DO FACTS COUNT?

Veteran columnist Rosemary McLeod whose writings I enjoy and mostly agree with, chimed in today re my Maihi libel case.

Specifically, she complained that numerous people are defamed on social media but can’t afford to do anything about it. “Access to justice is for the rich” she said, citing my case.

But note this.  She then added “Jones has a history of litigation”.

I’m sure she didn’t mean the conventional pursuit of trade debts by my company over the past 60 years.

Let me repeat her assertion.  “Jones has a history of litigation”, the obvious inference being that I was the plaintiff.

Prior to Ms Maihi I’ve sued in Court precisely one individual over the past 60 years, that after he wrote that a transaction involving me was the greatest commercial scam in New Zealand history.

In my evidence I said I’d have agreed with this had his facts been right.  Specifically, he’s (mistakenly) overstated the amount involved by an extraordinary 1200%.  Both the Judge and jury couldn’t hide their contempt for him and awarded me a substantial amount.  That sole case amounts, according to Rosemary, to “a history of litigation”.

Is an apology from Rosemary forthcoming do you think?  Don’t hold your breath.

Journalists seem to feel they have a license to libel and take umbrage when pursued for it.

Consider this.  In the late 1980’s the Australian Financial Review ran a 2 page feature on companies being late issuing Half Yearly Reports.  It concluded saying of the 8000 listed companies, by far and away the worst offender is RJI.

In fact we’d been the first to issue a Half Yearly report, shareholders having received it 2 days after the financial year date.  Furthermore, being a hard covered glossy publication it was easily the best of the 8000 companies’ efforts.

An apology?  Come on.

Or the unmissed Auckland Star which about the same time also wrote a 2 page feature on listed companies using unjustified Stock Exchange announcements as publicity devices.  And again, by far the worst offender, the rag asserted, was RJI.

At the time we were arguing with the Stock Exchange boss Roger Gill, he complaining because we’d never issued a single Stock Exchange announcement.

An apology?  Yeah right.

A month elapsed and our share-price suddenly surged.  Roger wrote saying this was an appropriate moment for a chairman’s explanatory Stock Exchange announcement.

I sent one saying “the recent spike in our share-price was solely due to the Stock Exchange’s CEO, Roger Gill’s, frenzied personal purchasing of our shares.”  Always a good sport Roger released it with an appropriate witticism in response.

The media are forever asserting the importance of their function demands an immunity from libel laws.  The day they begin acknowledging their errors is the day they might make some headway in this quest.

Mindful of that I’ll keep readers informed on Rosemary’s response, or, non-response.

4 Comments

I recall in one of your books where you referred to a 600lb Sioux squaw named Rosemary McLeod who was married to 100lb ex jockey. And the book was called True Facts!!!

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I remember that case, I think it was against a Kapiti editor & a $200k award from memory. Re Ms Maihi, Perhaps you could abide or pass off the servitude part as outlandish banter, but to go on & say “If any Maori tries arguing that if he/she didn’t have a slight infection of Irish blood or whatever, they might be better for it, the answer is no sunshine”. That targeting, baseless rationale clearly placing a different race to yours beneath others is clear cut. There is no ambiguity and you make no secret of your disdain for Maoridom. It is absolutely racist and should not be tolerated by a civil society. There was never a chance you would come out from the litigation with anything resembling a victory, bowing out was the only choice.
I’ve own a good stock of your books, followed your writing, commentary & career with great interest & for a time, I have been able to set aside this faux elitism you exhibit because you’ve been able to offer more valuable material in return. This has finished. Now I have to get off the “Jones bus”, you abandoned your witnesses, you didn’t hear out the defendant in your suit and you are yet issue an apology for your own hubris. So before putting the boot into the media, perhaps look to your own necessary apologies.

The only thing remaining, is whether this petition to remove your knighthood will result in any action. If Doug Graham is anything to go by, you might be safe.

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    Your comment proves that Sir Robert in writing a modest satire was wasting his time.
    The sentence you quote, if you could only understand it, says that a Full-blooded Maori is no better person than one who has mixed ancestry.
    If you think you that is a racist comment, then your education in plain English has been deficient.
    But it is much more fun to join a bandwagon of hate, isn’t it?
    Sir Robert took sensible decisions to bring, continue, and then resolve his case, to protect values which still mean something to many, though seemingly not you.
    Finally, it is grossly absurd for Ms Maihi, or you, to suggest that a single article by anyone – whether its humour succeeds or fails, is even a starting point for loss of a knighthood.Try Googling “Degradation” on Wikipedia if you want to know what is required.

    Like

Aside from the obvious statement that wealthy individuals can afford to pay lawyers to defend their good name and reputation, Rosemary McLeod gets some other things wrong in her article. The prosecution of Roger Stone is an ideologically driven abuse of judicial power for obstruction of imaginary crimes, namely humourous and idle threats to his friend the left-wing comedian and character Randy Credico who was hardly a crucial witness in the farcical Mueller investigation. Mitt Romney is no saint and would likely be implicated in any investigation into Ukrainian graft as would Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and his vote was probably an insurance policy so that the Democrats wouldn’t go after him. I think Rosemary needs to do more research outside of her failing MSM bubble.

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