Jordan Williams is appealing a court decision to set aside the $1.27 million damages award in his defamation case against Colin Craig, saying he did not want the matter to go a retrial.

Last October Craig was ordered to pay $1.27 m in damages to Williams after he was found to have defamed him but in April Justice Sarah Katz set aside the jury's decision, saying the sum awarded was unreasonable in the circumstances.

That meant both Craig and Williams had to agree to allow the judge to set the amount of damages, or the case would go for a full retrial.

In a statement today, Williams said Craig's lawyer had told Justice Katz Craig did not agree to having her reset the damages and wanted a full retrial.


"I don't want Rachel MacGregor or my mother or any other of my witnesses to have to go through it all again."

He said the jury had made clear findings and there was no assurance Craig would not appeal if a new trial also went against him.

"So an appeal now could get to the key issues directly. It is the best way forward."

Craig said Williams had every right to appeal, but he believed a retrial was the right way forward.

He said Justice Katz's decision said a miscarriage of justice had occurred so he was not willing to accept the jury's decision he had defamed Williams.

"Her Honour said it was a miscarriage of justice so I'm not going to agree to a result based on a miscarriage of justice."

He said Katz had recognised Craig was under attack from Williams at the time and had a right to respond.

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.