Craig wins rehearing in Williams defamation case

Written By: - Date published: 5:09 pm, April 12th, 2017 - 18 comments
Categories: colin craig - Tags:

Another day and another fascinating decision concerning defamation.  In this case Justice Katz has ruled that the jury in the Jordan Williams v Colin Craig case were far too generous and has effectively rescinded their proposed award of damages to Carter.

He has been rather scathing of Mr Craig, ruling that there was sufficient evidence to support a finding that Mr Craig had been motivated by ill will.  As in the Hagaman v Little case this was relevant because qualified privilege would otherwise have protected Mr Craig from liability.

But the essence of his decision is that the award of the full amount claimed by the jury was excessive.  The relevant parts of the decision is included in these paragraphs.

[53] In my view the fact that the jury awarded the full amount of damages sought by Mr Williams strongly supports the inference that the jury must have concluded that Mr Williams was entirely successful in his claim, or almost entirely successful. He was not. Several of the defamatory imputations he pleaded were proved to be true at trial. For example, the allegation that Mr Craig had sent sext messages to Ms MacGregor was a key plank of Mr Williams’ attack on Mr Craig’s reputation. Mr Williams pleaded that Mr Craig defamed him by saying that he (Mr Williams) had lied when he told people that Mr Craig had sent sext messages to Ms MacGregor. The undisputed evidence at trial, however, was that Mr Williams did tell a number of people that Mr Craig had sent Ms MacGregor “sext” messages and that this was not true. This information had a significant impact on those who heard it and was a key factor in the pressure on Mr Craig to step down as leader of the Conservative Party.

[54] It was open to the jury to conclude that, initially at least, Mr Williams may have been mistaken as to the existence of sext messages from Mr Craig to Ms MacGregor. The over whelming weight of the evidence at trial was inconsistent with any continued mistaken belief, however, as pressure mounted on Mr Williams to produce evidence of the sext messages, which he was unable to do. Further, Mr Williams told at least one witness that he had seen copies of sext messages, when he had not.

[55] Mr Williams also pleaded that Mr Craig had defamed him by saying that he (Mr Williams) had lied by falsely alleging that Mr Craig had made a pay-out (or pay-outs) of large sums of money to silence Mr Craig’s victim(s) of sexual harassment. The evidence established that Mr Williams did tell people that Mr Craig had paid large sums of money to settle Ms MacGregor’s sexual harassment claim. Mr Williams acknowledged, however, that he knew that any settlement sum was likely to be small, not the large figure he had mentioned.

[56] There was also undisputed evidence at trial that provided at least some support for a number of the other defamatory imputations pleaded, such as imputations that Mr Williams had been dishonest, deceitful, and could not be trusted. Examples of undisputed evidence at trial that supported such imputations included Mr Williams’ admitted breach of his undertaking to Ms MacGregor to keep her information and documents as confidential as if he were her lawyer, his disclosing of her confidential documents to Messrs Day and Dobbs within hours of Ms MacGregor requesting their return, his lying to Ms MacGregor about going to Hamilton to meet with Messrs Day and Dobbs, his claims that he had seen copies of “sexts” from Mr Craig to Ms MacGregor when he had not, his creation of the nom de plume “Concerned Conservative” to provide confidential information and a draft blog post to Cameron Slater for publication on the Whale Oil website, and his subsequent denials to Ms MacGregor when he was confronted regarding this.

[57] In my view, the necessary inference from the fact that the jury awarded the maximum sum of damages available to them is that they ignored my direction not to take into account any meanings that Mr Craig proved were true. If the jury had correctly followed that direction, an award of the maximum amount of damages sought could not have been justified.

The parties have been asked to file memoranda indicating if they can consent to the Court substituting its own award of damages.  If they do not agree then a retrial will be necessary.

No doubt Jordan Williams will be upset with the decision.  His bank balance must be hurting.  Normally defamation trials are only for those with large resources.

In an earlier post written at the time the trial was being heard I said this:

… the really sad thing is that the woman in the middle is having to relive something she clearly does not want to.

She is the innocent person here.  One party to the litigation is alleged to have sexually harrassed her.  Maybe he did, maybe he did not.  Maybe in a human way they became close.  Either way it appears that Colin Craig stepped over the line, especially for the leader of a party that promotes conservative moral values.

The other party also appears to have stepped over the line.  Feeding information gained from a friend to a site specializing in sewer politics is not the sort of thing that friends do.

