Defamation Trials Round II

Within an hour of each other, there was new news in the two big trials of the last year.

The judge in Williams vs Craig has found the amount of damages awarded by the jury was excessive. This is not entirely surprising as it was 50% larger than the previous NZ record – and that award was for what the court labelled the worst defamation in the history of the Commonwealth.

What this means is either the Judge will set the amount of damages (if both parties agree) or there will be a new trial – but only to establish the amount of damages, not on the issue of liability.

In Hagaman vs Little, Mrs Hagaman announced that they will proceed with a new trial on the charges that jury could not agree on. This will be unwelcome to of course. And if Mr Hagaman does die before the next trial, then not a great way to avoid court.

The sensible thing in both cases would be to avoid new trials.

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