New Zealand author and provocateur Greg Hallett was in the Auckland High Court yesterday seeking an appeal of a $140,000 District Court judgment against him issued last month in a defamation claim brought by criminal defence barrister Peter Williams QC last year. The claim was filed after Williams took exception to Hallett’s book New Zealand – a Blackmailer’s Guide, which alleged Williams had a more intimate relationship with some of the eminent barrister’s more seedy clients.
The book has since been banned by New Zealand Court order.
The Court appearance was brief, with Justice Douglas White setting an appeal hearing for 29 March 2011.
Mr Hallett is seeking an appeal on grounds his evidence had been suppressed and the trial knowingly set and conducted while he was in the United Kingdom. At the trial, conducted on 23 June, Hallett’s counsel walked out after being refused an adjournment to allow his client to return to New Zealand.
The fireworks occurred after the High Court appeal appearance.
Mr Hallett ducked out a side door to avoid two representatives of Williams. Upon entering his parked car, a process server on a scooter tried unsuccessfully to get Hallett to roll down his window. When Hallett drove off, the man jumped on Hallett’s windscreen, pulling the wiper arm off the car and falling to the ground as Hallett pulled away.
Mr Williams ran up to the scene as the man, replete in cycling helmet and body armour, laid prostrate on Symonds Street. Two police detectives waiting at the nearby intersection witnessed the man falling off the car. As the detectives stopped to assist, Williams could be heard repeatedly claiming that the act was “attempted murder” and that he could vouch Greg Hallett was the driver.
The process server was shaken but incurred no obvious injury. After collecting himself, an ambulance arrived and put him in a neckbrace and on a stretcher for a ride to hospital.
It was revealed the process server was attempting to serve bankruptcy papers as a result of the defamation award Mr Williams QC had been awarded against Mr Hallett.
Mr Hallett has developed a small cult following, with book sales which include “Hitler was a British Agent” and repeat customers which reportedly include London Billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed.