Dermot Nottingham sentenced for criminal harassment, suppression breaches

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

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

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

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

And it seems that Nottingham remains unrepentant,

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

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

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

See:

Also:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is remarkable the articles still remain online.

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

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

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

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

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

Good. So will mine.

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

Bullshit. He blatantly broke the law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope they carefully consider that.

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

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

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

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

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

Google and other problems with NZ suppression law

Court suppression orders are difficult to deal with in the Internet age.

In the past media like newspapers had court reporters who were aware of what cases were suppressed and complied with suppression orders where appropriate.

But social media has introduced major problems – it is easy for just about anyone to say things (publish) online, but it is impossible for most of us to know what is suppressed, so we don’t know what can’t be legally published.

And another big problem is that major online content providers/publishers are based out of New Zealand, like Google, Facebook and Twitter. And Google says they are not bound by New Zealand law.

NZH: Google ‘thumbs its nose’ at New Zealand courts – lawyer

In high-profile cases covered by the Herald in recent months, Google NZ along with New Zealand’s major media outlets have been served with orders which suppress details and require the removal of content that infringes on privacy or fair trial rights.

However, Google says it’s “not in the business of censoring news” and won’t comply because its search engine is bound by the laws enforced at its home, the Googleplex, in California’s Silicon Valley.

The result means some information suppressed by New Zealand’s courts can be revealed in a Google search.

The problems and Google’s place in New Zealand’s courtrooms was an issue last year during the High Court retrial of double-killer Zarn Tarapata.

An interim take-down order for all content related to Tarapata’s first trial was made to protect his fair trial rights and suppress evidence which was ruled inadmissible.

The Herald and other media organisations opposed the order but were ultimately forced to comply and removed stories about Tarapata’s first trial to avoid being held in contempt of court.

However, despite having an Auckland office, Google NZ said it couldn’t remove details of the stories from its searchable records.

In an affidavit to the court, Google NZ software engineer Joseph Bailey, wrote: “Google New Zealand Limited has no ability to comply with the interim orders.”

He explained that the Google search engine, Google LLC, was a separate legal entity incorporated in the US, meaning New Zealand’s courts and laws held no power over it.

The company also said it would require a “perpetual review” to find the “trillions of webpages currently existing on the web, but also those which are subsequently created” that breached the court orders.

…a Google spokesman said: “We don’t allow these kinds of autocomplete predictions or related searches that violate laws or our own policies and we have removed examples we’ve been made aware.”

He said while Google NZ was bound by New Zealand laws, Google LLC was not.

“Google LLC prefers for news publishers to make their own decisions about whether their content should be available online,” he said.

Even for small publishers it can be a daunting task trying to monitor all content, especially when not knowing what is suppressed by court orders.

Prominent human rights and privacy lawyer Michael Bott said Google was “thumbing its nose” and “expressing a high-degree of arrogance” at court orders, threatening fair trial rights and due process.

Bott accepted however it was a “fine line” between attempting to control Google – like China – and protecting the foundations of a liberal democracy.

“In a liberal democracy we have the rule of law. If Google doesn’t follow take-down orders on the basis that it’s an international company based in California, well that maybe true, but it also ignores the reality of the internet,” he said.

But there’s another significant problem – take down orders, even if you can get one, can take quite a bit of time, and even if successful can be like shutting the stable door well after the story has bolted around the Internet.

I think that most people accept that suppression in some cases is important, especially when protecting the identity of victims of crime, especially children.

But I think that protecting the right to a fair trial via suppression can be virtually unworkable in the Internet age. Courts need to find a different way of dealing with this.

While I understand the argument for protecting rights to a fair trial i think that it needs to be reviewed, taking into account the practicalities of the use of the Internet.

There was recent example of failed suppression in Dunedin recently when a young woman was murdered. The name of the accused was published and circulated in social media before a suppression order was issued by the Court.

I have personal experience with abuse suppression in the courts. It was used to gag me while running an online campaign of harassment and defamation against me online, and if I confronted this online I was threatened with prosecution for breaching suppression, while the group attacking me claimed immunity because they claimed their publications were not in new Zealand, so therefore immune from New Zealand law.

So they used New Zealand law to gag me, while publishing offshore to avoid new Zealand law.

