prentice have continued too, both having substantial costs awards. Nottingham’s conduct has been slammed – see NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018] and NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 1004 [9 May 2018]. That is also going to the Court of Appeal.

The defendants in another failed private prosecution have also had large costs awards. A trial was set down for 3 days and it took three weeks, due to Nottingham’s ‘tactics’. Multiple appeals are also on the August fixture list.

A judgment creditor is filing for bankruptcy against Nottingham, who has accumulated about $250,000 in unpaid court costs. That’s ongoing and complicated, has been on the go since last year, and another story, but is partly covered in HONEY & Ors v NOTTINGHAM [2018] NZHC 575 [29 March 2018].

There’s a lot more detail of an around the attempted private prosecution, but that’s of little interest to most people.

This account is also probably too long winded and of little interest generally. So why write it?

If I had known what Nottingham was like in court proceedings three years ago when this began I would have approached it quite differently. at the time I looked and found very little. I think this is in part because he has scared off a lot of people from exposing what he does, because he is so litigious, and because he and his cronies can be very vindictive and abusive.

I suspect that even judges have pussy footed around him and let him away with far to much in part for fear of being featured on that notorious website where some judges haven’t been spared accusations, abuse and possible defamation.

Talking of defamation, there was one attempt that I think is still before the courts: see MALTESE CAT LIMITED v DOE [2017] NZHC 1634 [14 July 2017] and MALTESE CAT LIMITED v JOHN DOE AND/OR JANE DOE [2017] NZHC 1728 [25 July 2017], in which it is alleged that Nottingham used the attack website as part of a paid for campaign in a domestic dispute.

Why was I included in the private prosecutions? That’s probably a story of it’s own, but I can think of a number of possibilities:

  • Slater held a grudge against me because he has a very thin skin when held to account for crap that he does
  • Spring had a grudge against me for stopping him from using Your NZ in continuing attacks that could no longer be run on Whale Oil
  • LF had a grudge against me – they had reacted negatively when I confronted them on Twitter for making a baseless accuation
  • A post of Nottingham’s charge appeared on Your NZ and he connected that with a police/court/Herald conspiracy

I think that Nottingham et al saw me as an easy target. They tried to pressure and threaten me into pleading guilty to make it easier for them to succeed in the prosecutions of the Herald and Prentice.

And when I stood up to them and refused to buckle they did what they have done with others, they got very nasty, seeking vindictive retribution. This seems to be a common thing with them.

Slater had already found that the legal going can get tough, and seems to have distanced himself a bit, although he was still using Nottingham in legal proceedings a year ago – see BLOMFIELD v SLATER [2017] NZHC 1654 [18 July 2017]

With the conviction and sentencing, and also the bankruptcy proceedings, things finally look to be turning to custard for Nottingham, and it’s not over yet.

And I suspect that things haven’t turned out that well for his brothers or McKinney or Spring either, on top of the self trashing of any reputations they may have had.

Of course there’s a risk I may become a target of their wrath by posting this. But I think public interest – especially of anyone else who becomes a target – is important here.

 

 

Vendettas and death notices

Cameron Slater has claimed he has had death threats as a result of the news onslaught yesterday.

I hope Judge McIlraith is watching the comments, the death threats have started. He didn’t think this was such a problem.

 

original

While it could be perceived as a threat of violence it doesn’t go as far as being a death threat, but is nasty it is unfortunately not uncommon talk online.

Something that was apparent yesterday was Slater’s continued association with Lauda Finem.

Two days ago LF posted an attack on  Ben Rachinger and others, and blatantly included information subject to court ordered suppression, and some of that suppression is still in force. There are not many possible sources for the judgment they published in full (actually it was a first version of the judgment that was corrected).

Then remarkably early yesterday LF published a media statement from Slater that also breached suppression. That seems certain to have been sourced from Slater.

After several hours it was taken down, in itself remarkable as the previous day LF refused to amend a false claim they made about Bradley Ambrose. This suggests preferential treatment for Slater at LF.

