Irony: Colin Craig in court today defending defamation

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is back in court, defending defamation action being taken against him.

Mr Craig is being sued by Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams, who says Mr Craig made false allegations about him in a leaflet and at a press conference in July last year.

A jury of seven men and five women has been selected for the trial before Justice Katz in the High Court at Auckland.

The trial could take up to five weeks.

Lawyers indicated a total of 27 witnesses were expected to give evidence, including Mr Williams and Mr Craig.

Slapping defamation suits on people has been somewhat of a go-to strategy for Colin Craig.  Over the years it has been clear Mr Craig doesn’t actually mean to end up in court, rather counting on the silencing effect instead.  It’s a good way to shut people up in a contest where the person with the most money has an upper hand.

He should have stuck to that strategy and not published his own Dirty Politics booklet that he had delivered to almost every household in New Zealand, and then followed it with a most remarkable press conference.  The content of both were demonstrably inaccurate, and as a result Mr Craig faced legal action from Jordan Williams, John Stringer and Cameron Slater, the three main protagonists facing Craig’s attempt to silence his critics.

As a result, Craig suddenly faced three defamation suits himself. 

Whereas Mr Craig never managed to actually bring any of his suits to court, and in fact he has been thought to never actually intend to do so, he now find himself in court for the first time at the end of a defamation suit he himself triggered.

This will be the first case out of three where all of Mr Craig’s statements, actions and intentions will be examined in front of the same people he wanted to be judged by:  the public.

It is expected that one of the first steps Mr Craig will take is to insist on full suppression of the case.  The reasoning will include that the evidence to be presented and examined will be of such a nature that, if Mr Craig were to succeed in defending himself in this case, he can’t unwind the clock once every bit of detail is already out there.

This in itself will be a remarkable move from a man who sent a booklet to nearly all New Zealanders with the basic request for the public to be the judge as to who was the liar:  Mr Craig or the three people who were by and large the subject of his publication and press conference.

But as suppression is a likely outcome, not only is this article short of specifics, it is also unable to make a public case on behalf of Jordan Williams – even with facts already in the public domain.  Such is the ‘strategy’ of using defamation proceedings to keep information from the public.  It’s the ultimate gag order.

One of the pieces of evidence, the poem written by Colin Craig and given to Conservative party press secretary Rachel McGregor remains published on this site.  It will have its day in court, along with a large number of other documents that have been provided through discovery.

They form the cornerstone of all three defamation cases brought by Williams, Stringer and Slater. All three are relying on Mr Craig’s own written word to frame their arguments.

All this kicked off almost two years ago when Conservative party press secretary Rachel McGregor quit just days before the general election claiming Mr Craig’s behaviour to be “un-Christian” and “manipulative”.  Subsequent public statements that Mr Craig had used his position and wealth to persistently pursue a non-standard employer/employee relationship are now at the centre of the defamation cases brought against him.

Mr Craig stood next to his wife in a public press conference and stated that he neither sexually harassed anyone in his life, nor has he ever been anything but faithful to his wife.

Jordan Williams will now be the first in court to show the jury why any reasonable person would hold the belief that Mr Craig was not a faithful husband.  Mr Craig on the other hand will defend his actions as those of a normal caring employer who simply got caught up in a situation where his generosity has been taken advantage of and misconstrued.

 

  • hookerphil

    One could read Mr Clinton in the second to last paragraph – and look what truth came out in that one.

  • Blackcap

    I see the Stuff website already have details about what he was up to with his press secretary at the time that I do not think he wants in the public domain. Not a good move starting these rounds of defamation by Colin. Truth will out.

  • Big_Al

    Details of what he alegedly got up to on Stuff already and will have been seen by the public anyway. So a bit late to apply for suppression of details now.
    Looks like he has been a naughty little boy and now it’s comming back to bite him in the bum.

  • shykiwibloke

    May end up being a version of the ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’ proverb. Hopefully the rigorous court process will allow all to see the facts in the end.

  • waldopepper

    just bought a 5 week supply of popcorn. this should be good – suppression orders not with standing.

  • Isherman

    Someone from the ‘Media’ contingent present should helpfully grab a word with him and remind him that his Twitter page still has him as Conservative Party leader – he wont be needing that anymore!

  • Dave

    One of the important things for Jordon is if Colin Craig is s reliable and truthful witness. Then the intent of CC’s brochure, then if he knew it was full of factual errors. Yup, he’s a goner, wonder how Jordon will spend his millions?

    • XCIA

      Remember too that in most instances, damages are calculated on the reach the said defamation has had. There seemed to have been beaucoup reach……….

    • spanishbride

      We already know that Colin Craig was in the pamphlet three times as himself, Mr X and the man who interviewed Mr X. Is this a man with credibility? I will let the jury decide.

  • Hard1

    Another Christian conservative with an uncontrollable libido. Ho hum.

  • Isherman

    Now that this is underway, I have to wonder if CC would really want to go through any further defamation suites, or if he will attempt to settle the others at or before the conclusion of this one. I know he’s quite sure of himself, but really, there is no winning from this if that’s what he thinks.

    • Paul Marsden

      This is a money tree for his lawyers. They will convince him to pursue the matter

      • Teletubby

        I keep thinking that his case is so bad and so much dirty laundry is being aired that surely his lawyerson advised him to settle but his ego has instructed them to continue

  • Poppa

    I note MSM are giving this far more coverage than old Winnie’s attempt to deceive the electorate once again.

    • MarcWills

      Cunning old Winston – how the heck did he arrange for this case to start just in time to distract attention from his faux pas. The man’s a legend :)

  • Sally

    Remember he nearly made it into parliament and possible be on the government benches. Lucky escape there. I do feel sorry for his wife to hear all this but then again she stood by him and allowed her name to go on the pamphlet and make a statement at the press conference so maybe not too much sympathy.

  • Dave

    Agree with all but sympathy for Mrs Craig, but I had a lot of sympathy for her, being married to the cheating Colin, until…….. She publicly supported him, speaking out for him yet deep down hurting because of his actions with the younger women “two of me” must have hurt badly! In some ways, a battered abused wife, believes he won’t do it again.

    • Don’t have any sympathy for Mrs Craig. I just spent a day in court watching her very closely, she is as ill as her husband. The grins the cheery little chit-chat in the face of building evidence of the lies of her husband was telling.

      • CoNZervative

        SOME FACTS: Mrs Craig (with her husband) is seeking to destroy me and my wife and children by suing me for over $1:5 million for telling the truth as a concerned Board member; she spent $293k of her own money conceiving writing printing and distributing a glossy booklet that defamed me and two others to every home in NZ as a ‘booster’ for her husband’s attack suits; and participated in two very public TV press conferences that did the same without ever contacting me or letting me know; and has rebuffed all attempts at an apology or to try and resolve this out of court – so my sympathy died long ago; she is complicit in all this; And have we ever heard any sympathy or compassion for Ms MacGregor from Mrs Craig?

  • Simon P

    How long before he folds or is he so arrogant that he things he can bully people and make allegations and get away with it.

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