9 Sep 2021

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig loses long-running legal battle

4:35 pm on 9 September 2021

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has lost his 10-year legal battle against a press secretary he sexually harassed.

Colin Craig at the High Court in Auckland,  24 September 2018

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The Court of Appeal had previously dismissed Craig's appeal against a decision of the High Court, ruling that Craig was liable in damages to Rachel MacGregor for defamation, and this has now been upheld by the Supreme Court.

It is the final chapter in a decade-long legal saga over the fallout from the 2014 election campaign, when MacGregor suddenly resigned as Craig's press secretary. The party collapsed after the election.

Craig had previously lost a bid to overturn a court finding that he sexually harassed MacGregor.

That appeal related to a 2019 High Court judgement in Craig's defamation case against MacGregor.

Justice Hinton found Craig and MacGregor had defamed each other to some extent, but found Craig had sexually harassed his former employee.

Craig went to the Court of Appeal to challenge that but the court dismissed the appeal and ordered Craig to pay costs.

Craig further challenged that decision, taking it to the Supreme Court, which today dismissed the latest bid and ordered him to pay MacGregor $2500.

The Court ruled Craig's proposed appeal "raises no issue of general or public importance. Nor, given the factual findings made in both Courts, do we see any appearance of a miscarriage of justice."