Māori Television has apologised to former High Court Judge Sir Edward Durie and his wife, lawyer Donna Hall, for reporting false allegations about the pair.
The pair sued the station for defamation over the station’s coverage of the Auckland District Māori Council elections in 2015.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the network’s refusal to publish a response by Ms Hall was a fundamental failing, noting it did not seek comment from Mr Durie or the council’s executive.
In its apology, Māori Television said it did not verify the truth of the allegations and did not seek comment from the parties involved.
Ms Hall and Mr Durie’s barrister Felix Geiringer said the apology had given the pair some justice.
“The apology text that has been agreed is comprehensive. It shows that there was never any evidence at all that any of the allegations were true.
“There’s categoric evidence to prove that all of the key allegations in the original publication were false.”
He said the dispute could have been resolved four years ago.
“The evidence that showed that these allegations were false was able to be shared with Māori Television within 48 hours of the original publication, but they weren’t prepared to publish it. They said they couldn’t publish it without taking sides.
“They were prepared to make the allegations in the first place and that, apparently, wasn’t taking sides. But when they were confronted with absolutely cast-iron categoric evidence that showed that the allegations were false they weren’t prepared to publish them.”
Mr Durie and Ms Hall said they had settled their dispute with the station for an undisclosed sum, and they were pleased Māori Television had accepted that the allegations were false.