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Craig's accuser challenged on stand

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/09/2016

The man who says he was defamed by Colin Craig has told a court he'd hadn't actually read a saucy text message allegedly sent by the former Conservative Party leader to his press secretary when he told party officials.

Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams is suing Mr Craig for defamation over comments Mr Craig made in a widely distributed leaflet and at a press conference in July, 2015.

Mr Williams' lawyers say Mr Craig had claimed their client had spread lies and fabricated documents explaining the reasons behind the sudden resignation of Mr Craig's press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, before the 2014 national election.

Earlier, Mr Williams told the court Mr Craig had sent a text message to Ms MacGregor which read: "I slept well because I dreamed I was between your naked legs".

But under cross examination from Craig's lawyer Stephen Mills, QC, on Thursday, Mr Williams said he hadn't actually read the text himself when he told the party's chief about it.

He also said the wording he had shared with others was not completely accurate and didn't contain the word naked.

But he said he had seen Mr Craig's handwritten letters and stood by telling the party out of concern for Ms MacGregor.

On Wednesday, former Conservative Party chief executive Christine Rankin told the jury at the High Court at Auckland that when she asked Mr Craig if he had sent Ms MacGregor a card with the "sleeping better" comment "he hesitated for a moment and said: 'A card? Absolutely not'."

Mr Williams says Ms MacGregor had confided him about alleged sexual harassment by Mr Craig at the time and that he told senior party members out of concern for her.

On Thursday he said he had also been partly fuelled by anger over what he saw as hypocrisy.

"I thought he was completely unsuitable to lead a conservative party," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, one of the jurors in the case was discharged after realising he knew a witness scheduled to give evidence, meaning the case will proceed with 11.

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