Craig v Slater: The fabricated letter

As you know the judgment has now been released.

Justice Toogood has done some fine work and there are many many findings about the conduct of Colin Craig. I will highlight key paragraphs for readers below: Quote:

[80] Although Ms MacGregor and Mr Craig talked about setting boundaries for their personal relationship, I am satisfied that Mr Craig did not take any practical step in that regard at that time, other than to resolve there should be no intimacy of the kind that occurred on 26 November 2011. If Mr Craig had thought that he had put up a genuine boundary or barrier against other forms of inappropriate conduct by the discussions he had with Ms MacGregor, the terms of a letter he sent her in February 2012 indicate that he cannot have thought there was any impediment to harbouring sexually-oriented thoughts and expressing to Ms MacGregor his continuing interest in a sexual relationship with her.End quote.

This letter is important, as it featured heavily in the proceedings. Quote:

[81] Mr Craig acknowledged as much when he gave evidence about the inner conflict he experienced between his romantic and sexually oriented thoughts about Ms MacGregor and the feelings he had for her, and his acceptance that he could not give them tangible expression through physical intimacy with her. The problem, as I perceive it, is that Mr Craig believed he was entitled to convey his thoughts and feelings verbally to Ms MacGregor, and that she would understand and accept his expression of such sentiments, because she reciprocated his feelings.

[82] The decision about whether there was sexual harassment after November 2011 turns very much on whether Mr Craig’s assessment of Ms MacGregor’s opinion was right. It will be evident from what I have held above to be Ms MacGregor’s position by the end of January 2012 that I have concluded he was wrong. End quote.

Very wrong. Justice Toogood then outlines in detail what was contained in that letter, including a list of things Craig was going to do to supposedly ensure boundaries: Quote:

Things I am doing

Following on from the above here are the things that I am doing to ensure our relationship is constructive and appropriate. My own little action plan if you like (pretty much all as already discussed with you):

  1. Texting only for work. Ouch this hurts ‒ I like texting you. OK question – is it exciting to get texts from me or is it just blah?? Why do I find texts from you exciting?
  2. Limitation of time we are alone i.e. not nights or weekends.
  3. When I think of you (which is more often than I have admitted too!) I pray for you. If I love you, then I want the best for you, the best for you is God’s plan.
  4. Giving you a massage/hug when you want one (most work days LOL). My theory here is that it’s better than going cold turkey with no Rach contact at all (Perish the thought). In your words it’s “comforting”.
  5. Encouraging you to seek God and be close to him. Making our relationship focus on good and holy things. Praying together.
  6. Encouraging you to be a supporter and helper of my wife Helen. This is actually a lot to ask ‒ I realize that. But again love is not self- seeking and if you help strengthen and build my marriage then you are doing good not evil. If/when you are married and if things don’t change (i.e. you haven’t moved away) I would likewise be a supporter and encourager of your marriage.

I think that’s it ‒ at least what I can think of. Can you think of anything else that would be a good idea? I always like your input. End quote.

This list becomes important later in proceedings. Justice Toogood explains: Quote:

[90] Because it affects my view of Mr Craig’s credibility, particularly in relation to the issue of whether Mr Craig took appropriate steps to put in place guidelines for the conduct of their personal relationship, it is necessary to address in some detail that aspect of the February 2012 letter which is contained in the section headed “Things I am Doing”.

[91] In an attempt to counter Ms MacGregor’s assertions that he had been slow to record any such guidelines after election night 2011, Mr Craig produced in evidence a one-page, undated document headed, “Things I am Doing”. He said it was a file note that he prepared in November 2011 in which he set out six points he thought would be helpful for rules of conduct. It was listed by Mr Craig in the Agreed Bundle of Documents as having been dated 21 November 2011. Before the hearing, as required by r 9.5(2) of the High Court Rules 2016, the defendants noted their objection to the ascribed date.

[92] Mr Craig said in his evidence in chief that, when he wrote to Ms McGregor in February 2012, he relied on the one-page document to prepare the corresponding part of the letter. He acknowledged that he did not give the one-page note to Ms McGregor at any time. As Mr Henry exposed in his cross-examination, however, Mr Craig’s attempt to promote the one-page “Things I am Doing” document as a precursor to the 7 February 2012 letter was patently false.

[93] I set out the one-page document in full:

Things I am Doing

Following on from the above here are the things that I am doing to ensure our relationship is constructive and appropriate. My own little action plan if you like (pretty much all as already discussed with you):

  1. Texting only for work.
  2. Limitation of time we are alone i.e. not nights or weekends.
  3. When I think of you I pray for you.
  4. Giving you a massage/hug when you want one. In your words it’s “comforting”.
  5. Encouraging you to seek God and be close to him. Making our relationship focus on good and holy things. Praying together.
  6. Encouraging you to be a supporter and helper of my wife Helen. This is actually a lot to ask ‒ I realize that. But again love is not self- seeking and if you help strengthen and build my marriage then you are doing good not evil. If/when you are married and if things don’t change (i.e. you havent moved away) I would likewise be a supporter and encourager of your marriage. End quote.

