Suppression was lifted at 5 pm yesterday on the proceedings and decisions of the Human Rights Review Tribunal pertaining to Rachel McGregor and Colin Craig.
They can only be described as absolutely damning for Colin Craig.
It is important to note that these proceedings were not made available to the jury in the defamation trial. They made their decision without even knowing about these. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been for Craig if they had known.
The first decision is here. McGregor filed her claim of sexual harrassment on the day she resigned, 18 September 2014. A settlement was made on 4 May 2015 which was confidential. The terms included no comment to the media other than “the parties have met and resolved their differences”. The settlement included an apology from Craig for any inappropriate conduct on his part to MacGregor.
The ruling reveals that Craig increased the interest rate on the “loan” to MacGregor from 4% to 29% after she lodged the sexual harassment claim.
Craig them undertook various media activities in June and July 2015 which breached this agreement. Craig then on 31 August tried to get the settlement agreement voided on the grounds McGregor had broken confidentiality. They found she had not. She had told a few very close people of what had happened (including Jordan Williams) but this was before the mediation and settlement. Since the settlement she observed the terms entirely. So Craig failed to get the settlement voided.
The Tribunal did find that Craig breached the settlement. Specifically:
the breaches of the 4 May 2015 settlement agreement have been deliberate, systematic, egregious and repeated.
They also note:
We accept the submission for Ms MacGregor that far from turning his mind to how little he could damage Ms MacGregor, Mr Craig was controlling the narrative. He was exercising power and control over what was in the media by carefully releasing what he thought would save himself, what he thought would save his position and save his reputation. The released information was selected not after a careful navigation to avoid breaching the confidentiality as little as possible, but to paint himself as a person who had been falsely accused by a woman who was clearly incapable of managing her money and a fair inference was that what she was seeking through the sexual harassment complaint was money
They further find:
The breaches of the confidentiality obligations have been deliberate, sustained and calculated.
And in his filings he said:
Mr Craig’s claimed consideration for Ms MacGregor must be seen against the fact that his brief of evidence, as filed and read into evidence, was correctly described by Ms MacGregor as nothing short of a vilification of her. He referred to her as unreliable, as dishonest, as of wanting a sexual relationship with him, being obsessed with him and referring to her supposed mental health issues.
Mr Craig is wealthy, well-connected and well advised. At all times he has been in a more powerful position than Ms MacGregor. He has used his power and his wealth to conduct a calculated campaign of breaches for the sole purpose of bolstering, or attempting to bolster, his own reputation. He has disregarded his obligations under the Human Rights Act and the settlement agreement.
Each utterance has had the effect of diminishing the reputation of Ms MacGregor by portraying her as variously a mistress, a trouble-maker, a woman who cannot manage her own life, a woman with no financial management skills, who is mentally unwell and, in evidence before the Tribunal, a liar and a blackmailer.
They then awarded damages of $128,780 – the highest amount ever awarded in New Zealand by the Tribunal for emotional harm
This is on top of the $36,000 of the original settlement and around $100,000 of MacGregor’s costs.