Poor precious petal Jon Stephenson rushed off to court because he thought he had been defamed by the Army who were responding to his own accusations in a series of articles.
He found out an expensive lesson…just because you think something is defamatory doesn’t mean it is, and it certainly isn’t worth what you think it is worth either.
A Wellington jury has been unable to reach a decision on whether Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones defamed freelance war reporter Jon Stephenson.
The High Court jury of seven men and five women began deliberating just after 3.30pm yesterday. Jurors returned about 5pm today to say they had been unable to reach a decision. They were then discharged.
Speaking outside court, Stephenson said he was disappointed that the jury had not been able to reach a decision.
“But I’m also delighted that the main reason we came here, the fact that I did go to the base and I did interview the commander as I reported, has been conceded by the Defence Force.
“The point was not about the money, the point was to hold the Defence Force to account for saying things that weren’t true.”
Stephenson did not rule out the possibility of a retrial of the case or settling with the Defence Force.
Jones said he had been happy to make the concession he did after hearing Stephenson’s evidence, but added that the claim had been defended to defend the people who were accused in a Metro magazine article Stephenson wrote.
Too many people are far too quick to rush off court for perceived sleights to their precious name.
In this case Jon Stephenson hasn’t got what he wanted, cost himself an enormous amount of money proving nothing and still looks like a lefty ponce with his nose out of joint.
But the defendants continue to deny the words in the press release had the meaning Stephenson alleged, or were defamatory. Even if they were defamatory they were in response to an “attack”, and it might be worth $10, their lawyer said.
That much? I doubt it.
The only bonus form this case the resulting lefty handwringing.