Then this exchange appeared on Twitter:

LFSpringTwitter

Spring coughing over vendettas alongside tweets involving Slater and LF is more than a little ironic.

Talking of vendettas this comment appeared on LF about the same time as the Slater statement appeared (overnight Monday):

DeathNoticeRedacted

Redacted comments breach the law and make false claims.

I don’t think that was Slater, but that’s the sort of people and website he associates and utilises. And that’s a more serious implication of a death threat than what he complained about.

I condemn any threats, implied or otherwise, of violence or death, including against Slater.

I wonder if Slater would likewise openly condemn the threat aimed at me, and ask his friends to take down this threat like his statement was taken down.

The embellishers

Cameron Slater used the term ’embellish’ in a Government inquiry into “Allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office” to describe comments of his in an email that prompted the inquiry.

He said “I’m putting my words around things and embellishing them and it’s cost her her job”.

From the inquiry report (24 November 2014):

[235] Again Mr Slater was questioned about what he had been told by Ms Collins. He said that the words “gunning for” were his words and were not words that Ms Collins would ever use. When asked whether they were a “pure creation” on his part he responded:

Well it’s an amalgam of what – the displeasure that she would have passed onto me, especially around him being in the media all the time and also the comments that I received from Jared Savage and also just having a long-term knowledge of Judith Collins. I’m actually putting – I’m putting my words around things and embellishing them and it’s cost her her job.

Mr Slater said that the impression Mr Feeley was in the media all the time had come from several people, not just from Ms Collins.

[316] My interpretation is that the statements attributed to Ms Collins suggesting she was conveying information about Mr Feeley’s future to Mr Slater are embellishments by Mr Slater.

You would think that costing a friend and Cabinet Minister her job, and possibly costing Collins and chance of becoming National Party leader and possible Prime Minister, would give Slater good reason to reconsider his practice of embellishing.

But if you read posts at Whale Oil it appears to be a habit that’s hard to break. Slater recently claimed the slide in newspaper circulation was in part due to a deliberate aim of his, and “I hope to be able to help suffocate them further”.

From a court Judgment of Asher J:

[88] One of Mr Slater’s sources is clearly identified. Mr Marc Spring has filed an affidavit confirming that he has been the source of numerous articles written by Mr Slater about Mr Blomfield which have been published on the website.

[122] Mr Slater has in his affidavits and writings made it clear that he regards Mr Blomfield as a man capable of physical violence. Mr Spring in his affidavit claims that he has received threats from Mr Blomfield on numerous occasions. However, the only detail he gives is that he had been sent text messages to run him out of New Zealand and advises that if he did not stop pursuing him for money he would have a public relations nightmare on his hands. He claims that a close relative of Mr Blomfield is a criminal convicted of assaults, who has also threatened him. Mr Slater suggests that the respondent may seek to “bully and intimidate” his sources if they are disclosed.

[123] However, there is no evidence that Mr Blomfield has endeavoured to bully and intimidate Mr Spring and the others who have already been disclosed as sources. One of the exhibits produced by Mr Blomfield is a vigorous exchange of emails between him and Mr Spring where Mr Spring appears to be sending Mr Blomfield aggressive and abusive texts. By and large Mr Blomfield takes a relatively defensive position.

While Spring accused Blomfield of bullying and intimidation the evidence shows that it was Spring doing the bullying and intimidating.

I’ve experienced similar with Spring, where he has accused me in documents he used to get a court order against me (which was thrown out) but where he was the bully, and worse.

[124] Mr Blomfield has no convictions for violent offending. I do not accept Mr Slater’s suggestion that he is a person to be feared. Mr Slater referred to an incident and a court case, but Mr Blomfield was discharged. There is nothing to suggest he would resort to intimidatory tactics, and I put that to one side as an adverse effect.

Here both Slater and Marc Spring make accusations about threats, intimidation and fears of violence but supply no credible evidence. Are their ’embellishments’ bad habits they are unaware of or blatant false claims?

