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

Jordan Williams emotional and angry in court

Colin Craig leaves Auckland High Court on Tuesday afternoon. Photo / Nick Reed
Colin Craig leaves Auckland High Court on Tuesday afternoon. Photo / Nick Reed

The jury in the defamation trial for former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has now heard all the evidence in the case.

Today is the 15th day of the civil trial in the High Court at Auckland.

Over the past three weeks, a jury of five women and six men have heard from more than 20 witnesses.

The last witness was Jordan Williams, the man who filed the case against Craig.

Williams gave evidence in the first week, and was recalled today so Craig's lawyers could question him further on a matter.

• Colin Craig defamation trial: explosive sex harassment claims emerge
• Williams challenged on sex text accuracy
Rachel MacGregor: 'Colin Craig's comments made me angry, uncomfortable, upset'
• Rachel MacGregor on Colin Craig - in her own words
• Colin Craig: I did not take my pants off
• Craig can't prove he didn't send messages
• Helen Craig on husband's 'emotional affair': I have forgiven him

Stephen Mills QC quizzed Williams on Facebook messages between him and blogger Cameron Slater.

In the messages, Williams made inappropriate comments about a female friend while speaking to Slater about a political news story.

"For pursuit of your own political agenda, you are prepared to use people who are your friends for those wider political objectives," Mills suggested to Williams.

LISTEN: Anna Leask: Heated scenes at Colin Craig trial

Williams then became emotional and angry on the stand.

He denied he had "used" Rachel MacGregor by calling her as a witness at the trial, and said he had tried his best to protect her.

He called Craig, sitting in the public gallery, a "prick" and then directed his anger at Mills.

"You shat on Rachel in this case," he said.

"You couldn't help yourself."

Williams' recall marked the end of the evidence.

Justice Sarah Katz excused the jury until Tuesday, when they would hear closing arguments.

On Monday she will meet with the lawyers to discuss trial matters.

'Rachel was adamant she wanted money'

Earlier, Bev Adair-Beets told the jury that she could tell MacGregor had a personal interest in Craig.

She worked with MacGregor before the press secretary's shock resignation and claimed the pair were "job sharing".

"I got the general impression that Rachel believed she held a special status of power over Colin. She could dictate what she was paid," Adair-Beets said.

She said "as a woman" she "could tell" MacGregor was interested in Craig.

"I find it sad that these matters have become public," she said.

Adair-Beets gave evidence about going to see MacGregor around the time she resigned.

She said she was "very concerned about her "emotional state".

"Rachel was adamant that she wanted money from Colin. She told me very clearly that she would get what she deserved and would do anything to get it.

"When I asked her what she meant she said 'watch me, I'll get it, I can get whatever I want'. She told me she was going to take a stand."

Adair-Beets said she did not immediately tell Craig what MacGregor had said.

She only disclosed the conversation to the then-party leader when allegations about his relationship with MacGregor "came out in the media".

In her evidence last week MacGregor said she had read Adair-Beet's statement of evidence and strongly refuted her claims.

"In her brief of evidence, Bev says that she 'moved into a job share of the role of press secretary'. This is not true or is at least highly misleading," MacGregor told the court.

"Bev never performed the core tasks of a press secretary, such as writing speeches, briefing Mr Craig before media conferences, or making any decisions regarding Mr Craig's media appearances. In fact, Bev only performed tasks at my direction."

MacGregor also addressed the comments Adair-Beets alleged she made to her.

"The only thing I need to say about these is that if she is suggesting I would make up false sexual harassment allegations to get money out of Mr Craig, I totally reject this insinuation and find it extremely offensive," she said.

Conservative Party followers told 'the gauntlet is laid'

The first witness today was Kevin Stitt, who was a part-time administrator for the Conservative Party. He told the jury about his part in the Dirty Politics pamphlet distribution.

"I knew Colin very well and never had a reason to question his integrity or character," Stitt said.

He told the jury that when he first heard the allegations against Craig in relation to his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor he was "sceptical of their truth".

Stitt was responsible for emailing a link to Craig's pamphlet Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas - in which he allegedly defamed Jordan Williams - to thousands of Conservative Party supporters.

The first time Stitt saw the pamphlet was shortly before it was publicly released at a press conference in July last year.

"I read it from cover to cover and Colin asked what I thought," Stitt said.

He told Craig: "You've made some strong allegations here, Colin. Have you got evidence to back them up?".

"He assured me he had," Stitt said.

"Because I never had a reason to question his integrity, I had no reason to doubt him. I told Colin he was a brave man to stand up against these people. I could see with this booklet becoming public there was going to be some reaction."

Stitt believed that in publishing the pamphlet Craig was simply defending his reputation "by responding to widespread public allegations made about him".

"If he was doing so, surely Conservative Party followers had a right to hear that defence," Stitt said.

In his email to those followers Stitt said "the gauntlet is laid" and explained why Craig had published the pamphlet.

"Colin was expecting a backlash but was determined to see the truth revealed and the practice of dirty politics exposed," Stitt said.

Under cross examination by Williams' lawyer Ali Romanos, Stitt conceded he had not seen any evidence that the allegations against Craig were untrue.

"He assured me there was evidence, I was prepared to accept that," he said.

Stitt said in the email he had tried not to take sides, but Romanos challenged him on that.

Colin was 'kind, caring, understanding'

Angela Storr is another Conservative Party staffer who has given evidence in support of Craig.

She was the membership manager in 2014 and worked closely with MacGregor.

Storr said MacGregor often spoke to her about their boss.

"She went on about Colin to me on a regular basis, how wonderful he was," Storr said.

She told the jury that MacGregor took control of Craig's appearance, going to personal grooming appointments with him.

Craig, she said, was uncomfortable wearing makeup for media appearances and until then, had been "frugal" with his wardrobe.

"It wasn't his way of life," Storr said.

"Rachel directed Colin's every move: engagements, how he dressed, how he had his hair,
how he posed for photographs."

MacGregor confided in her about a personal loan Craig and his wife had given her.

She said she accumulated a lot of debt after leaving her job at TVNZ and that the Craigs had not only helped her escape that, they had helped her with a new budget and she was "turning over a new leaf".

"She said she would be forever grateful for the opportunity that Helen and Colin had given her."

Before her resignation, Storr said MacGregor became "moody and difficult to work with".

"I felt like I was walking on eggshells. A lot of my time was taken up with making sure Rachel was okay."

Storr claimed she had to reschedule many appointments to ensure MacGregor "got enough rest".

She told the jury she saw a text MacGregor sent her boyfriend after a trip away with Craig for work.

In the text, she said, MacGregor told the boyfriend that Craig had been "mean" during the trip.

"In my work with Rachel I saw that she was close to Colin and thought very highly of him. I observed Colin was kind, caring and understanding towards her."

'Pack of hyenas' turned on Craig

Media commentator and blogger Martyn Bradbury was also called today to give evidence about his previous experience with Williams.

He claimed in court that in the past Williams had lied to him directly and "created a fake email identity" which he used to "send a false tip-off".

He said Williams had embarked on a "political hit job" against Craig and described him as one of "a pack of hyenas" who had turned on the former politician.

"I thought (Craig's pamphlet Dirty Politics and Hidden Agenda) was an appropriate response to a pack of political sadists," Bradbury said.

He told the jury he thought Williams and a number of others he felt were involved in the practice of dirty politics in New Zealand were "a cancer on the body politics in this

Bradbury was asked what he thought the defamation trial was about and replied: "an angry fight between two people who don't like each other much".

Under cross-examination Williams' lawyer Peter Knight grilled Bradbury about his posting blogs that had "derogatory, horrible and sleazy" comments about his client before he gave evidence.

He asked Bradbury if he thought it appropriate to "attack" Williams online given he was coming to court to give evidence against him days later.

Bradbury admitted posting about the trial last week but said he had not posted about his own evidence.

"Did you think it was appropriate given you were going to be a witness, to do that?" said McKnight.

"My understanding was that I could not talk about my evidence, I didn't realise I couldn't blog about breaking news," he said.

Why is Colin Craig on trial?

Craig is on trial for allegedly defaming Taxpayers' Union director Jordan Williams, a friend of MacGregor's to whom she turned after her high-profile shock resignation shortly before the 2014 general election.

Williams said he was "horrified" at MacGregor's claims Craig had sexually harassed her, and after seeing letters and poems the politician sent her, revealed all 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".

At a press conference and in a pamphlet sent to more than 1.6 million households across the country that Williams was a liar and had "spread false accusations".

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

- NZ Herald

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