Cameraman may sue Key for defamation
Sat, 19 Nov 2011 6:13p.m.
By Tova O’Brien
The cameraman at the centre of the teapot tape saga has upped the stakes by threatening to sue the Prime Minister for defamation if he does not get an apology.
But a legal expert says suing anybody in New Zealand is a long, costly and stressful process, and suing the John Key would be much worse than normal.
“I’m not going to reward news of the world tactics,” Mr Key said earlier this week. “It’s an illegal attempt to get information and that's the principle.”
ACT Party leader Don Brash also says the recording is illegal, “certainly unethical”.
Everyone has an opinion on the teapot tape. But it is comments like these that freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose says have damaged his reputation and his integrity.
Associate professor in law at Canterbury University, Ursula Cheer says accusing someone of criminal behaviour is very serious.
“It's one of the most serious criminal categories.”
So Mr Ambrose wants Mr Key to publicly say "I’m sorry, I didn't mean it".
Mr Key would not speak today, but it has put him in a tricky position. If he does not apologise Mr Ambrose is more likely to sue.
If he does and defamation proceedings still go ahead, it would give Mr Ambrose a massive leg up in a case that would ordinarily have him on the back foot.
“They're costly and they take a fair bit of time,” says Ms Cheer. “They can be quite stressful so there's all of that, and suing a very public figure who'd have the best legal advice – I think is something to face.”
It would not be the first time. In 2001 then prime minister Helen Clark was sued for defamation when she wrongly called John Yelash a murderer when it was manslaughter he had been convicted of. Yelash got $55,000. If successful Mr Ambrose could expect the same.
There are three lines of defence the Prime Minister and his party could take; truth, honest opinion or public interest.
Mr Ambrose's lawyers suspect the they will opt for honest opinion. But opinions still have to be based on fact, so the government has been warned to start gathering its evidence.
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21/11/2011 10:16:11 a.m.
Public meeting invited by the two deadbeats and now key and banks are complaining whast a pair of babies
20/11/2011 8:29:52 p.m.
Put me on that jury and i will show the media how much he won't get.
20/11/2011 2:15:55 p.m.
Rich Walker wrote:
Key is the one who dreamed up the brilliant idea of meeting Banks in a public setting. If he was then even more silly to discuss potentially embarrassing matters in that public place he has only himself to blame for the mess that has followed. You wouldn't even need the tapes, you'd just need to hire a lip-reading expert to go through the video to learn much of what was said. Why did Key not realise this before he decided to have his ludicrous public cuppa? Because, plainly, he isn't the sharpest knife in the political drawer. When will his doting admirers realise that the emperor is wearing no clothes?
20/11/2011 12:41:59 p.m.
Lol, this guy is on a very slippery slope.
20/11/2011 12:29:24 p.m.
I smile at the lefties that blame anything/everyone on any slight that affects Goff/Labour as Key to blame and national in particular and the old nugget of MSM being in the pocket of the Govt., but when it happens to Key/National it's all him and he's manipulating everyone...c'mon gotta laugh you leftie muppets...look inwards at your own party for failings, not outward at anything/everything...are you all children?
20/11/2011 12:01:18 p.m.
No comparison between the 'News of the world' Phone hacking - hacking a private phone, and the recording of a political conversation by a Journalist who was invited at the Teapot. It was Clever, skilful Journalism. That is what Journalist for.
20/11/2011 11:35:14 a.m.
Andrew Baker wrote:
Key is desperate to keep what he said in the public domain out of the public domain. It's as laughable as the time he told that BBC interviewer NZ was mostly 100 per cent clean and green. (How can anything be MOSTLY 100 per cent?) Lol, that Brit interviewer laughed his head off in JK's face. Then our PM makes that witless comment about the police having the time to investigate thanks to the Nats' policies reducing crime. Honestly, the guy is clueless. I still can't forgive his cringe-making appearance on the Letterman show. Literally made himself -- and us -- a laughing stock. I can't understand why people back him because all he has is that smile -- the same qualifications as the local village idiot.
20/11/2011 10:01:38 a.m.
After this, only suckers would believe that the recording was accidental!
20/11/2011 9:40:35 a.m.
What a bunch of idiocy from 3 News, trying to keep this story going at all costs.
If the network cared more about facts and less about spin, then the following would be included in this article:
1. Defamation is a very easy claim to defend, because the defence of truth or honest opinion only has to be proved to the civil standard (i.e. balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt). Hence, Mr Ambrose could be acquitted in criminal proceedings and lose here (and how would that look).
2. Even if Mr Ambrose can get free representation, he will still be liable for costs if he loses. Can Mr Ambrose meet those costs? Could he give security for them?
As I said, you would expect to see such questions asked by a different network - but I guess not from what's clearly become the Fox News of NZ Media.
20/11/2011 8:36:29 a.m.
Politics is a dirty game and all this camera man has done is stoop to their level. He now wants to claim his "integrity" has been damaged? Get over it as well as get over the tapes people!!!! This is so boring and only Winston is winning! Do we really want him back in government?
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