What Whale Oil isn’t telling their readers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whale Oil is keeping the facts from their readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, I consider the plaintiffs  did enjoy substantive success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should Mr Slater and Mr Graham be examined?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More insufficient information and changing defences.

Discovery

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

Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESULT AND ORDERS

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

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

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

Costs

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

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

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

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

[140] By adopting this approach, the defendants have entirely failed to plead any facts and circumstances relied on to support their defences of truth and honest opinion.

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again the responsibility for his predicament is Slater’s.

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

Deferred pending an appeal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The second last word from ‘Whaleoil staff’:

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

Deluded.

Another stunt? Slater served bankruptcy papers

In what looks like another stunt on the night Cameron Slater was knocked senseless by Jessie Ryder bankruptcy papers were served on Slater just before the fight.

The Whale Oil blogger was served with bankruptcy papers just before taking part in a corporate boxing match last night.

It’s part of an ongoing legal feud with businessman Matt Blomfield, who’s suing him for defamation.

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/whale-harpooned-then-served-papers/

This has already been done or attempted by Blomfield. I posted about this two months ago in Standard sucked into Blomfield versus Slater dirt.

An image of the bankruptcy notice shows it is Matt Blomfield versus Cameron Slater. It was originally posted with both addresses but they have been redacted. There is ongoing court proceedings between the two. I don’t know if this is a reasonable course of action by Blomfield or a stunt or an attempt at harassment. I won’t take sides between Blomfield and Slater except perhaps the opposite side to both of them. It’s not unusual for them to be going hammer and tongs and both have records of playing dirty. What is unusual is that Prentice has allowed the Standard to play such a part. It’s not the first time, in a previous slanging match The Standard posted a statement from Blomfield. It would appear that this time Blomfield has gone to Prentice to set up this publicity. And Prentice has obliged boots and all.

I’m not sure why it’s taken two months to serve the papers. The timing seems like a publicity stunt to me, ironically at the same time Slater is doing a publicity stunt of his own.

Slater’s wife Juana posted a comment in response (in January):

I realise your blind hatred of Cam prevents you from looking too closely at the hand that feeds you the info ( Matt ) but sorry to burst your bubble but he has neglected to tell you some pertinent facts. 1. The court costs are in a Trust account and will be released when the Appeal process is complete IF Matt wins. If he doesn’t Matt will owe Cam court costs. 2. Cam has the money but has no legal obligation to pay the money until the appeal has been completed and Matt knows this. 3. Matt is trying to serve papers as part of his ongoing campaign of harassment.Something I know you all enjoy as you are his mate but nevertheless harassment is what it is.

Regardless of the merits of Blomfield’s action last night Slater is going to have a sore head this morning now the distraction of preparing for the boxing bout is over,

Standard sucked into Blomfield versus Slater dirt

Lyn Prentice posted on The Standard today:

Yesterday I got contacted about Cameron Slater’s current address. Apparently the arsehole of the kiwi blogosphere hasn’t been paying his court ordered judgements against him that have been incurred in recent years. The person who contacted me wanted to serve a notice to bankrupt him.

An image of the bankruptcy notice shows it is Matt Blomfield versus Cameron Slater. It was originally posted with both addresses but they have been redacted. There is ongoing court proceedings between the two. I don’t know if this is a reasonable course of action by Blomfield or a stunt or an attempt at harassment. I won’t take sides between Blomfield and Slater except perhaps the opposite side to both of them. It’s not unusual for them to be going hammer and tongs and both have records of playing dirty. What is unusual is that Prentice has allowed the Standard to play such a part. It’s not the first time, in a previous slanging match The Standard posted a statement from Blomfield. It would appear that this time Blomfield has gone to Prentice to set up this publicity. And Prentice has obliged boots and all. Commenters have suggested it may not be the wisest thing to do (my view too) but it’s been done.

Apparently this has to do with the long running Blomfield defamation case. It has to do with court ordered judgements unrelated to his Slater’s current rather forlorn appeals as he continues to waste the time of the courts. Both in the court of appeal on the defamation and the privacy court about accessing dubiously obtained (probably stolen) private information to write the Blomfield posts.

I’d be surprised if Prentice doesn’t know exactly what it’s about. He keeps saying he wouldn’t risk putting The Standard in legal jeopardy, His blog, his choice to get in the middle of Blomfield versus Slater. Prentice also gets stuck into a continuation of Prentice versus Slater.

Is the blogosphere going to shift from being a space where people can express their honestly held opinions within the legal constraints of society, or is it a place where the malicious can hire a liar to defame others? It is pretty obvious which side I am on in this debate. It is important that this debate is held within the legal systems rather than the kind of lynch mob justice you appear to favour.

That’s rather ironic considering the lynch mob mentality he actively nurtures and at times leads at The Standard.

But unlike you I look at what was in the claims that Slater was making about Blomfield and are subject to this defamation action. That is what Slater will eventually have to defend and to date he appears to be doing a piss-poor job on that. Trying to pull in claims and areas extrinsic to that are as unlikely to sway me as they would a court. We don’t allow deliberate campaigns of smearing on this site. That is why you have limits on what you can do. I don’t want to waste my time in court in the way that Cameron obviously likes doing.