To both of them can I suggest that they immediately discontinue their proceedings.  And pay the anticipated further legal fees to a suitable charity.  I suggest Salvation Army.  The lawyers will understand.  At least I hope so.

The world will be a better place if they do so.  If they feel the need to deal with their testosterone levels then they should find a private boxing ring.

This still seems to me to be the best way to resolve their differences.

18 comments on “Craig wins rehearing in Williams defamation case”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    I like the fact the Jordan Williams’ dishonesty and untrustworthiness is now a part of the judicial record.

    Yay for Rawshark and Nicky Hager.

  2. dukeofurl 2

    Baffling to me that the trial judge allows the damages award and then sets it aside.

    Anyway will land like a brick on Slaters head as he was hoping to rinse Craig of more millions in his upcoming trial.
    He has a further case as a defendant against Blomfield, but in that Slater has used every trick in the legal book to delay or wear down Blomfield.
    On top of that he is being sued by various health researchers

    It will be an interesting year, perhaps Slater could looking at a bolthole at his place of birth , Fiji.!

  3. greywarshark 3

    His version of Bahama-rama relaxation. Part of the South Pacific havens, tax havens that is which bring Fiji and Noo Zeeland in close friendship, along with rugby and civilian management.

  4. Once ..whatever 4

    “No doubt Jordan Williams will be upset with the decision. His bank balance must be hurting.”
    He should just call in INTERNATIONAL RESCUE. Trump will launch Stingrays 1 & 2 and we’ll have it all resolved by breakfast.
    ….oh shit! You mean there isn’t REALLY such a thing?
    Dang!
    Tuff shit Troy

  5. dukeofurl 5

    This was interesting

    “his creation of the nom de plume “Concerned Conservative” to provide confidential information and a draft blog post to Cameron Slater for publication on the Whale Oil website, and his subsequent denials to Ms MacGregor when he was confronted regarding this.”

    This is dirty politics all over again, but the object this time was Craig and instead of the beehive running through Jason Ede, its Williams who is the puppet master.

    A retrial with all this coming out wouldnt be in Williams interest, and expensive for him.
    Craig has the whip hand as he could force Williams to drop the case, if he pushed for a retrial?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      There are some beautifully crafted decisions like this. Judge David Harvey’s decision in the prosecution of Slater was also a classic. Good judges know how to understate something yet lay out the hypocrisy for all to see. And judgments attract privilege! You can quote them to your heart’s content.

      • ropata 5.1.1

        That wasn’t one of them. A tangled mess of he said she said. I could write better. Verbosity is the sign of unclear thinking.

        • Hanswurst 5.1.1.1

          Verbosity is the sign of unclear thinking.

          Using words to mean what they mean, however, is simply a sign of having a vocabulary.

  6. Pedant 6

    Williams and McGregor, Bevan Cheung and Wewege, Rachinger and his horrible treatment of Jess Williams.
    All have one connection – SOS (servants of Slater). Messing with females and breaching their trust for the benefit of intel for Slater.

  7. Treetop 7

    This is what happens when politics are played out in a courtroom.

  8. saveNZ 8

    The judge is right – the award for Damages was excessive.

    The case proved Jordan is an even bigger scum bag and misogynist that Craig. When other public men in this country are out breaking women’s backs and pulling their pony tails in public and getting away with it – you have to wonder – that the scale of Craig is on the mild side and in my mind Jordan is the bigger scum bag – Craig seemed motivated by awkward feelings of love while Jordan was just a misogynist opportunist.

    Judge was right as well to suggest that the lawyer’s also donate their anticipated legal fees to charity – half the time it is the avaricious lawyers making everything worse so they can profit that is part of the problem.

  9. Tanz 9

    awesome, yes. Good one. His party almost garnered as many votes as Labour last election, not bad for someone new to the stacked game. Our progressive MSM are so unbalanced, especially at election time. But progressives and the MSM are now the establishment – you can have it.

    • joe90 9.1

      His party almost garnered as many votes as Labour last election, not bad for someone new to the stacked game.

      3.97 % ain’t almost 25.13%.

  10. Tanz 10

    25.13%. And that party is considered the opposition. Unreal. 3.97 percent, pretty good for a new party, one in three people voted for them.

    • Andre 10.1

      “3.97 percent, pretty good for a new party, one in three people voted for them.”

      Alternative math?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    11 hours ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    12 hours ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    12 hours ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    19 hours ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    2 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    1 week ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago