John Key defames | The Jackal

27 Mar 2012

John Key defames

Yesterday, the Timaru Herald reported:

Ambrose said he has faced deadly cyclones in his job, but nothing more overwhelming as battling the media storm created by the teapot tapes.

"I know what I did wasn't criminal. I feel happy in the fact I would never have been found guilty. But saying that, the pressure and stress of it has been huge."

Ambrose's work dropped off and his reputation took a battering, especially when John Key labelled him as using ''News of the World-style tactics" by planting a recording on the table.


While he only received a warning, Ambrose's actions were illegal, Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said.

Future occurrences were likely to be prosecuted.

"We were satisfied on this occasion that there was [prima facie evidence].

But police decided there was not sufficient public interest in the matter going to court, he said.

"I reached the view that a prosecution was not required in this instance."

In the view of police investigators, the recording was "most likely" on purpose, but at the least "reckless".

Graeme Edgeler sums this up nicely:

Police believe that had this matter been taken to trial, they could not have established all of the elements of the offence, and that Mr Ambrose would therefore have been properly found not guilty, and that any conviction of him on the evidence they could present would have been a miscarriage of justice.

Claiming that there is not enough public interest in the teapot tape debacle is ludicrous! The police have in fact labelled Ambrose a criminal without a trial. This is undoubtedly to ensure Key's complaint isn't viewed as a wasteful employment of police time.

Today, Radio NZ reported:

Mr Ambrose maintains that the taping was accidental and his legal advice is that it was a public conversation regardless.

He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Tuesday that the Prime Minister's comments following the incident were inaccurate and defamatory.

"There were comments that he put out there that were incorrect, that were quite defamatory towards me and I would quite happily accept an apology from him."

Mr Ambrose says in some ways he would have liked to fight the case in court to restore his reputation and believes this would have cleared his name. He is talking with his lawyers about possibly taking defamation action.


Editor Bryce Johns told Morning Report the newspaper is feeling a degree of vindication and it has been cleared of wrongdoing, as there is no link to it in the police statement.

"They haven't talked to anyone at the Herald on Sunday, let alone accused us of doing anything unlawful. So it's just absolutely as we've thought going to play out."

Mr Johns says he always thought there was never much of a chance of charges being laid, and cameraman Bradley Ambrose has unjustifiably been put through the wringer for four months.

But the Media Freedom Committee believes the outcome is unsatisfactory and untidy.

Chairperson Tim Murphy says nothing has been resolved and questions still hang over the matter, including why a police complaint was deemed necessary in the first place and why it was necessary for police to then raid newsrooms.

There is no doubt in my mind that Key used the police to keep the teapot tape from being published prior to the last election because of what it contained. He made the police complaint contrary to the fact, which has resulted in Ambrose being defamed.

That defamation has undoubtedly caused harm to Ambrose, who has no prior convictions and might just succeed in a defamation case against John Key. Wouldn't that be a turn up for the books?