Neighbour unfazed by roof abuse

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014
John Edminstin
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

PUBLIC SPAT: A sign with the word ‘‘liar’’ on the roof of Bluff fisherman John Edminstin’s house.

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Only months after Bluff fisherman John Edminstin was sued for defamation when he called former Bluff Community Board chairwoman Jan Mitchell "a lying slut", a sign saying LIAR has appeared on his roof.

The hand-painted white sign with blue letters has been put up on the roof of Edminstin's Foyle St house, which backs on to Mitchell's garden.

The sign faces Mitchell's home, which she shares with her husband Alan.

"It doesn't bother me," Mitchell said.

"John Edminstin can do what he likes on his roof. If he wants to put a sign on his roof, he can."

She would not involve authorities and in fact felt sorry for her neighbour, Mitchell said.

"John has had a terribly stressful time in recent years. He was involved in a sinking of a boat that resulted in the loss of six lives and he lost a defamation case that cost him thousands of dollars," she said.

However, Mitchell said she was worried the sign, that has been up for a couple of weeks, could be a health and safety risk.

"You would need some strong nails and screws to keep it up especially in some of the strong winds we have in Bluff," she said.

Mitchell and her neighbour Edminstin were involved in a very public spat played out in the media and the Invercargill District Court last year.

Edminstin was found to have defamed Mitchell after saying, "right, let's go and get the cops, lying slut" when sitting in the public gallery of a Bluff Community Board meeting she was chairing in October 2011.

Edminstin reportedly had to cough up more than $100,000 in damages and court costs after losing the case.

After indicating he was going to appeal the decision, Edminstin abandoned the idea citing further costs and uncertainty over the outcome.

Bluff Community Board chairman Raymond Fife said he had heard there was a sign on Edminstin's roof with the word "liar" on it.

"My mother lives next to Jan and she can see it very clearly from her house. She [mum] is not very happy," he said.

"I just hope the sign goes away."

Mitchell's lawyer during the defamation case, Roger Eagles, said his former client had brought the sign to his attention but had not requested any legal advice.

Edminstin was not home when visited by The Southland Times and did not answer phone calls yesterday. 

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