From a Judgment by the Court of Appeal dated 9 November 2015 there are a number of allegations made by Slater, Spring and others that are rejected by the judge for various reasons.

[20] This passage contains double hearsay and is therefore inadmissible…

[21] Numerous other examples of similar difficulties with the proposed evidence could be quoted…

[22] As one example of intimidatory conduct by Mr Blomfield arising from the hearing in the High Court Mr Slater relied on a complaint of harassment made by Mr Blomfield against Mr Spring…

…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 made against Mr Spring and remains in force until 9 April 2016.

They tried to claim that Blomfield getting a restraining order against Spring for Spring sending “aggressive and abusive” text messages was intimidation.

[26] Next Mr Slater referred to intimidatory acts against Mr Price…This evidence is all hearsay, and inadmissible.

[27] It also fails to meet the cogency test…There is nothing about the affidavit which suggests that it was obtained by any kind of coercion.

[30] We do not regard this evidence as cogent. While Mr Mattu says he is fearful, he gives no evidence of any direct or particular threat of physical violence…

[32] Mr Mattu also gives evidence in the second affidavit that Mr Blomfield threatened him over the phone…

[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 name as that of Mr Blomfield and decided not to take the call. Instead he telephoned Mr Slater to take advice. Mr Slater was unavailable, but an associate, Mr Nottingham, advised him to take the next call from Mr Blomfield and record it. It was then arranged that instead Mr Mattu would telephone Mr Blomfield while Mr Nottingham was on the line and both would record what was said. That then ensued, the discussion then lasting for some 26 minutes. A little over an hour later, Mr Mattu again telephoned Mr Blomfield while Mr Nottingham was on the line.

[34] Transcripts of the discussion were then drawn up and attached to Mr Mattu’s affidavit. The presiding Judge in this Court asked Mr Slater to identify the parts of the transcripts of then phone discussions which were of most concern. Mr Slater referred to the following passages attributed to Mr Blomfield.

MattuBlomfieldtranscription

[35] Mr Slater invited us to infer from the language used that these comments by Mr Blomfield were in fact veiled threats, that the observations were intimidatory and effectively asking Mr Mannu not to stand by his affidavit. We are not prepared to draw those inferences.

It looks like a fairly major embellishment suggesting Blomfield’s comments (secretly recorded by Nottingham) were threatening or intimidatory. And these are the parts of the conversation that Slater presented as “of most concern”.

This all sounds familiar to me. I have seen many similar ’embellishments’ aimed at myself.

Last December when Spring threw his ridiculous court order at me and Your NZ both he and Slater publicly made serious allegations against me that were at best embellishments. They may have been fantasies, or they could otherwise have been deliberate false claims made to the Court.

The court papers included claims that sound similar to some of those detailed above. And subsequent claims and threats made since by Spring and others are along similar lines.

It seems common for them to transfer their own actions and attributes onto others. I don’t know if it’s ‘transference’, which is an unconscious action, or deliberate. It’s possibly some of both.

In their world ’embellishment’ could mean a range of things but the one thing I take from it is that you can’t trust anything they say regardless of whether it’s through their ignorance, or malice. The two may have become inextricably linked.

The Marc Spring story

I think it’s worth recapping the Marc Spring story as it relates to myself and to Your NZ. Readers here have a right to know what has happened, and it is in the wider public interest to reveal what Spring and associates have done and continue to do, because I’m not the only one who they have chosen to, in Spring’s words, “fuck over”.

This fucking over is fairly serious stuff, involving many multiple identities and online outlets used to abuse, defame, entrap, intimidate and threaten, and involving the misuse of the legal system and threats to the extent of trying to gag and shut down Your NZ and get me in prison ‘by Christmas’.

Spring is the main focus here but associated with him and the ‘fucking over’ have been Dermot Nottingham, Cameron Slater and Lauda Finem. Slater is well known for ‘Dirty Politics’ and his bully boy blogging at Whale Oil, but is probably a junior partner in this.