I am still gagged on this. I hope that that will be ending soon, but given the blatant hypocrisy of those involved they may try to keep their legal and personal abuses secret.

The Google (and Facebook et al) problem with suppression is not adequately addressed by New Zealand law and court practices, and neither is the use and abuse of suppression on a smaller and wider scale.

 

Stalker case – surprise over job ‘secrecy’

Further to Questionable sentence and suppression after criminal harassment the ODT has followed up today with more on the attempt to keep the person convicted of criminal harassment and intentional damage a secret.

A public servant who subjected a Dunedin businessman to “a living hell” for two and a-half years has finally been named – but his occupation remains under wraps.

Jeremy Fraser Buis (39), appearing in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, was sentenced to 200 hours’ community work and ordered to pay the victim $15,000 after being found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage, following a week-long, judge-alone trial last month.

The victim – Danny Pryde – voluntarily gave up his own name suppression yesterday and said he was “extremely surprised” Buis’ job was kept secret.

“I think that’s quite important for the public to know … his profession and I don’t know why they’d hold that back,” he said.

More than quite important, but there is some ‘Streisand effect’ in action because it has increased publicity and outrage.

Judge Paul Kellar gave no reasons for his decision, which was made after counsel Anne Stevens said publication of the job would cast aspersions on Buis’ colleagues.

Suppression hasn’t prevented aspersions being cast, in fact it has probably made it more likely.

University of Otago dean of law Prof Mark Henaghan said the situation was unusual and almost futile.

“Once the name is released, people can find out what he does,” he said.

It’s simple to find out, even without seeing or hearing it said all over the place (which is happening).

Police said he was released from court after sentencing through an “alternative exit”, rather than the public doors, to avoid conflict with the victim’s family.

“Avoidance of the media was not a consideration,” the spokesman said.

I don’t think that’s an issue. The suppression of Buis’ occupation is.

Mr Pryde, owner of Pryde Engineering, said he wanted to lift the lid on the ordeal which had permeated almost every area of his life.

“I’ve got a business to run and it’s extremely embarrassing trying to explain this to customers,” he said.

“I’m happy for them to read about it and sympathise if they feel the need to.”

Mr Pryde believed the sentence was light and described the $15,000 emotional-harm payment, which the court heard Buis had borrowed, as “dirty money”.

“I’d almost be prepared to give that away to charity. He tried to destroy my business and my marriage. [Money] doesn’t fix those things,” he said.

Danny is a good and innovative engineer. I don’t see them often now but Danny and his wife have always seemed to me to be very nice people. They, and no one, deserves to be treated this badly.

I think that continued suppression of Buis’ occupation is worse for his employer and his colleagues (or ex colleagues) than being open and up front about it.

NOTE: Nothing that reveals the occupation of Buis can be tolerated here.

Gedsid on Salter’s suppression

Professor Andrew Gesdid posts on the numerous ironies associated with Camenor Staler’s suppression issues at Pundit:

A blogger’s own campaign to have name suppression laws tightened has resulted in that blogger being refused name suppression after pleading guilty to his own illegal activities. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

By now we all know (or, rather, those of us at all interested in the often schoolyard antics of the NZ blogosphere know) that some blogger who used to be semi-famous has admitted the crime of paying an alleged fraudster to hack into the blog of some lefty enemies in order to try and find out who they are, because politics. 

So far, so par for the course in Crazytown.

But what really, really, really provides the bright red cherry of ironyon top of this delicious confection of egomaniacal delusions of being able to engage in House-of-Cards-style chicanery is the fact that the blogger who used to be semi-famous (Mr Salter, I believe)sought to have his involvement in this escapade suppressed by the Courts. Yes, the same Mr Satler who pursued a wonky jihad in opposition to the very concept of name suppression went in front of the District Court and had the gall, the sheer bare-faced effrontery, to ask that he be given the protection of the very laws he had campaigned so hard to have abolished.

That’s all for here. It’s worth reading through – Time, which sees all things, has found you out.

On suppression

There’s been quite a few comments on suppression lately, most trying to compromise this site, but some seem to not understand how suppression works.

This is as far as I understand it.

Courts can order name suppression up to blanket case suppression.

With name suppresssion you can publish details of a case as long as you don’t name or identify the persion with suppression.

