No regrets

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has no regrets about sending out a leaflet that a jury found defamed Taxpayers’ Union founder Jordan Williams, he says.
Mr Williams had accused Mr Craig of defaming him in comments made at a news conference and in the leaflet distributed to 1.6 million households around the country in July last year.

The jury has awarded a total of $1.27 million in damages to Mr Williams.

However, Justice Katz has not yet entered a judgement because Mr Craig’s lawyer, Stephen Mills, is seeking leave to set aside the verdict and the amount of damages awarded.

No doubt lots of legal gymnastics will now take place outside of the jury’s purview. ?One can imagine this has been the strategy from the start. ?

Mr Craig told Checkpoint the verdict was totally unexpected and disappointing, and an appeal was very likely if the judge did not set aside the verdict and damages.

He was entitled to respond to attacks made against him and his views on the matter had not changed, he said.

He still held the view that dirty politics were unacceptable in New Zealand and shouldn’t be condoned in any way, he added.

Mr Williams’ lawyer, Peter McKnight, said it was extraordinary to hear Mr Craig had no regrets.

“Obviously the jury felt differently,” he told Checkpoint.

Mr Craig’s comments could be further defaming Mr Williams, he said.

“Yes, well, he had better talk to his lawyers before he speaks to the media the way he just did, because I find that extremely concerning.”

Mr McKnight said his client would be seeking costs from Mr Craig, which he estimated could be as high as $1 million, but that would be a matter for the judge.

Mr McKnight sent the jury away with the idea that they had to send Mr Craig the message that his behaviour, including seeking to redress his hurt ego through the courts, had to stop.

The jury clearly think that Mr Craig needs to go back to being a property manager and to stop harassing people.

He can’t get a court to make him the leader of the Conservative party again.

He can’t get the public to think of him as someone who did not make poor judgements about pursuing a woman in her 20’s that was in his employ while married.

If there is anything that is “very, very surprising” it is that Mr Craig considers himself deeply wronged and only fighting this through the courts right to the end will see him clear his name.