Blogger Cameron Slater fined for 'reckless' article amendments about businessman

Blogger Cameron Slater runs the Whale Oil blog.

Blogger Cameron Slater runs the Whale Oil blog.

Blogger Cameron Slater has been fined for amendments on an article about an Auckland businessman.

Justice Raynor Asher in the High Court in Auckland previously found articles about businessman Matthew Blomfield were technically in contempt.

Blomfield had accused Slater of publishing confidential information on his blog and failing to adhere to an agreement not to publish anything more unless it was in the public domain or from a reputable source.

Cameron Slater, aka Whale Oil.
David White

Cameron Slater, aka Whale Oil.

The businessman submitted the blogger should serve jail time.

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In a new, and final, judgment, Justice Asher fined Cameron $1500 for the publication of one amended article and ordered he pay 60 per cent of costs.

The case has been around since 2012.

Proceedings were adjourned to give the blogger an opportunity to make the articles compliant.

The court's decision said Slater continued to host an article that was found to be in contempt and hosted three other articles, which the court said were not a breach of the agreement with Blomfield.

"Given that Mr Slater has now removed all material that I have found to be in breach of the undertaking and given my finding that the three other articles were not in total a breach of the undertaking [Blomfield] has withdrawn his submission that Mr Slater should be imprisoned."

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Slater submitted the main blog post was an error of judgment.

The judge referred to publication as a minor contempt, albeit contempt nevertheless, and said it was also contempt to fail to comply with an earlier judgment ordering removal of the article.

"I do not consider Mr Slater deliberately set out to defy the court in continuing to publish the first article...Nevertheless, I do think there is some force in Mr Blomfield's submissions that Mr Slater has been testing the boundaries of the court directions.

"It was reckless of him to leave that publication on his website with only two changes."

The relevant material has been removed from the blog, court documents say.

 - Stuff

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