Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, February 16th, 2019 - 26 comments
Categories: articles, Dirty Politics, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, The Standard - Tags: cameron slater, matt blomfield, matthew blomfield, whaleoil
The Matthew Blomfield Cameron Slater defamation case has been followed on this blog for some time.
Just check out some of the posts the Standard has published to understand what the interest was.
The basis was that back in the dark days before Nicky Hager published Dirty Politics Cameron Slater published a number of posts attacking Matt Blomfield. They had a major effect on Blomfield and his family.
I said this a while ago:
… [i]n 2010 Matt Blomfield had his office burgled and various emails from a hard drive he believes was stolen appeared on Cameron Slater’s website. To the best of my knowledge a warrant has not been granted let alone sought to try and find out where the information came from even though Slater clearly had access to information that Blomfield wanted kept private. And this incident is not a minor thing. Blomfield has complained that he was recently attacked in his home by someone with a gun and you would think the police would want to investigate matters carefully to see if there was any link between whoever originally obtained the hard drive and the attack.
In a guest post Blomfield himself gave some of the background of how the hard drive disappeared and he then said this:
A number of reasons have been offered up for why Slater has the drive. I’m not sure what is true, but the discovery I seek will answer that question. The fact remains, it was stolen, by friend or foe, and the information was accessed illegally. The law is very clear on that (storage and stored data are defined as a computer system). It doesn’t matter how Slater got it. My associate later left the company I was working for in the face of a very significant dispute with the other main shareholders, of whom I was not one. I certainly believed that I had been let down by him and said so. It was the end of a very close friendship as well.
It was therefore a considerable shock to me to be directed to his blog site and to see the contents of my hard drive published therein. If Mr Slater had stuck to saying what he has in the last few days (with some exceptions), namely that I was a (now former) bankrupt and banned company director (I am now allowed to act as a director of the company I work for BTW) who took $3.5 m of other people’s (all institutions, no individuals) money with him when I went down, I could hardly complain.
Instead, he wrote a series of articles and published attendant comments which accused me of a series of crimes and then made disgusting and denigrating claims against my wife. As recently as Thursday this week she received anonymous text messages stating “Headhunters are waiting”. While the stories were running it was commonplace for her to receive updates of what atrocities were in store for her (all the detail is before the court and Slater knows it). His supporters then amused themselves with online hate speech. He mocked my attempts to reason with him. That is when I decided to sue him. I had no money and legal aid would hardly be appropriate even if it were available so I did it myself. He responded with a high profile law firm.
Looking back it was classic dirty politics. You get the strong sense that someone paid money and then Cameron went on the attack.
Slater’s treatment of Blomfield is arguably similar to what the right say Nicky Hager did to Slater himself in Dirty Politics. Obtain personal data somehow and then publish snippets of it and offering interpretations of what had happened. Although Hager’s work has the benefit of being accurate.
One example was journalism and the other was an unwarranted hatchet job. But the police had things in the wrong order and raided Hager but left Slater alone.
This particular case caused me some personal conflict. I wondered back in 2013 because of the precedent that was being created if the Whaleoil site should properly be considered a media site, vile as it was.
LPrent and I disagreed on this and he schooled me on the issue.
I am happy to admit when I have been owned.
And so the judicial system is now deciding that Slater should make amends.
There is no police involvement. And there has been a jarring double standard. The police raided Nicky Hager’s home seeking allegedly stolen digital data, yet a pretty well identical situation involving Slater and Blomfield’s data and nothing happens.
I still struggle to understand how he was offered diversion for his part in an attempted hack of this site without lprent and others even being asked what they thought, yet Matt Blomfield gets a gun shot in his direction and his desire for justice waits for so long …
In the decision Justice Davidson gave judgment for Blomfield for technical reasons but was scathing about the merits of the defence. From David Fisher at the Herald:
Davison said the statement of defence Slater had arrived with when the trial was due to start failed to identify the facts which would have been used to prove his blog posts were true.
Instead, large piles of evidence had been pointed to which, in a number of cases, relied on “a third party’s allegations about the plaintiff”.
And instead of providing a defence of honest opinion, Slater’s court filings instead repeated his inadequate defence of truth.
Davison said it wasn’t necessary to rule on the merits of the case because of the legal, technical flaws in Slater’s attempted defence.
“However, in my view the documents relied on by the defendants do not provide cogent support for the propositions and conclusions they seek to draw from them in relation to the defences of truth and honest opinion, or the bad reputation of the plaintiff.”
The judgment recorded Slater had made claims in a blog post which included saying the “Blomfield files” would expose “drugs, fraud, extortion, bullying, corruption, collusion, compromises, perjury, deception, (and) hydraulic-ing”.
Davison said Slater’s defence “fell well short” of providing facts which supported the accusations printed.
An example highlighted by Davison was a blogpost by Slater claiming Blomfield had “ripped off” the charity KidsCan.
He said Slater’s own lawyer had conceded “the emails (relied on) … did not establish or support the existence of a conspiracy to ‘rip off’ or defraud the KidsCan charity involving the plaintiff”.
And it appears that Slater, a formerly self titled fearless campaigner against suppression was trying to stop the judgment from being made public.
The judgment was initially suppressed but is now public after a successful challenge by Blomfield’s lawyer Felix Geiringer.
Matt Blomfield is feeling justifiably vindicated.
Asked if he had a message for Slater, Blomfield said: “You cannot do this to a person and suffer no consequence. You cannot make up lies about someone and try to destroy them and then simply walk away.
“You were paid to destroy me. You did irreparable damage to my businesses, to my family, to me. But no matter how long you delay things, your day will come.”
It appears that an appeal has been lodged. But I get the very strong impression that the Justice System thinks this particular case should be finished and Blomfield provided with what is now well overdue justice.
Update: It appears that the Judge on his own motion suppressed the judgment. H/t Pete George in comments.