defamation

Too Little, too late for desperate Labour leader

Andrew Little tried a settlement at the last moment in his defamation case.

It was rejected, and rightly so as it wouldn’t even have covered the legal bills of the Hagamans.

Labour leader Andrew Little upped his offer from $26,000 to $100,000 in a last-minute bid to settle the defamation claim against him by hoteliers Earl and Lani Hagaman but Mrs Hagaman rejected it as too little and too late.

Little’s offer was revealed in Mrs Hagaman’s evidence at the High Court in Wellington, during which she read out letters between lawyers for the two.   Read more »

Little’s reputation on the line as the man he allegedly defamed is dying

Andrew Little must feel very sick about now.

He’s about to start the second day of his defamation trial, where the Hagamans are alleging that Andrew Little defamed them by essentially accusing them of corruption.

I am very interested in this case, firstly because Andrew Little elected a trial by jury and also because he is trying on the defence of a qualified privilege.

A defamation trial against Labour leader Andrew Little is about to begin in the Wellington High Court.

The action relates to comments Little made about a management contract Earl Hagaman’s company, Scenic Hotel, was awarded for Matavai Resort on Niue and a donation to the National Party during the 2014 campaign.

Earl and Lani Hagaman have sued Little for defamation and Lani Hagaman will begin her evidence today.   Read more »

Little will face court for his defamation of Earl Hagaman

Andrew Little attacked Earl Hagaman for a donation he gave to the National party. He essentially accused the Hagamans of corruption.

That has now landed him in court.

Labour leader Andrew Little will face defamation proceedings after the founders of a hotel chain rejected a late apology over accusations regarding a Niue resort deal.

Little has apologised unreservedly for his comments, after the deal was cleared by the Auditor General last year, and says it is “unfortunate” the case is still heading to court.   Read more »

Guest Post – When Green means stupid

Imagine a defamation court case where the defence is that the published statements were “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose them to any legal liability.  It is like saying “truth is not my defence – untruth is”.  Bizarre?  Sure is but it is what Greenpeace are saying about their alleged defamation of Canada’s largest forestry company.

A couple of years ago Greenpeace climbed all over Resolute, the Canadian giant over their actions in what is called the Boreal Forest.  They dubbed them “forest destroyers”, attacking a wide range of practices including their activities involving local Indian groups.  Resolute called their bluff threatening to sue.  Greenpeace backed off and retracted.  However, in true activist style, they continued the claims against Resolute, even raising funds on the back of their claims so as to fight off a “big corporate”.   Read more »

Serial litigant, rates dodger and dropkick, Penny Bright, is appealing the strike out of her defamation case

Penny Bright is a complete waste of space. She is a bludger off of the rest of Auckland ratepayers because she fails to pay her own rates.

Her defamation case against Stephen Town the CE of Auckland City was chucked out and now she is further wasting the court’s time and money by appealing the decision.

Perennial activist and self-appointed full-time public watchdog Penny Bright intends to appeal the High Court’s decision to throw out her defamation case against Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town.

Ms Bright took the case for general damages of $250,000 and aggravated and punitive damages of $100,000 against Mr Town after he authorised an October 2014 press release about the action being taken in chasing her for $38,000 in unpaid rates, in which she said he made defamatory claims.

She did not appear at the latest hearing and has been litigating the case herself.   Read more »

AUSA accused of running a prostitution racket

This is a story about irresponsible headlines and hit-job journalism.

A new University of Auckland student group facing backlash over the use of symbols associated with white supremacists says it’s all a ” gross misunderstanding”.

The European Students Association has faced backlash after the university announced the group would be allowed to take part in recruitment with other clubs during orientation week.

The Auckland University Students’ Association on Thursday said the group had been flagged by a number of students for slogans and materials on its Facebook page considered “typical of a nationalist ‘white pride’ and fascist organisation”.

On that basis, I have asked a number of Whaleoil readers to review the activities of AUSA, and they have come back with a view that it doesn’t seem to be doing much at all that appears to be genuine.   Review of Facebook posts of a number of AUSA officers have caused the readers to highlight their concern about use of drugs and alcohol.  Worse, they have seen phrases and photos which are “typical” of an organisation engaged in “prostitution” and possibly “sex slavery” Read more »

The judgement arrives: Colin Craig cops another one in the chook

Colin Craig contemplating yet another loss

Regular readers will remember that we attended court on December the 6th last year to strike out Colin Craig’s vexatious claim of copyright against us and Jordan Williams. The judgement has finally arrived and Judge Sharp has recorded all of her comments that were made at the time which we reported.