With blanket suppression you are unable to publish any details of the case or name or identify anyone involved in the case realtive to the case.

But this shouldn’t stop you publishing about things that are unrelated to cases.

For example if John Key was involved in a case in the 90s and was granted permanent name suppression that doesn’t mean you can’t name him in political stories and commentary now.

Most people are completely unaware of suppressions that are in place so we have the strange situation where you are supposed to avoid publishing on things you don’t know about.

I think all regulars here are well aware of the responsibilities on suppression and are appropriately prudent.

When you get a new name show up posting a potentially actionable comment and then disappearing it’s kinda obvious that the intent is malicious.

PLEASE NOTE: if you want to discuss suppression in general terms then go ahead. But don’t mention any names or details about any cases that you know or think could be subject to suppression.

If anyone comments here and compromises this site by deliberately breaching any court ordered suppression then you will be held responsible for your actions.

Suppression to continue until trial, whenever

The blanket name and details suppression involving a ‘prominent New Zealander’ will to continue until the person stands trial, whenever that will be (a trial date hasn’t been set yet).

3 News – Name suppression continues for prominent New Zealander

A prominent New Zealander accused of a raft of sex crimes has won their battle to keep their identity a secret.

At their last court appearance in February, Judge Roy Wade rejected their bid for continued name suppression but gave them one more month of protection so they had the chance to appeal.

The person’s lawyer was in the High Court at Auckland this afternoon, appealing an earlier decision to lift their client’s name suppression.

After a six-hour hearing, Justice Raynor Asher agreed, ruling the accused could keep their name under wraps until their trial.

The person has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault against two complainants, and has elected to face the charges before a jury.

This is presumably the case there has been a lot of speculation about.

Winston Peters has proposed to deal with this sort of thing in his Northland by-election campaign – see Winston Peters pledges to remove paedophiles’ name suppression:

“There have been so many cases of sexual violence in New Zealand where the offender hides behind a cloak of secrecy imposed on the basis that secrecy protects the victim.”

He said his bill would remove that “legal cone of silence” in cases where the victim wanted the crime exposed.

He said NZ First would also propose a sex offender register, so parents would know if there was a child sex offender in their neighbourhood.

It’s unlikely National would agree to do anything like this with Peters.

Has Slater breached suppression, and can Freed trust him?

In a post on Whale Oil today Cameron Slater must have come very close to breaching a suppression order, or blatantly breached it (I’m not sure of the legal specifics. I won’t link to it here to be safe.

It was so risky head moderator Peter Belt shut comments and posted this comment saying he “expressed my displeasure at this article to Cam last night”.

[MOD] Every time there are posts like this, I end up banning people. If you can’t play the game, then just pass these sorts of articles by. For the record, I expressed my displeasure at this article to Cam last night. Guess what? It’s his blog, and I don’t have the final say. I think it’s a stupid piece to write, and all it does is makes work for me and the other mods, “good” people end up being banned because they blunder into our no-tolerance on name suppression issues enforcement, and it attracts a wave of trolls that (generally successfully) manage to tip veteran commenters into making mistakes.

I get this wrong, and we face a $100,00 fine and/or 6 months in jail. That’s MY perspective. If you can’t figure out how to comment on posts like this PASS THEM BY.

Finally, this is Cam’s blog, and when the National Party in a number of it’s guises shit on him from a great height, I can’t blame him for acting on that. Most of the time he’s a bit more subtle than today, but I think there is a message that is being sent that probably has nothing to do with you, our readers.

I’m closing this article to comments, because I have work to do.

So he was concerned about the content of the post. I’m not surprised. But it became bizarre when he warned and banned commenters for also risking breaching the suppression.

Belt has already fundraised to help pay Slater’s legal bills.

It looks like quite a few comments could have disappeared since they were posted.

But before he closed comments Slater posted a few of his own.

I owe National nothing…I’m not even a member. I call things as I see them…this is just one such thing that I think needs attention.

I am not a sycophant and never will be.

And:

They can think what they like. I know what is reality. I am not in control of the feeble minds of others.

This on top of recent posts and comments where Slater has made it clear he does as he pleases and is not controlled by anyone I would suspect Freed is more than a little concerned about the risks of an uncontrolled beast if they ever get around to launching.

