Flea Lawyers and Suppression Orders

It is rather timely that Simon Power has decided that it is time to review access to suppression orders. Timely also that David Farrar decided to do a cut and paste on the issue of suppression orders today. And even more timely that Cactus Kate revealed that APN rags have been ordered not do stories on people who might get upset and sue them. In particular Section 2, iii, d which says;

d. There are categories of people who are more inclined to sue if they are the subject of adverse publications, so particular care should be taken in reporting allegations of misconduct against lawyers, doctors, judges, other professionals, politicians, critics and wealthy businessmen/women.

Why do I say timely? Well because some flea bag outfit representing a Dirty Doctor has decided to send me an email. The email itself is laughable.

Let me respond here because no doubt Mr Flea lawyer (BTW What sort of Flea law firm doesn’t have a website?) is now reading my blog like a hawk.

Dear Mr Flea Lawyer,

Thank you for you letter dated 20 November 2009. You raise a number of points which I will address.

  1. You used Dear Sir/Madam, clearly you have no idea as to who or what I am, kindly use Sir in the future. Also Whaleoil is a pseudonym, at no stage have you used my name, so accordingly I dismissed the rest of the letter as a practical joke. However I have taken the courtesy of responding below to your points, such as they are.
  2. I am not the Editor or Owner of the blog or website called ?Whaleoil?. I am the owner of a domain name gotcha.co.nz. The blog to which you refer is called Whale Oil Beef Hooked. Since you seem a little slow might I suggest you say that fast and with a strong Irish accent.
  3. A post was indeed published on 17 November 2009 entitled ?Dirty Deeds done Dirt Cheap by a Dirty Doctor for DML?
  4. You allege that I used defamatory and derogatory descriptions of your client Dr Ian Rapson. It is a matter of opinion that they are defamatory as far as derogatory what else other than a “Dirty Doctor” am I supposed to call a Doctor who, and I quote from the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal documents;
    • In 1986 when employing Ms [HP] as a nurse he did not use a chaperone when seeing women patients.
    • Between 1987 and 2000 when employing Dr [M] and Dr [C] he did not use a chaperone when seeing women patients;
    • In 1999 in the course of discussion with Dr [M] the Doctor said he never used gloves when conducting cervical smears.
    • When seeing Ms [JK] he asked her about details of her sex life when not related to the consultation;
    • He asked Ms [JP] about her ?love life? when not related to the consultation;
    • When treating Ms [HK] he asked her to disrobe when the door was open and to bend over so that he could examine her bottom?.
  5. You again suggest that the post is defamatory and I again suggest to you that that is a matter of opinion that can only be tested in the public forum of an open court.
  6. You ask that I will post no further items that are defamatory of Dr Ian Rapson. Since that is a matter of opinion that needs to be settled before a court I can only confirm that will post nothing that is untrue about Dr Ian Rapson, the Three Kings Medical Centre or Dr Carmel Built.
  7. I cannot and will not comply with your request to not breach the name suppression order. I do not believe in name suppression and will be making recommendations regarding the practice of? lawyers, doctors, judges, other professionals, politicians, critics and wealthy businessmen/women seeking name suppression to hide their misdeeds to what ever parliamentary body is established to look into the issue. I will use this case to highlight precisely why it is my belief that name suppression should be temporary only and permanent in only extremely rare cases.
  8. In regards to the name suppression of Dr Ian Rapson, I note that in the application for permanent name suppression the tribunal quoted Dr R?s counsel as acknowledging “that the fact charges have been dismissed is not in itself a reason for granting a doctor permanent suppression of his name and identifying features.? The decision of the District Court in Harman v MPDT (MP 4275/00 District Court Auckland 3/5/02) is an example of a case in which charges were dismissed but name suppression declined.” Presumably that counsel was you.
  9. They also state that “In particular the Tribunal believes Dr R has difficulty in maintaining appropriate boundaries between his personal and professional lives.? There can be no doubt that publishing Dr R?s name in conjunction with the Tribunal?s findings will cause harm to Dr R and seriously undermine his professional reputation even though the Tribunal has dismissed the charges laid against Dr R.”
  10. Considering that your client has taken it upon himself to stand up publicly against LabTests and call into question their professional ethics and standards then it stands to reason that it would now be in the public interest to discover just exactly what Dr Rapson’s own professional ethics and standard are.
  11. The Tribunal also took into account that there are three factors which the Tribunal has taken into account when assessing public interest considerations in this case.? Those three factors are:
    • Accountability and transparency of the disciplinary process;
    • The importance of freedom of speech;
    • The need to avoid unfairly impugning other doctors.
  12. The finding of the Tribunal was “Not Proven” which is quite some way from Not Guilty.
  13. I invite you to indeed refer this matter to the Solicitor General as it is a timely case with which discuss the appropriateness of suppression orders.
  14. I note that you have only tried to communicate with via email and it seems to be your modus operandi to try to serve papers via the Internet.
  15. I look forward to you attempting to claim damages.
  16. I note that you don’t seem to know how to create a pdf document and that you sent this email and attachment to me in a Word Document format. Unfortunately there is no way for you to guarantee that the attachment I received is the same as the one you sent as the document format you used is alterable.
  17. It would also seem to be a form letter template originally created in 2007. Do you make a habit of simply using form letters as attachments in emails to make demands upon psuedonyms?
  18. I note also that I now have a copy of your logo and your signature and I could, if I was of a mind, now forge letters in your name. It seems utterly ignorant to send an email with an attachment in such a format that would expose your firm to such criminal activity. The trace route of the message shows that it traveled through no less than 7 routers and three isps servers, all of which would have kept a copy, before arriving in my inbox. At any stage this email could have been intercepted and altered. Might I suggest you seek better IT/Legal advice for the creation of legal documents and the sending of same.

I look forward to receiving further correspondence on this matter I have enjoyed responding to you immensely.

Kind Regards