Why have I been dragged in to what is a much bigger story that goes back fifteen years?

Probably because I decided to stop them using Your NZ to attack and defame Matthew Blomfield, despite court undertakings and restraining orders that were supposed to stop them doing it.

In part they are vindictive, malicious people who seem to play ‘fucking over’ as a game.

In part for reasons that I can’t currently disclose, because despite brazen breaches of court orders they have managed to also use the courts to put gags on some exposure of their activities.

In part because I think they saw me as a quick and easy target in an ongoing online rampage. They don’t seem to have expected me to stand up against them and expose them, and they have gone to desperate measures to try and shut me up, including attempts at entrapment and making false claims to courts.

Prior to 2015 I had barely heard of Spring or Nottingham and knew little about Lauda Finem.

But there had been a feud going on for years between Spring and Slater and Lauda Finem (with various interconnections) versus Matthew Blomfield (I knew little of him before this either). Both Blomfield and Spring had been associated with Hell Pizza and there was a falling out between Blomfield and others at Hell.

A hard drive containing ten years of Blomfield’s business and personal data including very personal family photos was given to Slater (and the contents probably made available to others). Slater posted a number of attacks on Blomfield at Whale Oil.

Blomfield filed for defamation against Slater. The defamation case is still dragging on, but during it’s protracted course Slater gave an undertaking that he wouldn’t attack Blomfield on Whale Oil.

So last year Spring started to use Your NZ to continue the feud against Blomfield, using a number of pseudonyms (something he has done elsewhere) to make it appear as if others supported his claims. One other person that I’m aware of joined the attacks, Dave G. Just about everyone else doing it were identities used by Spring.

Blomfield contacted me claiming comments on Your NZ were unfair and defamatory. I agreed on some and deleted them. I disagreed on others and left them. Blomfield accepted my decisions. I did all of this openly, and I gave Blomfield a right of response.

The attacks against Blomfield on Your NZ continued by Spring and Dave G. I was later to find out that this was despite the courts giving Blomfield a restraining order against Spring in April 2015.

I have evidence of all of this that shows Spring using multiple identities from multiple locations, including from his workplace.

In July things changed quite dramatically.

Lauda Finem posted their first of what has been a number of posts that include attacks, defamation and false accusations against me. My photo was included in a ‘dirty dozen’ of journalists and bloggers – you have to laugh at some of the ironies in all of this. Lauda Finem, Spring and some others are the dirtiest I have encountered online.

I have been implicated in a cacophony of conspiracy claims that get more bizarre with each post. That’s another story that is quite hilarious. They call themselves justice campaigners and investigators. They deserve a top Tui award.

In July Spring was involved in serving me with legal papers for Nottingham. Slater also played a part in this but it can’t be disclosed at this stage.

Lauda Finem put up more posts attacking myself and Blomfield, separately and combined. While they use skerricks of truth they fabricate many of their claims – I don’t know if they are deliberate lies or if they believe their fantasies, I suspect a mixture of both.

And at the same time as the legal action was initiated and Lauda Finem started to post on it @LaudaFinem and @Marc Spring started to attack and harass me on Twitter with false claims, insinuations and abuse.

This tag team has continued off and on until the present. Last night @LaudaFinem repeated a “boozy” claim and added a new one – “likely using prescription med’s for the psych problems”. That’s fairly typical concocted false accusations that look like transference, they often accuse others of what they do.

Interestingly the only other person to suggest that I have psych problems is Dermot Nottingham via email.

I’ve received a number of emails from different people but mostly from a common source threatening a range of things. In addition there have been attempts to entrap me via email and phone (text). There’s some very stupid stuff. That’s for another time.

From July there was an ongoing campaign waged against me by Lauda Finem posts and  the @LaudaFinem and @marcspring tag team on Twitter.

There was also an onslaught of attacks on Your NZ by people using multiple IDs, including Spring and Nottingham and one or two others. There seems to have been two aims – to try to train wreck comments threads, and to entrap.

