Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lucia David Bain could sue for defamation

Think David Bain is guilty and you say so online? Well, you could get sued. Even if you thought that before the verdict was in. It appears there is no right to a personal opinion on the rightness or wrongness of a verdict in NZ - once it has been decided, everyone has to fall into line and think the same way.

David Bain is innocent.

Um, yeah. The whole think smacks of a redefinition of history ala communist style.

And I though freedom of speech was something NZ had?

Related Link: Facebook users claiming Bain is guilty could be sued ~ Stuff

9 comment(s):

Gooner said...

I tend to agree Lucyna except the law has said for a long time that to announce someone a criminal when that is not proven is highly defamatory. Of course Rickards falls into the same category.

KG said...

I imagine if a person were to write that in their opinion the jury got it wrong they'd be ok Lucia?

Gooner said...

Not necessarily KG. To form a defence an opinion has to be fair comment based on a matter of public interest (probably is here); honestly believed(again probably is); but also based on facts that are known and provable in the circumstances. That is the killer blow I think.

KG said...

Hmm..that's interesting Gooner. I understood it wasn't a criminal offence to hold an opinion that appears to fly in the face of the known facts.
Perhaps publishing it is criminal? If that's the case I don't think free speech is very well served by the defamation laws as they stand.

Gooner said...

And Nicky Hager would agree with you if you read his recent post on his defamation case against Crosby et al. On that note, knowing KG agrees with Nicky Hager, it's goodnight from me.

ZenTiger said...

I read his recent post, and wasn't impressed by his argument. It seems he thinks it's fine to fight fire with fire if the firefighter's cause is just and right.

As a partisan journalist he of course thinks his cause is just and right.

As for Bain, why not argue that you formed your opinion on the outcome of the first trial?

Based on that, you could argue that another (third) trial might yield a different result.

You could also argue that the result was closer to "not proven" rather than "not guilty" given the jury asking for clarification of "reasonable doubt".

It's an interesting situation as it does speak to the issue about holding and expressing an opinion.

Perhaps we could put Global Warming on trial and then make it illegal to argue about it (which ever way the result came out). Let's embrace totalitarianism rather than pretend it's not actually happening.

KG said...

Gooner, it seems you have a problem with anyone who doesn't agree with your legal pronouncements from on high.
There appears to be a contradiction in it being 'honestly believed' yet having to be 'but also based on facts that are known and provable in the circumstances'.
An honest belief having to be provable? Since when?
So, to repeat--it seems that the core of the offence is the publication of an honest belief, placing the onus on the publisher to prove it was based on facts.
Which of course means that nobody may safely publish a belief unless they're able to back it up with facts provable to a court's satisfaction.
Weird. Not my idea of free speech at all.
I honestly believe you're a bombastic prat for making a snide little remark about me agreeing with Nicky Hager, but doubt I could prove it in court.

Gooner said...

KG, you need to take a chill pill. The comment was offered in jest. Calm down. It's as if agreeing with Nicky Hager is a mortal sin; mostly it is but there are times I agree with odd types. And these aren't my legal pronouncements from up high. It's the law of defamation. I never made it.

KG said...

Okies Gooner, I was a little quick on the draw there. Lumping me along with Hager has that effect..:-)

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