The NZ Defense Force have been defending themselves in a defamation case against some grossly inaccurate claims that they made about reporter Jon Stephenson back in 2011 (and that John Key recklessly and foolishly chimed in on). They have been forced to concede that their claims were inaccurate. But a hung jury about how defamatory the claims were is causing it to proceeding to second trial. It looks like legal maneuvering by the NZDF has failed. My view is that the NZDF are being completely stupid about owning up to their screwup.
The Whaleoil blog is in court on Monday. There is a full day session in the High Court in Auckland looking at the appeal by Cameron Slater against Judge Blackie’s decision in the District Court that the blog is not a news medium. Therefore Slater was not a journalist, and was therefore not able to protect his sources who provided stolen material to allow him to apparently defame Matthew Blomfield. The decision will probably provide case law about the status of blogs in the law and the responsibilities of news mediums.
Judith Collins pledged to take Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little to court for defamation after they suggested she was involved in leaking Bronwyn Pullar’s name via Slater-Lusk. Today she dropped the suit after a letter from Mallard and Little in which a) don’t concede defaming her and b) deny intent to do so. A huge back down from Crushless.
Cabinet today will decide whether the Crown will pick up the tab for Judith Collins’ defamation suits. The suit against RNZ, whose offence was to do live interviews, is particularly egregious and calculated to chill media comment. It will be unprecedented for the public to pay for a minister to take defamation suits. But we will. Anything less will be a vote of no confidence in Collins by her colleagues.
You know that bookies sense when there is blood in the water and they’ll create contracts. I don’t gamble but the interesting contracts today in my mind are “Judith Collins to cease being a Minister before 1 June 2012″, “An ACC official ….to be found to have leaked Boag email”, “Beehive staffer to be found to have leaked Boag email”, etc. And a politician is definitely in trouble in NZ when they start talking about defamation