The Rachel MacGregor Trust has welcomed today’s decision from High Court Judge, Hon. Justice Hinton, regarding the damages to be awarded to Rachel MacGregor as a result of the lengthy defamation proceedings initiated by her former boss, Colin Craig.Today’s announcement – which will see MacGregor awarded damages of $400,000, and costs of approximately $41,000 – follows Justice Hinton’s September 2019 ruling, which found that Craig (founder of the now-defunct Conservative Party) had sexually harassed his former Press Secretary between 2012 and 2014, and subsequently defamed her.
Spokesperson and Trustee for The Rachel MacGregor Trust, Nicola Taylor, says that while today’s decision is a welcomed one, the figure will not come close to addressing the emotional, mental, reputational and financial harm that has been inflicted on MacGregor over the course of Craig’s extensive legal campaign.“With this substantial award of damages, Judge Hinton has recognised the very real harm that has been caused by Colin Craig by continuing to publicly lie about her and her character at every opportunity since.
Of course, this is on top of the harm Craig has already been found to have caused to Rachel, firstly through his sexual harassment of Rachel and then through his breach of their confidential settlement agreement in 2015“Craig’s relentless pursuit of Rachel through the courts has forced her to incur legal costs well in excess of $600,000. Even with the generosity of Rachel’s lawyers, Dentons’ Linda Clark and Hayden Wilson, who have donated a huge amount of their time to these cases, the $447,000 will not come close to covering those fees – and will leave Rachel with nothing for the harm caused to her over the last decade.“While the figure represents real vindication of Rachel, the fact is that no amount of money will ever restore the years of life she has lost to this unwanted legal battle, nor the immense impact on her health and wellbeing, since she resigned from her role at the Conservative Party in September 2014,” says Taylor.
MacGregor’s experience at the hands of her former boss also serves to shine a light on flaws within New Zealand’s legal system, which allow those in positions of wealth, power and influence to play out their personal disputes in the courts, at great personal cost to their targets. “It is tragic that Rachel has had to engage in this process and go all the way to the Supreme Court to vindicate her position. As a nation, we must do better – for Rachel and for the many other women around the country who have had to endure the same process,” adds Taylor.