Joe Karam Comes Out Fighting – By John Bowie – “Briefcase” Column, National Business Review – Joe Karam, the long time backer, sponsor, friend and advocate of David Bain, has issued defamation proceedings against TradeMe, owned by Fairfax, and defendants who set up the “Justice for Robin Bain” (formerly “David Bain is Guilty”) Facebook group and the “David Bain: Counterspin” website. Also being sued is second defendant, Vic Purkiss of Tairua, who allegedly contributed to all sites, plus contributing comments about Karam on YouTube. The two sets of proceedings, issued in May by Karam’s solicitors Duncan Cotterill and with Bain defence lawyer Michael Reed QC as counsel, claim aggravated and exemplary damages for a host of comments posted on the websites and message boards.
Among others, the pleadings claim the allegations said Karam was “rorting” the legal aid system, committing a fraud on the New Zealand public, suffered mental impairment, used threatening behaviour and Nazi-style tactics in support of the Bain case and tactics similar to those used by cults like scientology. Apart from Purkiss, the other named defendant is Kent Parker of Havelock North, who allegedly administered and published the Facebook and Counterspin sites and of course Trade Me Limited. Interestingly, Fairfax allegedly refuted requests from Karam’s lawyers to remove “vitriolic, extremely offensive” defamatory comments from their message boards on the basis that they “encourage the discussion of genuinely held opinions of relevance to the public”. An interesting test of press freedom, honest opinion and the like is in the works, it seems.