Are politicians and police covering up a very dirty not-very–secet?

I’ve just read a post at a blog with a record of breaking supression orders, so I won’t link to it.

It details a number of known facts, plus information that matches rumours I’ve heard, and additional detail.

It’s particulrly disturbing.

First I’ll say that if they are inaccurate then it’s awful for those named to be associated unfairly. That’s can be a risk of suppression of information of something that many people have an interest in and a determination to make public.

But it talks of erring MPs and political and police cover-ups that could be protecting their own.

And it talks of sexual assault against children.

If true this is extremely serious. And it needs to be dealt with. If those who should won’t deal with it then it’s up to others to make it impossible for them not to.

Attention on Key over Sabin

Mike Sabin’s resignation yesterday was accompanied by a very brief statement in a press release.

Mike Sabin announces resignation as Northland MP

Northland MP, Mike Sabin, today announced he has resigned from Parliament, effective immediately.

Mr Sabin said he had decided to resign due to personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament.

Mr Sabin will not be making any further comment.

Beyond that there has been widespread speculation as to why he resigned but details seem to have been suppressed.

Sabin’s online presence seems to have been quickly scrubbed. He was removed from National’s MP ‘team’ page yesterday. That’s understandable, he is no longer a National MP. His website http://www.mikesabin.co.nz is also no longer available.

With Sabin under wraps the attention is moving to John Key, what he knew about Sabin and when he knew it. There’s some awkward unanswered questions.

Claire Trevett: Key pressed over when he first knew Sabin was being investigated by police

Prime Minister John Key is facing increasing questions about his handling of the Mike Sabin affair after the Northland MP’s resignation a month after reports he was being investigated by the police.

It is understood some within National learned Mr Sabin was dealing with issues before the election but he had already been selected as a candidate and it was too late to change.

If that’s true the timing made thinhs awkward for National, especially if they didn’t have many details. Of course Sabin could have done something but chose to carry on as if nothing was wrong.

Mr Peters said Mr Key clearly thought he could ride out any trouble but he owed the public an explanation.

Whilen it’s far from certain Key just tried to ‘ride out any trouble’ I agree that explanations are owed the public.

Mr Key said yesterday his office was told on Thursday Mr Sabin intended to resign. He said Mr Sabin was not asked to step down.

“Mr Sabin reached that conclusion himself on the back of personal and family reasons he is pursuing.

“He’s obviously made the best decision for himself and his family.”

That’s a curious statement given suggestions about what this is all about.

Mr Key would not comment on when he first learned Mr Sabin had issues to deal with, including whether it was before the election. He would not express confidence in Mr Sabin’s character but said Mr Sabin had made a substantial contribution to the caucus and was well regarded as an electorate MP.

Key probably can’t comment on the specifics of what he knew and when.

After the election, Mr Sabin was made chairman of the law and order select committee over more senior MPs – a sign he could have been on the way to the ministerial benches.

That’s a potentially more concerning issue. Why he was appointed when there could have been a pending law and order issue with Sabin. And why Key didn’t stand Sabin down from the committee.

But Key could have been in the position of damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.

The details surrounding Sabin have been heavily suppressed. It’s quite possible – many claim certain – that details are legally suppressed.

It would appear to have been untenable for Sabin to chair the Law and Order committee questioning of police scheduled for next week. That difficulty has been averted by Sabin’s resignation.

As for the rest of the questions facing Key over this, he may be on solid legal grounds for refusing to comment. It may look a bit tricky but there may be no legal alternative.

Cone of silence on Central Otago meeting

A cone of silence remains over a meeting in Queenstown last month between Labour leader David Cunliffe and high profile Central Otago man, ex All Black and ex National MP Grahame Thorne.

This was a controversial meeting leading into an election campaign, with rumours swirling about the motives for the meeting including possible links to donations.

It was also odd to see Cunliffe having a photo in public accepting a bottle of wine from Thorne considering recent controversy with Labour and wine auctions for fundraising. Is that what the gift of wine was for – more fundraising?

That this issue isn’t being examined by media is perplexing. There appears to be an indecent cone of silence with deliberate suppression of information of public and political interest.

See Cunliffe and a gift of wine.