The Game of Thrones may have entered its last season, but the Colin Craig Litigation Chronicles continue unabated. The recent Supreme Court decision setting aside the record-breaking damages award against the former politician was – perhaps – the culmination in the long-running, resource-breaking, litany of Colin Craig litigation.
The Supreme Court decision resulted from the four week jury trial in
September 2016 when the jury found Craig had defamed Jordan Williams and awarded a record $1.27m in damages (including $220,000 in punitive damages).
So, just in case readers were wondering where this is all going, or where it all came from, we assembled the Craig List of litigation that has continued to occupy Court time ad infinitum.
The Craig List
- Craig v Drummond & Fairfax New Zealand Ltd (settled)
Craig threatened defamation proceedings against journalist Joshua Drummond, writing for the Waikato Times.
- Craig v Braunias & Fairfax New Zealand Ltd (settled)
Craig threatened defamation proceedings against satirical writer Steve Braunias, (left) writing for the Taranaki Daily News.
- Craig v Uffindell (settled)
Craig threatened defamation proceedings against Ben Uffindell, the editor of a satirical blog website and its operator, The Civilian.
- Craig v Norman DC Wellington CIV-2014-085-248 (settled)
Craig issued proceedings against then Green Party co-leader Russel Norman (left) but discontinued the proceeding following the 2014 election.
2015 – present
- MacGregor v Craig Human Rights Commission (settled)
Craig was faced with claims of sexual harassment and unpaid invoices by Rachel MacGregor, (left) his former press secretary.
Following a mediation on 4 May 2015 facilitated by the Human Rights Commission, the dispute was settled.
- MacGregor v Craig HRRT 040/2015 (concluded)
Craig was sued by Ms MacGregor for breaching statutory confidentiality provisions relating to the settlement of her claims. The Human Rights Review Tribunal awarded Ms MacGregor $120,000 in damages – the highest sum ever awarded by the Tribunal.
The Tribunal made critical findings against Craig who made a payment of $100,000 in costs to MacGregor.
- Williams v Craig HC Auckland CIV-2015-404-1845; CA250/2017 (ongoing)
Craig was sued by Taxpayers’ Union director Jordan Williams (left) for defamation in relation to Craig’s distribution of a booklet distributed to over 1.6 million households, and remarks uttered at a press conference.
The trial and the jury’s verdicts were publicised widely.
Craig applied to the trial judge to set aside the verdicts and give him judgment. On 12 April 2017, Katz J ruled that the jury’s damages award was excessive and ordered a retrial.
- Craig v Slater HC Auckland CIV-2015-404-1923 (ongoing)
Craig sued blogger Cameron Slater (left) of Whaleoil for defamation in respect of a series of Whaleoil blog posts and an interview on Newstalk ZB. Slater counterclaimed for defamation in respect of the same leaflet over which Craig was sued by Williams.
A four-week trial was held in May 2017 before Toogood J.
Craig has appealed, with Julian Miles QC acting in place of Stephen Mills QC. Slater has declared bankruptcy.
- Craig v Social Media Consultants Ltd & Williams DC Auckland CIV-2016-044-329 (ongoing)
The ‘love poem’ case where Craig sued the publisher of the Whaleoil blog and Williams for breach of copyright, in respect of their publication of ‘The Love Poem’ . On application, DCJ Sharp granted summary judgment to Williams and also struck out Craig’s claim as vexatious and an abuse of process. She awarded the defendants indemnity costs.
Craig appealed the decisions. On 14 June 2017, Woolford J allowed the appeal and directed that Craig’s claim be reinstated, although no costs were awarded to Craig. The Judge held that, although Craig had had seven-and-a-half weeks in Court already in various proceedings, he was “entitled to have his day in Court”.
- Craig v Stringer HC Christchurch CIV-2015-409-575 (ongoing)
Craig is suing former Conservative Party board member – and deponent for Stiekema – John Stringer (left) for defamation. On 31 January 2017, the parties reached full and final settlement of the proceeding.
Craig’s settlement with Stringer was publicised widely, including reports by Newshub, New Zealand Herald, and 1News.
Stringer has, on application, been granted leave to reopen the case. Serious allegations have been levelled against Craig, including that he obtained the judgment by fraud. Pursuant to a ruling on 8 June 2017 by Osborne AJ, the proceeding has been reopened and is set to continue.
- Stringer v Craig & ors HC Auckland CIV-2015-404-2524 (ongoing)
Stringer is suing Craig and others for defamation over publication of the same leaflet over which Craig was sued by Messrs Williams and Slater.
Both the above cases have been consolidated and are set own for a four week trial in August 2019. Both parties are self represented and media expert Willie Akel has been appointed as Amicus.
Craig v Stiekema DC Auckland CIV-2015-404-288
The defendant is a former Craig employee. Proceedings were transferred to the District Court where the proceedings were struck out. Craig appealed and Fitzgerald J permitted the appeal, where the case returned to the District Court and was settled.
- Craig v MacGregor HC Auckland CIV-2016-404-2915 (ongoing)
Craig is suing MacGregor for defamation; and MacGregor has counterclaimed for defamation.
This fresh proceeding has been publicised widely, particularly regarding Craig’s decision to file the proceeding in November 2016 yet fail to serve it on MacGregor by June 2017. RNZ reported that Craig said the case would go ahead only if he received an adverse judgment in Craig v Slater.
The three week trial proceeded in November 2018 before Hinton J.
Craig v Williams HC Auckland CIV-2017-404-1065
The Craig case against Jordan Williams , presently stayed but Craig wishes to consolidate with the Williams v. Craig case.
The latest, Supreme Court decision heralds yet further legal machinations as the ongoing Craig List occupies Court time, judicial resources and the ongoing skirmishes involving a man many will already have forgotten except, maybe, for the next reboot.