29 Sep 2016

Colin Craig defamation trial: Jury considers verdicts

8:42 pm on 29 September 2016

The jury in the Colin Craig defamation trial has retired to consider its verdicts, after hearing three weeks worth of evidence.

Colin Craig.

Colin Craig. Photo: SUPPLIED

The former Conservative Party leader is being sued by Taxpayers' Union founder Jordan Williams over comments he made in a widely-distributed leaflet and at a news conference in July last year.

The jury members retired just before midday and will resume their deliberations tomorrow.

They will need to weigh up whether the comments Mr Craig made were defamatory or not.

If they find Mr Craig was in the wrong, the jury members will also decide how much to award in damages to Mr Williams.

Earlier this afternoon, the jury re-watched footage of the news conference at the centre of the case, as well a television interview of Mr Craig.

Read about the Colin Craig defamation case in a nutshell here.

Summing up the case this morning, Justice Katz told the 11 jurors they needed to ignore the extensive media coverage of the case when they were making their decisions.

She said the jury was best placed to decide the facts, not the media nor anyone else.

Who's who?

  • Jordan Williams - The plaintiff in the case and executive director of the Taxpayers' Union. He has accused Colin Craig of defaming him in a leaflet that was sent to 1.6 million households around the country in July 2015.
  • Colin Craig - The defendant and former leader of the Conservative Party. He stepped down as leader in mid-2015 amid renewed speculation about his relationship with his former staffer, Rachel MacGregor.
  • Rachel MacGregor - The woman at the centre of the allegations and Mr Craig's former press secretary. She alleges she was sexually harassed by Mr Craig over a long period of time. She quit her job two days before the 2014 election over a pay dispute.
  • Peter McKnight - Mr Williams' lawyer.
  • Stephen Mills - Mr Craig's lawyer. A defamation expert.
  • Justice Katz - The High Court judge presiding over the trial.
  • John Stringer - Former Conservative Party board member. Gave evidence that there was no smear campaign against Mr Craig. Also said Mr Craig had told board members there was nothing going on with Ms MacGregor.
  • Christine Rankin - Former Conservative Party chief executive and candidate for Epsom in the 2014 election. Told the court she had thought Mr Craig was a moral man who could bring integrity into New Zealand politics.
  • Megan Williams - Mr Williams' mother. Gave tearful evidence defending her son's reputation.
  • Helen Craig - Mr Craig's wife. Gave evidence supporting her husband.
  • Brian Dobbs - former Conservative Party chair

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