Out-of-court settlement in Colin Craig defamation case against John Stringer

Colin Craig leaves the High Court in Christchurch following a hearing into his defamation case against former ...
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Colin Craig leaves the High Court in Christchurch following a hearing into his defamation case against former Conservative Party board member John Stringer. The case has since been settled out of court with a confidential financial payment.

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig's defamation action against former party board member John Stringer has been settled out of court.

Stringer says he will "pursue most vigorously" a counter-defamation claim against Craig and wife Helen though, due to go to trial in June.

The settlement reached on Monday included a financial payment, the amount and recipient of which was confidential.

John Stringer at the Auckland High Court in September. He plans to continue his counter-defamation claim against former ...
CHRIS MCKEEN

John Stringer at the Auckland High Court in September. He plans to continue his counter-defamation claim against former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.

Witnesses for a three-week, judge-alone trial set down for March have been told they no longer need to give evidence.

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Stringer said he was pleased with the settlement. Craig was contacted for comment but declined to respond.

Craig sued Stringer for $1.5 million over allegedly defamatory comments he made on television and in his blog last year.

In turn, Stringer and Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams sued Craig in an Auckland court action over a pamphlet Craig distributed last July. 

Cameron Slater was also counter-suing Craig after he took the Whale Oil blogger to court for publishing a copy of a poem he wrote to his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor.

Stringer said he had received legal advice that the Auckland case was "very strong" and was emboldened by the historic $1.27m awarded to Williams in his defamation case against Craig.

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"I'm extremely confident because it's already been tested in court. I don't think Cameron [Slater] and I would have any problems."

In September, a jury determined Craig defamed Williams when he distributed a pamphlet alleging Williams was involved in a campaign to oust him as party leader. Craig's appeal of the verdict is due to be decided in April.

The high profile trial centred largely on a sexual harassment case MacGregor took to the Human Rights Commission in 2014.

She said she resigned from her job because Craig allegedly sexually harassed her and "repeatedly refused" to discuss her pay rate. 

Stringer said he and Craig never had an unpleasant or aggressive relationship, despite the ongoing litigation.

"We said some really strong things to each other but we have always been able to stay in the same room and discuss things amicably.

"I had tried for a long time [to settle the case]. I didn't think it was in anyone's interest to go to court on this matter."

The defamation trial between Craig and Slater is scheduled for May, with Stringer's case due to be heard in June.

 - Stuff

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