The judge summarises the history in the first nine pages before getting into the arguments. The judge found Craig’s argument that his poem was worth a lot of money to be “specious.” This can be found at the top highlighted in red on page ten. This was the start of what became a march against Colin Craig.

At paragraph 43 the Judge states ” There is no evidence before me of any sort that there is any value in this work or that either of the defendants derived any income at all from it, from publishing it.” She also stated that it was obvious to her ” that the plaintiff would fail at substantive trial in establishing that in fact, either of the defendants had monetarily profited from their publications of this work. ”

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Reader calls Whaleoil out over Colin Craig’s 2000 postal ballots

Yesterday we covered the Conservative party’s drama with respect to picking a leader.  I suggested that the party may not at all have given up on Colin Craig yet.  As reported in the NZ Herald, Colin claims he sent out a postal ballot to all Conservative party members, and the response was about 75% in favour.  My point was that Colin Craig is clearly still an option for the party to consider.

Whaleoil reader ‘dab’ thinks I draw a long bow

…the original article in which Mr Craig disclosed that 75% of 2,000 responses were supportive of him, was dated July 2015 – so is hopelessly out of date. I struggle to believe such levels of support remain, even among the perpetually faithful.

That’s a fair point.  And in the absence of another postal ballot of the membership, or a resolution by the party board, it is getting stale.  But it’s the best quality information that the Conservative party is operating under.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the 2000 ballots have turned up somewhere else, I would have agreed with ‘dab’.  Just a few days ago, the Judicial Decisions Online web site published a decision in the High Court between Craig v Stringer.

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Lessons for Crazy Colin from David Lange

David Cohen writes at the NBR about some lessons for Colin Craig:

A jury has found that the onetime Conservative Party leader Colin Craig defamed Taxpayers Union founder Jordan Williams. The country has found out a lot more about Mr Craig’s style of office management and questionable poetic skills. So what was in the widely covered case for the media to discover?

Mr Craig’s whopping loss – the jury ordered that he pay a plump $1.27m in total – has been described as a classic defeat for the onetime political aspirant who has spent a significant amount of time in recent years launching his own defamation actions against some critics.

Indeed Mr Craig first came to many people’s attention in 2013 when he threatened a satirical news website with legal action after claiming it published a story designed, as a lawyer’s letter put it, “to make him look ridiculous.”

On the face of it that action only seemed to underscore the proposition being argued against, as well as suggesting Mr Craig had no idea about the purpose of satire.

A year later, of course, he was at it again with another defamation suit, this time against the Green Party’s Russel Norman for having effectively accused the Conservative Party leader of being a conservative in his views on homosexuals and women – at which point the expensive arguments seemed to be getting inexplicably ridiculous.

In life as in law, though, arguments are sometimes not about what they’re about.

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Who is afraid of being sued by Colin Craig?

man-hiding-behind-desk

Who is afraid of being sued by Colin Craig? If the flurry of articles in the media critical of Colin Craig are anything to go by I would say almost 100% fewer people than the day before Jordan Williams won his defamation case against Colin in court.

Media and individuals had good reason to be afraid. Not many men have the kind of money that allows them to silence critics with merely the threat of a lawsuit. Colin Craig is a very wealthy man with deep pockets. So deep in fact that he thought nothing of spending almost 2 million dollars of his and his wife’s money on a vanity project that they both felt ” passionate ” about.

Before Mr Craig lost to Mr Williams editors were vigilant, telling their journalists to dial it back whenever they strayed into subject matter that might attract Craig’s legal attention. After all, Mr Craig has a history of threatening to sue people whenever they say something he doesn’t like. The satirical site The Civilian, for example, caught his attention and was threatened with legal action. They swiftly backed down but maintained their satirical bent with a carefully crafted apology.

“We retract the statement and apologise to Mr Craig for any harm we have caused to his impeccable reputation. We would like to note that we have also taken the additional measure of bolding the statement in question so that everybody knows which thing it was that Mr Craig did not say.”

-The Civilian

Since Jordan William’s win, however, it seems as if the Editors have turned to their journalists and said, “Go ahead, knock yourselves out, say whatever you like.”

If you think I am exaggerating here are some quotes from satirical site, The Spinoff.

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