The bolded bit is brazen bull. Prentice supports and encorouages smear campaigns on The Standard. Slater’s wife Juana posted a comment:

I realise your blind hatred of Cam prevents you from looking too closely at the hand that feeds you the info ( Matt ) but sorry to burst your bubble but he has neglected to tell you some pertinent facts. 1. The court costs are in a Trust account and will be released when the Appeal process is complete IF Matt wins. If he doesn’t Matt will owe Cam court costs. 2. Cam has the money but has no legal obligation to pay the money until the appeal has been completed and Matt knows this. 3. Matt is trying to serve papers as part of his ongoing campaign of harassment.Something I know you all enjoy as you are his mate but nevertheless harassment is what it is.

Prentice replied:

Hi Juana, I already answered Marty about the “hate” bit. But I will repeat it for your benefit. I think your guy is a irresponsible arsehole who brings the rest of the blogging communities into disrepute. I intensely dislike being tarred with the same label as him because there are very few of us who act like such a complete scumbag. Perhaps you should consider that before trying to smear me. I don’t “hate” him (never met him for that matter). I dislike his actions and how they reflect on me. I wish he would desist from doing posts like those he did about Blomfield and many others. I’m prepared to exert some effort to help that to happen

I agree that Slater “brings the rest of the blogging communities into disrepute” more than anyone else in New Zealand. But it’s very ironic to see Prentice worried about being tarred by bad behaviour, of those bloggers with significant influence I’d rate him  second to Slater on the arsehole scale – he brags about being an arsehole (as Slater does). He’s a distant second but he surely he’s not blind to how much his own blog being tarred by bad behaviour.

Everyone who isn’t interested in the likes of arsehole scumbags like Cameron Slater attacking them in public and getting paid for it should also be interested in it. Since that kind of arsehole behaviour happens to be what I am interested in not spreading across our local blogs, I keep reporting on aspects of this long running case.

I doubt anyone at The Standard gets paid for attacking people in public but it’s common and supported by Prentice. He leads by example. I wouldn’t call them arsehole scumbags but there’s a few regulars who’s primary role at the Standard appears as arsehole scumbag behaviour. And being a willing party to Blomfield’s bankruptcy action doesn’t look very flash either. Prentice seems to have decided to lower himself to closer to Slater’s level. Marty commented:

I realise the enemy of our enemy is The Standard’s friend, but I’d be terribly careful snuggling up to Blomfield. His portrayal as a random drive by shooting victim of Slater is going to end up in tears. The man is, at best, no better than blubberboy. As for publishing his home address on the Internet… wtf? I don’t know anything about money, but going for bankruptcy when there isn’t a clear indication that the person is indeed bankrupt and is instead stalling on paying a debt, isn’t that just being a total prick for the sake of being a prick? Anyway. Don’t let your hatred for Slater blind you to this man. He’s a P.O.S. himself, and you’re being used.

And:

I know it will be against the rules to discuss it here, so I won’t, but Blomfield’s true nature and true involvement in things outside the law have so far been carefully suppressed by everyone who knows better, because it doesn’t suit the Slater-must-be-silenced campaign. ALL I am saying is for lprent and The Standard not to to be seen as part of Blomfield’s fan club. There will be a time when that’s going to have some unwanted blowback. The last thing I want is for The Standard to join Bradbury as a source of justified ridicule.

Blomfield versus Slater seems par for a dirty course. A Prentice versus Slater escalation is risking a lot for The Standard. I’d be surprised if turns out to be worth the short term feeling of gotcha. Marty again:

Well, I didn’t want to be helpful to Blomfield, as he’s at least as despicable as Slater, and they deserve each other, but how hard is it to find Slater’s current address? Seriously? Which makes me go back to my previous point – you are allowing yourself / the blog to be used by this guy, and two wrongs don’t make a right. If you think that “bankruptcy” will silence Slater, I need to confess I don’t understand your thought process. You are allowing yourself and the blog to be used for someone’s personal harassment, and you are using your long term goal of ridding the world of Cameron Slater as your justification. Come on lprent, take a deep breath, walk away. We have more important things to achieve rather than help Blomfield out with his personal vendettas.

Whale Oil is at risk of crashing and burning. Doing dirty too long and pissing on too many people was bound to backlash. It would be a shame to see The Standard go the same way. Two major blogs down would be a significant loss to the blogosphere.

More of the dirty on Slater versus Blomfield

David Fisher has a detailed update on the long running Matt Blomfield versus Cameron Slater feud that’s wending it’s wqay thorugh the courts. There’s some disturbing stuff in it, including a possibly related assault involving a shotgun (no culprit has been identified).

What was the purpose of it all? Some sort of vindictive payback? Going gungho over the top and not being big enough to back down?

Ex-pizza boss Matt Blomfield: Whaleoil and me.

And in another article at the Herald Blomfield pushes the police on a relatively old complaint.

Police are reviewing a two-year-old criminal complaint against Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater over material he used on his website.

The review is studying how Slater obtained a vast quantity of private emails which were used as the basis of posts on his blog.

It comes as police investigate a complaint from Slater over the hacking of his computer. Detectives investigating Slater’s complaint this week executed a search warrant on the home of author Nicky Hager, who used material obtained by the hacker known as Rawshark to write Dirty Politics.

The police review stems from a complaint laid in May 2012 by businessman Matt Blomfield, who has taken a defamation case against Slater over articles on the Whaleoil blog.

Police review complaint against Whaleoil blogger

There’s a number of ironic similarities to the Hager/Rawshark versus Slater issue with Slater at the opposite side of proceedings, especially as both Slater and Hager claim to be protected as journalists while using allegedly illegally obtained communications data.

Slater has legal action swirling all around him. It’s not surprising to see some of his excesses finally catching up on him.