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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Katz has ruled that the jury in the Jordan Williams v Colin Craig case were far too generous and has effectively rescinded their proposed award of damages to Carter.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?
    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

          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?

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