Former Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater has had a third defamation judgment entered against his name.
The High Court has ruled Slater has admitted defaming three public health experts in a sequel to a similar admission from public relations consultant Carrick Graham.
It follows two other findings Slater defamed people who were targeted through his now-defunct Whale Oil blog.
The new ruling came after Slater told the court he wouldn't mount a defence against accusations he had used the Whale Oil blog to carry out defamatory attacks on the reputations of the public health experts.
He told the court he "consents to judgment", citing his bankruptcy and "whatever legal capacity I have in respect to this proceeding".
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Justice Tracey Walker said she accepted Slater's statement to the court as an "admission" he had published the statements of which the health professionals had complained, and that they were defamatory.
The health professionals, represented by barrister Davey Salmon, dropped their associated damages claims "in view of Mr Slater's bankruptcy". They also sought reduced costs, again because of Slater's bankruptcy.
The defamatory posts were a result of a plan by Graham and Slater to attack the professionals. Graham has said he was working to "advance the interests of industry".
Graham settled the case last week after just a few hours of the trial with a cash payment and an apology. It followed an earlier settlement between the health professional and the NZ Food and Grocery Council, which had contracted and paid Graham yet says "it did not pay anyone to write any stories on its behalf on Whale Oil, or any other publication".
The health experts who took the case are Dr Doug Sellman, professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at the University of Otago, Dr Boyd Swinburn, professor of population nutrition and global health at the University of Auckland, and Shane Bradbrook, currently a senior adviser at Te Arawhiti, the Office for Māori Crown Relations.
Each of the three featured in articles and comments published on the Whale Oil website which attacked their credibility and questioned their motives. Graham, who contributed to the articles and wrote comments under various pseudonyms, has said statements he made "were untrue, unfair, offensive, insulting and defamatory".
The finding Slater's posts were defamatory comes after the High Court found he had defamed former politician Colin Craig, who was awarded $325,000 in damages.
In 2019, the High Court has found Slater's attacks on businessman Matthew Blomfield were defamatory. No damages hearing has yet been set in the case.
Slater's fall from grace followed years of enjoying a high-profile presence as a blogger and media commentator with links to politicians, including National leader Judith Collins.
It was a facade that collapsed when Nicky Hager's 2014 book Dirty Politics was published, exposing unethical behaviour and targeted "hit job" campaigns in which Slater received cash to harass people online.
Since then, the company that ran the Whale Oil blog - Social Media Consultants Ltd - has gone into liquidation while Slater went into bankruptcy. The Whale Oil website, lost through the liquidation, was then bought by Blomfield who removed all content.
Slater now writes for a new blog which has a fraction of his previous audience. It is owned by his wife Juana Atkins. Slater did not respond to a request for comment.