Note the key differences. My lawyer Brian Henry certainly did. Justice Toogood continues: Quote:

[94] I repeat the corresponding points 1, 3 and 4 in the February 2012 letter. The italicised wording below does not appear in the one-page note:

1. Texting only for work. Ouch this hurts ‒ I like texting you. OK question – is it exciting to get texts from me or is it just blah?? Why do I find texts from you exciting?

  1. When I think of you (which is more often than I have admitted too!) I pray for you. If I love you, then I want the best for you, the best for you is God’s plan.
  2. Giving you a massage/hug when you want one (most work days LOL). My theory here is that it’s better than going cold turkey with no Rach contact at all (Perish the thought). In your words it’s “comforting”.

[95] I regard the italicised portions of the February 2012 letter as being commentary by Mr Craig which indicate that, although he set out suggested rules of conduct for the future, he wanted Ms MacGregor to know that he retained a romantic interest in her. That was consistent with other parts of the letter.

[96] It is clear from the formatting of the one-page note that Mr Craig had produced it by copying and pasting, and then editing, the “action plan” from an electronic copy of the February 2012 letter. First, unlike any of the other five points in the note, the numeral “1.” in the first point in the note has a blue typeface. That corresponds with the blue typeface for the second and third sentences in the first point in the February 2012 letter which are in the form of questions for Ms MacGregor to answer. Mr Craig explained in the letter that he had used blue typeface for questions he posed “for ease of reading”. None of the other numerals nor any of the contents of the one-page note are typed in blue.

[97] Second, the one-page document begins, under the heading, with the sentence:

Following on from the above here are the things I am doing to ensure our relationship is constructive and appropriate.

That introductory sentence only makes sense when it appears in the same position, under the section heading, in the letter. It is an obvious reference to the preceding paragraphs of the letter; there is no preceding content in the note.

[98] The one-page note is consistent with the representation of Mr Craig’s position set out in the Chapman Tripp letter of 13 March 2015 to Ms MacGregor’s solicitors, in response to Ms MacGregor’s allegations of sexual harassment. The Chapman Tripp letter sets out the six action points without any of the embellishments that appeared in the February 2012 letter. Mr Craig confirmed, when pressed by Mr Henry, that his lawyers relied upon the contents of the note to demonstrate to Ms MacGregor’s solicitors that Mr Craig had taken steps after the election night incident to put boundaries around personal contact with Ms MacGregor. Mr Craig claimed, however, that he no longer held a copy of the February 2012 letter on his computer by the time Ms MacGregor told him of her complaint to the Human Rights Commission. He said he did not have a copy of the February 2012 letter on his computer in March 2015 when he sent the one-page version of the “action plan” to his solicitors in response to Ms MacGregor’s detailed allegations.

[99] There was no basis for Mr Craig to assert in the Agreed Bundle of Documents that he had prepared the note on 21 November 2011; that date is five days before the election date. Under cross-examination, Mr Craig first said that the document was prepared in November 2011 but not on the 21st of that month. He then suggested that it may have been prepared on the 21st day of the 12th month, not the 11th. It was only when Mr Henry pointed out the implications of the blue numeral 1 and the preamble “Following on from the above” in the one-page note that Mr Craig conceded he had taken the material for the one-page document from an electronic copy of the February 2012 letter at some later stage and edited it.

[100] I observed Mr Craig’s demeanour closely while he was being questioned about these matters, and noted his evasiveness and prevarication until it became untenable for him to maintain his earlier positions. I reject as deliberately untrue Mr Craig’s evidence that he did not have an electronic copy of the February 2012 letter in March 2015. He referred to it in his letter to Ms MacGregor on 22 October 2012, saying he had reread it, so he must have had a copy then. Mr Craig acknowledged he did not give the one-page note to Ms MacGregor at any time so there was no reason for him to prepare that edited version after February 2012 other than to give it to Chapman Tripp. It is highly probable that he prepared the one-page document he gave to his solicitors by copying and pasting an edited version of the action plan from the electronic copy of the February 2012 letter he retained, to give the appearance that he had communicated a bare statement of conduct rules to Ms MacGregor, without the compromising embellishments.

[101] Having reached the conclusion that Mr Craig had an electronic copy of the February 2012 letter in his possession in March 2015, I infer that he did not disclose the letter to his solicitors because its contents tend to support the allegation of sexual harassment. He is likely to have felt encouraged to withhold it because it was not referred to in the detailed letter Ms MacGregor’s solicitors Gallaway Cook Allen sent to Chapman Tripp on 18 February 2015. Given its significance, and the references in the Gallaway Cook Allen to the other letters Mr Craig sent Ms MacGregor, I conclude that she overlooked it because she did not possess a copy of it in March 2015, having given it to a friend, Mr Jordan Williams, in November 2014. I have no doubt that, had Ms MacGregor not forgotten about it, it would have received close attention in her lawyers’ letter. End quote.

He was busted fair and square under cross examination and the judge confirms it, that he fabricated documents.

The next posts will look at other damning findings.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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