Gunns drops accusations

The Gunns case in which woodchip exporter Gunns’ is suing a large number of critics, has taken an interesting turn, with Gunns abandoning claims of criminal damage made against the respondents in general and a number of specific individuals. The case is now confined to the attempt by Gunns to suppress public debate using the deplorable SLAPP method, now largely prohibited in the US, where it originated.

The criminal allegations, if there were evidence to support them, would have justified a court action. Instead, it appears, the existence of court proceedings has enabled Gunns to make allegations that would be defamatory in normal circumstances, then drop them without providing any evidence.

The Wilderness Society has put out a press release (over the fold) calling for an apology, but I can’t see that happening. Still, it seems certain that Gunns and its shareholders will pay dearly for this exercise, in both money and reputation.


28 thoughts on “Gunns drops accusations

  1. Andrew R., I don’t think your response to Andrew B. is helpful, since it seems to be an all-purpose reason for doing nothing about anything. If the problem gets sufficiently bad, presumably Parliament and the courts will do something about it.

  2. QUOTE: Terje, perhaps you could clarify whether an issue of damages under the Trade Practices Act, or defamation law, constitutes “government action� in your view

    RESPONSE: I would say that they do. So in drafting something like a “Constitutional Restrictions on Government Action� you would need to think carefully about which actions you wish to limit.

    As a start we might say something such as:-

    * Government shall not silence a person from expressing in written or verbal form opinions and view points or deliberately hinder the transmission of such opinions and view points. Neither shall government impose any penalty designed to discourage a person from freely expressing their opinons or view points.

    You would need to think about whether these limits applied to just the executive wing or all wings of government.

    My main point is that I don’t think a Constitutional “Bill of Rights” should include so called positive rights. Enshrining such rights would create autopilot spending programs.

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