Rolling coverage of the Kiwimeter defamation trial at BATS Theatre
19 - 23 April, 7.30pm
Three days of evidence leaves result of trial up in the air
After three days of evidence, from first the counsel for the plaintiff, then the counsel for the defence, the result of this trial is still by no means clear.
On day two of the trial, after a long-winded opening statement, counsel for the defence, Mr Backensdael, called two witnesses to give evidence, Mia Simons, a media representative from TVNZ and David Farrar, a prominent blogger and pollster. Ms Simons broke down under cross examination from Ms Rizmacken, while Mr Farrar held his own in what was at times a testy exchange.
Day three of the trial saw the Counsel for the Defence attempt to have admitted some new evidence, which she claimed were integral to her case, but her application was denied by Justice Ranzerson on the basis of lack of relevence.
As the day continued, Counsel for the Plaintiff called his final witness, Tadhg Daly, a behavioural researcher at Victoria University. He gave evidence that Kiwimeter was based on sound scientific practices and use of 'racist' sounding questions were justified as way to measure attitudes, but conceded under cross-examination that use of such questions could be problematic if the full results of the survey were never published.
Ms Rimacken gave her opening statement, and applied to have a statement from Leonie Pihama, her expert witness who was unable to attend the trial for personal reasons. The application was granted and the statement was read out by the Ms Aker the Court Taker. In a bizarre twist, Mr Backensdael asked to be allowed to cross-examine Ms Aker on behalf of Ms Pihama. The application was granted, but it quickly became apparent that Ms Aker could not answer the questions being put to her, and the session drew to a close.
On day four, casual Friday, Justice Ranzerson began by admonishing the the media for leaking details of the inadmissible evidence to the jury. Jacqui Strongarm for Meurdoch Media Empire was expelled from the courtroom, although she frequently attempted to re-enter in disguise throughout the remainder of the proceedings.
Ms Rizmacken called her final two witnesses, including the unnamed defendant, who gave evidence on why Kiwimeter was racist, and how the way the catergories were constructed could demonstrated a clear alignment with the Government agenda.
Justice Ranzerson commented frequently throughout proceedings, musing "that's why we're here, to toss these things around".
The trial has one more session left to go.
Day 1 / Hey Jury, don't make it bad