Williams v. Craig – Week 1 summary

I have spent the week in court observing, as media, the Williams v. Craig defamation trial.

You have all seen the other media coverage But I thought I would give my observations in a quick reference format of what has been revealed this week. Nothing is suppressed so far, so it is safe to publish these details.

Only two witnesses have given evidence so far. The evidence in chief of Jordan Williams and evidence from Christine Rankin. Jordan Williams was cross-examined for more than the time he gave evidence.

What we have found out:

  • Colin Craig told the board that there were no allegations of sexual harassment, and it was an employment dispute only.
  • Colin Craig repeatedly told the media that there was no inappropriate conduct. He stated numerous times on camera and in radio interviews that any allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” were “scurrilous baseless and just wrong and retractions would be demanded”.
  • Craig’s defence is now claiming there was a relationship and it was consensual.
  • Colin Craig repeatedly told the board that there was no inappropriate conduct.
  • Colin Craig has asserted in sworn affidavits in other proceedings that he is not a Christian.
  • A video of the sauna interview and another news clip shows Mr. Craig clearly claiming he is a Christian.
  • Colin Craig has asserted in sworn affidavits in other proceedings that the Conservative party did not stand on moral values.
  • Christine Rankin informed the court of regular Thursday morning prayer sessions, the fact that Colin Craig often took days off to read the bible, and that he used to fill his press releases with bible quotes that were removed by Ms MacGregor or Christine Rankin herself.  
  • Colin Craig asserted that letters, poems and cards were often sent to many members of staff and there was nothing untoward about the letter despite making mention of wanting to be in a relationship with Ms MacGregor.
  • Christine Rankin said that in all the time she worked at the Conservative party she had never received such letters or cards.
  • Colin Craig told the media that no one on the board had ever raised issues of the “relationship” between him and Rachel MacGregor.
  • Christine Rankin gave evidence that she confronted Colin Craig several times over his behaviour towards and with Rachel MacGregor.
  • Colin Craig has asserted that his “relationship” with Ms. MacGregor was akin to a brother and sister relationship but has also admitted touching her breast and kissing her and wrote that he enjoyed kissing her lips.
  • Colin Craig has told the board the amount of the settlement from the first negotiated Human Rights Commission complaint process where Rachel MacGregor laid a complaint of sexual harassment was $16,000.
  • Colin Craig showed Christine Rankin a settlement agreement that showed a figure of between $25,000 and $28,000 with no confidentiality agreement and it was the only version of the agreement in existence.
  • Colin Craig told other members of the board differing numbers.
  • Colin Craig told media that the settlement figure was $16,000 firstly.
  • He then told the media it was the repayment of her credit card debts.
  • He told the media that he forgave a loan given to clear credit card debt was forgiven on compassionate grounds.
  • We learned that the loan carried an interest rate of 29% interest, that was applied once Mr. Craig had been rebuffed by Ms. MacGregor, but that Mr. Craig saw this as justifiable so that he could get her to talk to him.
  • We discovered that there were no compassionate grounds, that Mr. Craig had lied to the media when the loan forgiveness was part of the negotiated settlement in the Human Rights Commission.
  • We learned that the settlement reached with the Human Rights Commission and Rachel MacGregor actually did contain a confidentiality agreement, contrary to what he told Christine Rankin, and that the agreement was different from the one he had shown her.
  • We also learned that the settlement agreement was for a sexual harassment complaint, that the amounts contained in the agreement were $16,000 for unpaid salary, $20,000 forgiving of a loan, and legal costs in excess of $100,000 incurred by Ms. MacGregor. Essentially a 6 figure sum which Mr. Craig has constantly denied existed.
  • We learned that Mr. Craig also has another proceeding regarding the breaching of the confidentiality agreement and that what was presented to media as justifiable for him to discuss regarding the settlement agreement was lop-sided at best and deliberately false at worst.
  • We learned that of the 110 pages of text messages, more than 95% were from Rachel MacGregor and recovered by Mr. Craig in discovery but strangely there are almost no text messages from him. It is obvious from the context of the messages that Mr. Craig’s messages have not been disclosed.
  • Of the 110 pages of texts the defence has focused on just one text message and accused Mr Williams, of not ever seeing it. This ignores the fact that Mr. Williams had the material details right, and some wording wrong, meaning that he must have seen it at some point. Indeed the text message does in fact exist and has been discovered in two other cases. It is clear that Mr. Williams had seen it or at least had the content of the message disclosed to him, but due to the constraints of stress and travel only made notes of those details sometime later.
  • The defence asserted that Mr X. was a literary device, and then later tried to claim it was an amalgam of sources and devised in such a way so as to protect those sources even though Mr. Craig cannot claim either journalistic protection of sources nor protection of sources like lawyers can claim.
  • The defence also asserted it was no different to using a pseudonym on an email sent to just one person and it was irrelevant that Mr. Craig used the Mr X. device to send his booklet to 1.8 million households.
  • The defence asserted that the poem leaked by Mr. Williams to me caused Colin Craig to resign and it had nothing whatsoever to do with his constant misleading of the board nor the sauna interview.
  • The defence asserted the poem was published at 09:46am on the 19th June 2015, despite a printout of the blog post clearly showing that the publishing time was 1515pm the same date after Mr. Craig had started his press conference announcing his resignation.
  • The Plaintiff’s counsel established from the Defendant’s own discovery that Mr. Craig had in fact resigned from the leadership of the Conservative party the previous day, 18th June 2015, at 1821pm and that the resignation letter was dated and stamped and signed by Mr. Brian Dobbs on that date. This was before Mr. Williams had leaked the poem to me.
  • Mr. Craig had resigned but informed the public he had in fact only stepped aside temporarily.
  • Colin Craig, in repeated media interviews denied a relationship even existed and until recently in pleadings in various cases has claimed the same. Craig’s defence is now claiming there was a relationship and it was consensual.

All of this was canvassed in open court and discussed freely with no suppression orders.

The trial continues and Monday will hear the testimony of Rachel MacGregor. There are some legal issues canvassed in chambers on Friday that cannot as yet be discussed, though Katz J. will be issuing minutes regarding those issues on Monday.

So far we have only heard from Jordan Williams and Christine Rankin. There are many more witnesses and documents to canvass so premature cackling from the left and tumbleweed side of the blogosphere is somewhat premature.

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