Dopey Colin Craig decides to appeal his District Court shellacking

Colin Craig has decided to appeal the shellacking he received?in the District Court.

Kelly Dunnett from Fairfax has the details:

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has served notice of his intent to appeal?a judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit he took against a blogger for publishing a poem he wrote to his former secretary.

At a December hearing at the Auckland District Court Judge Mary Beth Sharp threw out Craig’s efforts to seek damages for “unauthorised infringement” of alleged copyright interests in a poem he wrote entitled Two of Me.

It was said to be part of an 11-page letter he wrote to ex-secretary Rachel MacGregor, containing several poems.

Judge Sharp made an oral judgment at the December hearing and?has now released a formal decision, canvassing her reasons for the dismissal. That included her ruling that Craig’s proceeding was?”vexatious” and that he had an “ulterior purpose”.

Craig?sought $5000 in damages plus $3000 for every month Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater had a copy of the poem on his blog, and also sought damages from Taxpayers Union director Jordan Williams for giving a copy of the poem to Slater in the first place.

Craig also asked for an injunction?preventing further publication of the ode. He represented himself in the proceeding.

That was thrown out and Craig was described as vexatious and using the courts for an improper purpose.

Undeterred the fool is off to the High Court where he is likely to get another and worse shellacking….as he continues to use court processes for an improper purpose…which is to cost me as much money as possible. Opposing his appeal is likely to cost another $40,000.

At the hearing about the poem in December, both Williams and Slater asked Judge Sharp to strike out Craig’s claims, saying the lawsuit was an abuse of process.

In other applications they argued that publication of the poem was in the public interest and fell under a “fair dealing”?provision of copyright law which allows media outlets to produce other people’s work for the purpose of reporting news.

Craig argued that the publication was not fair dealing and said it removed his right to earn money from its publication, Judge Sharp said in her judgment.

“(Craig argues) that because he is a poet and an author, a published one at that, that he wanted the opportunity either not to publish this work – and in particular to evaluate it and its merit – so that his authorship and poetic abilities could be fairly and properly evaluated by the public,” Judge Sharp said.

“There is no evidence before me of any sort that there is any value in this work or that either of the defendants has derived any income at all from it, from publishing it. It is obvious to me that the plaintiff would fail at substantive trial in establishing that in fact either of the defendants had monetarily profited from their publications of the?work.”

She agreed with the argument that Craig had sought to “inappropriately import other grievances that he has against Mr Williams” and said the proceeding had “an element of impropriety”.

“This court does have the inherent power to prevent misuse of its procedure. It would be manifestly unfair to the first defendant or would otherwise bring the administration of justice into disrepute among?right thinking people to permit this proceeding to continue, given that I am quite sure that the real argument that the plaintiff has is in respect of breach of confidence and his concern to protect his reputation…

“I consider… that this is a proceeding which involves a deception on the court.I do not consider the process of the court has been fairly or honestly used. It is being employed for an ulterior and improper purpose which I have already named. It is manifestly groundless and without foundation.?

This is a vexatious proceeding. It has been brought for collateral purpose,” she said.

On Monday Craig filed notices of appeal with the High Court at Auckland, saying Judge Sharp had failed to give the appropriate weight to the fact he was was representing himself, that she had incorrectly concluded the proceeding was an abuse of process, that she had incorrectly concluded that his claim would fail at a substantive hearing, and that copyright did not apply to the poem.

The funniest part of all of this is that Fairfax then reprinted the poem for which Jordan Williams and I are being pursued for breach of copyright.

I look forward to Colin Craig also pursuing Fairfax for breach of copyright.

I mean if he is pursuing us then surely he should be pursuing them just as hard unless of course, he is only bringing the action against us for an improper and collateral?purpose.

I can’t imagine the High Court entertaining this for very long given the rather terse judgment of?Sharp DCJ.


– Fairfax