Craig v Slater – a preview

via Yahoo! News

by Pete

After nearly two years of preparation, Colin Craig will face Brian Henry in the Auckland High Court on Monday.  Henry is representing Cameron Slater, and Craig is self represented although he is still relying on paid legal assistance from the same legal team he used in Williams v Craig.

It has been a frustrating time, especially the last few months.  It simply isn’t prudent to say too much about it.  It risks being used against Cam during the proceedings.

But that hasn’t stopped speculation elsewhere on the Internet.

Some of which has been consistently pushed out by one of Mr Craig’s loyal friends.  Not unexpectedly, it also contains a lot of deliberate misdirections.   So if you  have been following the opinions of people who are talking about it on social media and other blogs, you are likely to have a very skewed view of what is about to come.

The fun thing about running a place like Whaleoil is that the people we write about provide us with material simply due to their own actions, mistakes or decisions.  There is no need to make anything up.

We said back then that our defence was more or less complete because it is largely based on Mr Craig’s own writings, and that remains true.  As you have seen in the Williams v Craig case, there were letters, poems and cards.  Texts and emails.

Mr Craig continues to deny that he sexually harassed Rachel MacGregor.  This is in the face of a Human Rights Review Tribunal that found against Craig for breaching the confidentiality of the agreement settling the sexual harassment filed by Ms MacGregor.

Mr Craig was also found to have defamed Jordan Williams.  Williams also had to defend his actions against Craig as being motivated by his disgust at Craig’s treatment of MacGregor.  The jury believed Williams and awarded $1.2 million dollars.  The court has since decided the amount was outrageously high.  This isn’t actually the case, once you look into it in more detail, but that’s not a discussion to have here today.

So Mr Craig is now taking the legal stage again, alleging that there was no sexual harassment by him towards MacGregor, and as a result, Cam Slater having said so on his blog is therefore defamatory.

It is really difficult to understand why a third case, presented with the same evidence, would find in Mr Craig’s favour on the issue of sexual harassment.  But if you read the commentators on social media and other blogs, the previous two decisions were a total farce, and Slater is going to get crushed like a bug. Craig will be vindicated.  The world will once more be the way it is supposed to be.

This would be possible in a he-said, she-said case.  But Mr Craig has committed a substantial amount of thoughts to paper.  That and a number of substantial hearings and legal decisions that have visited these same issues already makes for a case where Mr Craig will have to convince the court that whatever Whaleoil published wasn’t true, and in such a case, that it was done with some degree of malice.

Cameron Slater also has a counter-claim against Colin Craig.  It is our position that Colin Craig defamed Slater and Whaleoil by making statements to the press, a specifically dedicated press conference and a booklet that was sent to nearly every household in New Zealand.  The booklet contains provable falsehoods as well as statements that Mr Craig can’t defend.

Further complicating things in the past were a number of court-ordered confidentiality agreements as well as suppression of quite relevant information.  Jordan Williams’ case suffered a little from the fact that at the time some of these things could still not be discussed in public.  So a number of in-chambers meetings progressed the case around those issues.  But the media could not tell you about it, and therefore the public still has only a partial picture of the information about Mr Craig that was used to get the verdict and award in the Williams case.

As time has moved on and legal skirmishes have taken place to position the case starting this Monday, there is no longer any suppression on the Human Rights Review Tribunal proceedings.   All the details of Mr Craig’s alleged behaviour will now potentially be available for the media to report on.

I’m not saying he did it.  I’m saying that there are court documents that have recorded the proceedings where these things were discussed.  And these same courts decided against Mr Craig.

I repeat  Mr Craig, to this day, hour and minute, denies that he’s done anything wrong.  He considers the whole thing to be blown out of proportion.  He considers himself the victim.

So far, he’s not found anyone that agrees with him in a formal legal context.

And that’s why he’s so keen to do it all over again in Craig v Slater.   He is also no longer restrained by court suppression, so he gets to discuss what happened and what didn’t with details that were not made public previously.

If you are looking forward to cameo appearances by Nicky Hager, Martyn Bradbury or Bob McCroskrie, you’re going to be disappointed.  None of these people will assist in the defence of Colin Craig at this trial. In light of the decision in the Williams v Craig trial, their input clearly didn’t convince the jury that Craig was a victim of a bad romance, so Craig will call witnesses we have not yet seen to testify for him.

In the end, the case will come down to qualified privilege again.  Mr Craig will claim that his reaction to Whaleoil’s publications was in proportion.  And, if not true, then understandably fair under the circumstances.   This is a case about revealing a series of events and the subsequent cover up.  Cam Slater will use qualified privilege as well, but a different form of qualified privilege.  And he will do that with Mr Craig’s own words.  As we’ve said from the start.

In the end, the case will be decided on the balance of the evidence presented and not on the wishful thinking of people who are for or against one of the protagonists in this case.   The case will go against Colin Craig for the third time, or fourth if you include the forlorn Copyright case about Colin’s love poem.  And the usual will theorise that the courts are corrupt, that Slater has influence via the National party over the judiciary, and all the other tinfoil-hat-grade rubbish you see around the traps.

I want to thank our readers for their support over the years.  You have been a major pillar of strength for us.  There have been dark days when crawling in a hole would appear to be preferable.  But knowing we have such a large group of people that have believed in us and still trust us even when we say “we can’t tell you that yet” has been for a large part the fuel that has kept the engine ticking over.

As the case progresses, I won’t add much to whatever the media will report.  However, once the case is complete, we may be able to explain some things that we have thus far, strategically, remained quiet about.

There is no doubt in my mind Mr Craig will lose.  And there is no doubt in my mind Mr Craig will appeal. His behaviour has been consistent, so it doesn’t need a crystal ball.  Because of potential appeals, we will remain vigilant not to inflame things further, and I thank our commenters to be their usual sensible selves while discussing the goings on during the weeks ahead.

 


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