Judge seeks help in Whale Oil appeal
A Queen's counsel will be asked to weigh in on Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater's appeal over whether he is part of the media.
Slater's appeal was adjourned today in the High Court in Auckland with Justice Raynor Asher saying the issue was "quite important". It would require an interpretation of an aspect of Section 68 of the Evidence Act for the first time.
Slater and businessman Matthew Blomfield are representing themselves.
The judge said he wanted a defamation expert appointed as amicus curiae - an adviser to the court - to research the law and give him an impartial view before he made his decision.
Justice Asher suggested appointing experienced media lawyer Julian Miles, QC.
Section 68 deals with protection of journalists' sources.
Slater has tried to rely on the section as he defends a defamation suit brought by Blomfield in the District Court.
The District Court said Slater could not rely on the protection and he was ordered to hand over his sources.
Slater won leave to appeal that decision, though the appeal will now not be heard until early June.
Slater is being sued by the businessman for defamation relating to 2012 blog entries.