Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Colin Craig on kiss with press secretary: 'I did not take my pants off'

Colin Craig has told a jury in graphic detail about a kiss he shared with his then press secretary Rachel MacGregor on election night in 2011.

Craig is defending a defamation action brought by Jordan Williams. During the trial the court has heard much of the kiss but today intimate details were canvassed.

MacGregor gave an account of the kiss in her evidence but today Craig gave further details.

"It was one of those stupid things," he said.

"No one on either side objected at the time."

He refuted suggestions he had taken off his pants in front of MacGregor but claimed she took her shirt off.

"I have never taken my pants off around her," he said.

He said he could not remember her having a bra on, rather her shirt had a built-in bra.

Neither party was naked, he told the court.

He also claimed MacGregor tried to "fondle" him.

"But I stopped her. Tired and silly. I wouldn't put anything more down to it than that," he said.

"Something had happened that shouldn't have happened. We both knew that."

Rachel MacGregor. Photo /  Brett Phibbs
Rachel MacGregor. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Craig said he and MacGregor were both embarrassed the next day and regretted the incident.

"She did ask me to promise her not to tell anyone and not to hold it against her, and I did make that promise."

Earlier today Williams' lawyer Peter McKnight ended three days of cross-examination.

He finished by listing each of the alleged lies Williams told about Craig, as listed in the Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas pamphlet.

For each he asked Craig if Williams had in fact lied.

Craig confirmed that he still believed each accusation was false or not factually correct and that his witnesses would give evidence to support that.

McKnight asked Craig why he felt it necessary to put the pamphlet out to 1.6 million Kiwi homes, thus allegedly defaming his client on a national scale.

"That response went far too far," he said.

Craig rejected that and said Williams' actions after MacGregor resigned led to national media stories about him.

So, he responded on a national level.

"The allegations that Mr Williams fed... went national. Every home in the nation became aware, provided they had access to mainstream media, of the allegations," Craig said.

"So I responded on a national level."

Why is Colin Craig on trial?

Colin Craig giving evidence earlier in the trial.
Colin Craig giving evidence earlier in the trial.

The defamation trial unfolded after Craig's press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, resigned suddenly just 48 hours before the 2014 general election.

The resignation was high profile and there was much speculation about why she left.

Weeks later MacGregor turned to Williams for support, and told him she had made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission alleging that Craig had sexually harassed her.

She shared letters and poems the politician had sent her. Williams then revealed the details to other Conservative Party members.

When Craig found out he publicly claimed Williams was part of a group of "culprits" determined to have him removed as party leader through a "campaign" of "false accusations".

Williams then filed defamation proceedings in the High Court, saying he did not lie about Craig.

After Craig finished reading his brief of evidence to the jury last week, McKnight started the cross-examination.

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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