15 May 2018

Decade-long defamation case comes to an end

7:05 pm on 15 May 2018

A confidential settlement has been reached on a long-running defamation case that began in the small Marlborough township of Rai Valley.

Coat of Arms inside the High Court in Rotorua

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

In a High Court ruling last year, former Rai Valley school principal Loretta Newton was found to have been defamed by the school's former librarian Faye Leov and her husband, Bernard Leov.

The decade-long dispute started after Mrs Leov believed she was being bullied by Mrs Newton.

After both left the school over the dispute, Mrs Leov and Mr Leov commissioned a book in 2012 about the alleged serial bullying and destructive behaviour.

The court found the Leovs responsible for sending out defamatory statements about Ms Newton in letters sent by the commissioned author, seeking material for a book.

The Leovs appealed the decision, but a statement from lawyer Christopher Grigg said settlement has now been reached.

"Since that appeal was lodged there have been discussions between the representatives of Mrs Newton and those of Mr and Mrs Leov and a settlement has been reached, the terms of which are confidential.

"As a result of that settlement the proceedings are now at an end, although Mr and Mrs Leov wish to record that they have never accepted the findings or terms of the judgment," the statement said.