Cameron Slater defends Colin Craig blog posts

Cameron Slater at the Auckland High Court.
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Cameron Slater at the Auckland High Court.

Cameron Slater has told a court he was simply doing his job when he published allegations Colin Craig had sexually harassed his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor.

The responsibilities of bloggers have come under scrutiny as Slater and Craig sue each other for defamation in the Auckland High Court. 

Craig alleges Slater published articles on his right-wing blog Whaleoil which were unfounded and effectively destroyed his reputation. 

Slater is counter suing Craig for $16.2 million.
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Slater is counter suing Craig for $16.2 million.

But giving his brief of evidence on Tuesday, Slater said he was just a journalist chasing a story.

READ MORE:
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"The difference between my conduct and other journalists is that I never write anything that does not agree with my libertarian and conservative viewpoints."

He said he received payment for individual posts on his blog.

"With regards to payment for posts, this is a standard journalistic endeavour these days. It is commonly called native advertising or sponsored content."

The sudden resignation of MacGregor two days out from the 2014 election had turned Craig into an object of intense media interest.

"I am by profession a journalist; I was simply doing my job. I investigated along with all political media a sex scandal and Colin Craig's attempt to cover it up."

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Earlier on Tuesday, Beverly Adair-Beets, who took over MacGregor's press secretary duties after she resigned, began crying as she read her brief of evidence. 

Craig, who is representing himself, had called Adair-Beets as a witness. 

She described her former boss as having "immense integrity". 

The media storm that enveloped Craig following MacGregor's resignation had been frightening.

"I was very concerned Mr Slater and [former Conservative Party board member] Mr Stringer were going to target me. I was physically shaking and emotional at the time," she said, before bursting into tears. 

A box of tissues was brought to her before Slater's lawyer Brian Henry began his cross examination. 

Adair-Betts soon took exception to Henry's word choice, when he suggested she had been so "besotted" with Craig she hadn't considered whether there was truth in MacGregor's side of the story.

"I'm not sure I would be besotted, what the heck is that? I'm not sure why you would make a statement like that," she said. 

"I've felt for Rachel all along. I have from the moment I met her. For goodness' sake, if you knew where I came from, you would know how inappropriate you've just been."

The trial continues.

 - Stuff

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