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'Miscarriage of justice' in Craig case

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

A High Court judge says the damages awarded against Colin Craig in a defamation case were too high and a miscarriage of justice has occurred.

In September, a jury ordered the former Conservative Party leader to pay Taxpayer Union founder Jordan Williams $1.27 million over comments made in a press conference and a leaflet.

Justice Sarah Katz, in a decision released on Wednesday, noted that it was the highest award in a defamation action in New Zealand.

She says she is satisfied that the sum was well outside the range that could reasonably have been justified in the circumstances in the case.

"The consequence is that a miscarriage of justice has occurred," she said.

"The jury's verdicts must therefore be set aside and a retrial ordered, unless both parties are willing to consent to my substituting a new damages award in place of the jury's award."

She ordered both parties to file memoranda by 3pm on April 26 advising whether they consented to the court substituting its own award of damages for the jury's.

If confirmation was not received by then that both parties consented, then the jury's verdicts would be set aside and proceedings set down for a retrial.

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