They were trying to show that a lack of moderation was a problem by causing problems. This was extreme at times.

It escalated in October when Spring planted comments (from his workplace) that he was later to try and use in an attempted legal action aimed at shutting down Your NZ.

At the same time a Spring pseudonym also linked to a new Lauda Finem post that was an insidious attack on someone just because they happened to be a commenter at Your NZ – Mike C, although an ongoing feud between Mike C and Whale Oil may also have been a factor. This included photos and insinuations about family members.

An attack on Alan Wilkinson was also posted at Lauda Finem, I presume because he pointed out how stupid they were. They have a history of reacting badly to having their stupidity pointed out.

In November Spring launched a legal attack. Slater and Nottingham were associated with this. It highlighted their legal incompetence and also the lengths they were prepared to go to to shut up and shut down any critics.

Spring posted a notice of a court order on Your NZ under the Harmful Digital Communication Act (HDCA) via a “press release” (which showed Nottingham as author) just after 5 pm on a Friday. It was a litany of lies and errors.

They had managed to con the court into ordering I remove all references to Spring on Your NZ, and that I put in place a system of full time moderation.

It wasn’t just me they wanted to gag, it was all of New Zealand according to the press release:

“The statutorily enforced moderation of blog site comments should be made law in an immediate amendment to the HDCA, with the addition that the website owner is liable for any comments that are posted after moderation. If these additions were to become law, the significant expense to date will have been worth it” said Mr Spring.

Were they serious? Of course their intention was for this to apply to other blogs, not their own. David Farrar says that it would mean he would have to shut down Kiwiblog. All the other blogs like Whale Oil and The Standard effectively couldn’t operate. And it couldn’t be limited to ‘blogs’ when most of the online comments are on Facebook, on Twitter, on Reddit, on the Trademe message boards etc etc.

A major way in which the internet operates is unlikely to be changed so a few nincompoops can impose mass gagging to avoid a bit of exposure while their own blogs continue with impunity.

There were a number of problems with the court order, including.

  • I wasn’t notified correctly
  • I wasn’t advised as I should have been prior to the order being made
  • The HDCA has no provision for gagging a website
  • Procedures required by the HDCA weren’t followed
  • The part of the HDCA being used doesn’t come into effect until 2017.

A few days later the judge discharged the order – see Court order discharged – because it had been made “without jurisdiction”.

I presume the judge and the court were embarrassed by being sucked in by legal incompetents. They wouldn’t let me view the files (that Spring had failed to provide as required).

Lawyers said that if a lawyer had submitted such a flawed action to the court they would have been in serious trouble.

But it didn’t end there. Spring and others threatened further legal actions along the lines of “Mr Spring is unsure whether Mr George could operate his blog from a prison cell” (from the press release).

Quite a bit more was attempted that I can’t currently reveal.

The posts at Lauda Finem kept appearing with ever more bizarre claims. Everyone in New Zealand who shares my surname could be insinuated – some actually have been.

More attempts have been made to plant ‘evidence’ and induce me into doing things that could be then potentially legally actionable.

The @laudafinem/@marcspring tag team continues.

The bursts of attention they give me are signs of other things happening. Pressure is mounting on them as their behaviours start to catch up on them. They keep digging deeper holes, and with no way out they lash out. I just happen to be one of their targets.

A beige tumble weed target they probably didn’t think would stand up to them and fight back.

They hate light being shone on what they have been doing for years – trying to fuck people over. But they are making more mistakes, and doing stupider things. I think there’s a lot of people who are waiting for them to get what they deserve. It could take a bit of time yet but trash generally ends up in the dump.

Note that there are probably complex associations between various people involved. For me it’s immaterial who owns what and directly or indirectly does what. All I am reporting on are some links, and behaviours in common.

If commenting please be careful and legal. I will remove anything I think could be a risk.

Farrar only blames the judge

David Farrar has posted at Kiwiblog again on the court order that disrupted this site a couple of weekends ago – Judge got it wrong on HDCA.

