Stephenson to take NZDF to court again

  • Breaking
  • 09/08/2013

Jon Stephenson, the journalist who took the Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones to court over claims he defamed him, is looking to do it all again.

Last time the jury couldn't agree on a verdict.

Stephenson says his renewed bid is about defending the principle behind open and honest reporting.

A documentary featuring journalist Mr Stephenson in Afghanistan has been courting controversy about New Zealand's involvement in the war. He's now revealed he's going back to court.

"I think these are matters that need to be put back in court to get a final resolution and to make it clear that the Defence Force is in the wrong," says Mr Stephenson.

Last month his eight-day defamation case against the Chief of the Defence Force ended in a hung jury.

Mr Stephenson still claimed it as a victory of sorts because Lt Gen Jones accepted Mr Stephenson had been on a crisis response unit base in Afghanistan and had spoken to the commander of the base.

It was a statement Mr Jones had issued to the contrary which led to Mr Stephenson's defamation claim.

"It has cost me a considerable amount of money to get that concession from him. That's something he should have had to integrity and honour to do without going through the legal system," says Mr Stephenson.

After the case, it was revealed by fellow investigative journalist Nicky Hager the Defence Force had been using a manual for a decade which instructed some investigative journalists should been seen as a threat to national security, labelling them subversives.

Mr Hager also alleged metadata from Mr Stephenson's phone in Afghanistan had been collected and used by the defence force to monitor him - something the Defence Force denies.

Mr Stephenson's lawyers will file the relevant documents next week. The Defence Force told 3 News it has got nothing to say because it's yet to be told the case is going back to court.

3 News

source: newshub archive