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NBR Appeal To Claim Serious Threat To NZ Media in Heavy Joyce Costs Award With Chilling Effect

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NBR are appealing the award of $269,000 costs award made in favour of former National Minister Steven Joyce, after he had won a defamation case against the newspaper involving a column written by Matthew Hooton and involving Tweets and apologies.

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Justice Jagose

Justice Pheroze Jagose heard the case last year and made the decision that Joyce had been defamed in respect of a column written by PR operator and columnist Matthew Hooton in early 2018 (who apologised and retracted his statement as well as making as $5000 payment in costs) but found that NBR and its publisher Todd Scott had separately defamed Steven Joyce.

The separate defamation involved tweets from Scott that were found to have defamed Joyce and are one of the first defamation cases against as public figure in New Zealand via Twitter.

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The appeal is being taken by Wellington defamation experts Peter McKnight (right) and Ali Romanos.  Morrison Kent appeared on the original hearing.

It is believed that the appeal will argue that Justice Jagose’s decision contained serious misconceptions about defamation law principles that, if left undisturbed, will have a highly damaging effect upon political discussion in New Zealand, as well as serious consequences for the appellants.

The appellants are also claiming that the judge had wrongly found the column to be defamatory and had attributed his own meaning to the column, arguing that the decision would have a chilling effect upon public political discussion in New Zealand.

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