Amazingly the Judge did not realise the provisions of the Harmful Digital Communications Act which he relied on, were not to come into force for a couple of years.

I’m shocked a Judge would make such a wide ranging order, and not even have properly read the Act to realise most of it was not in force yet.

Comments on that post show that while the judge was ultimately responsible and allowed a mistake to go through he rectified it as soon as he  was aware of the problem.

Comments also do what Farrar didn’t, they pointed out the incompetence (at best) of person or persons involved in the court order, Marc Spring by the look of things with the assistance of Dermot Nottingham.

Here’s some of the comments, by people with obvious legal backgrounds.

In the Hager decision, the High Court made it plain that all relevant information, both factual and legal should be placed before a Judge who is considering an application made without notice to the other side.

A number of things should have been made clear to the Judge by the applicant. First, the Act under which the order was obtained was not yet in force. Second, the order requiring YourNZ to appoint a moderator was not available under the Act in any event. Third, there was no reason why George should not have been served with the application and given the opportunity to be heard. Presumably none of this was advised to the Judge. 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.

It is also a worry that a Judge, faced with a lay litigant invoking novel powers to abrogate the right to freedom of speech, should grant such an order without checking that he was able to do what he was being asked.

That is a worry.

The District Court Judge, Gary Harrison, is well respected by his colleagues and has a solid pedigree in law dating all the way back to being Justice Mahons assistant in the Erebus Inquiry. Clearly he had a bad day and dropped the ball but it is to his credit to have acted quickly to withdraw his decision when he realised the facts and law, as presented, were quite wrong.

Sounds fair.

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. This is even more so in an ex-parte application (where the judge makes a decision without hearing from the other party because of urgency etc). In such a case the person seeking the application is obliged to put all relevant stuff before the judge, not just the stuff that aids the application.

Litigants do not like the other party spouting off publically about matters before the court and judges tend to side with this. I possibly see the original judge’s ruling as being to in aid of stopping public disclosure of matters concerning the case. This could also explain why the judge is reluctant to release the papers concerning this to the other party. Perhaps the judge is being excessively sensitive about this or may have real concerns.

Except that in this case it was the litigants who spouted off publicly about matters they had put before the court.

I assumed that the order was applied for by a litigant in person. If it was a lawyer who made the application it is serious misconduct. The Judge in making any order under that Act is supposed to give a written decision; it would have been interesting to see that but I suppose that as the Act was not even in force, there is no need for the Judge to comply with it.

There’s been no indication a lawyer was involved. Why wouldn’t it  still be serious misconduct for a lay litigant?

Well, either that or apparent negligence (if we are going to be slightly charitable about it).  If there was a lawyer on either side then the judge should have been told.  If there were no lawyers involved then we get to whether the judge checked that the legislation was in force!

And:

Making an application for an order that is unavailable under an act that is not in force without notice to the other side when that person is readily available and there is no apparent serious risk of harm? 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.

And:

Making an application for an order that is unavailable under an act that is not in force without notice to the other side when that person is readily available and there is no apparent serious risk of harm? 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

And:

Yup, it is up there.

However, I think he will realise that and he will be kicking himself.

In his defence he might have relied on the supporting memorandum from the applicant and decided not to go behind it to check his jurisdiction under the enabling act.

And:

I had assumed that the person was represented and that it was a High Court proceeding. A High Court judge would have a ‘clerk’ (generally a junior lawyer) to check out these things. A District Court judge may not have had such assistance and so bears the onus of having to verify things but in practice often has to rely on memory or instinct or he/she would not get anything done.. A District Court judge would not have the time to reflect on things that a High Court judge would.

It was District Court.

Interesting comments.

Ultimately it was the judge’s responsibility as he signed the court order. But the appalling stuff ups,  either through incompetence or a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice, seem to have been due to the actions of non-lawyers. One way or another they seem to have tried to con the court.

I don’t know why David Farrar only blamed the judge.