10 Aug 2013

Wishart ordered to pay for defamation

3:08 pm on 10 August 2013

Investigative journalist Ian Wishart is one of four people who have been ordered to pay damages for publishing incorrect information about a former New Zealand diplomat in the 2011 book The Hunt.

A jury in the High Court in Wellington found the book was published recklessly and contained defamatory information about Lindsay Smallbone.

The book was co-authored by Mr Wishart and George London.

Mr Smallbone successfully sued Mr Wishart and Mr London, as well as Mr Wishart's publishing company and Mr Smallbone's former wife who provided the information.

The jury awarded Mr Smallbone $270,000 in damages, which will be paid jointly by the four defendants.

Mr Smallbone's lawyer Peter McKnight said the high damages award sends a clear message to publishers of defamatory information.

Mr McKnight said there were 29 issues for the jury, which found in favour of Mr Smallbone on 28 of them.

Mr Wishart would not comment other than to say he is considering an appeal.