HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Norman George seeks $2.1 million in damages over cartoon
Local lawyer Norman George is to take court action against Cook Islands News cartoonist Tim Buchanan (Kata), Cook Islands News Editor John Woods and the Cook Islands News seeking damages totaling $2.1 million.
The action which was filed in the Civil Court on the afternoon of 16 October 2012, is as a result of two cartoons by CI News cartoonist Kata (Tim Buchanan) which appeared in the Cook Islands News. Mr George alleges his reputation was injured and he suffered distress and embarrassment.
The action will be of immense interest as it involves matter on an internet website.
The first cartoon on 17 September 2010 depicts a person’s hands holding a page on which there are four images in the form of stamps depicting various figures one of which Mr George alleges refers to him. The second cartoon appeared in the Cook Islands News on 16 December 2011 and depicts a man with a moustache, wearing a collar and tie, sitting in a chair behind an office desk, pointing at another man (his client) in a chair on the other side of the desk. Mr George alleges the man with the moustache refers to and was intended to refer to, him.
The cartoon published on 16 December 2011 follows a report in the CI News on 15 December 2011 of a court case where the Jury acquitted a man on two charges of aggravated robbery and assaulting a woman.
In respect of the first cartoon, Mr George is claiming damages, aggravated damages and exemplary/punitive damages. In respect of damages, Mr George is claiming relief of $300,000.
In respect of aggravated damages, he is claiming $175,000.
He also seeks an injunction against each defendant from publication of the words and the cartoon, or similar words and images or any words or images to like effect.
He is also seeking costs.
Also in respect of the first cartoon, Mr George seeks various damages against the Editor of CI News and CI News as George alleges the first cartoon is available to be viewed by selecting the appropriate link on the CI News website. As above, the damages sought total $475,000 and an injunction and costs are also sought.
Total damages in respect of the first cartoon amount to $950,000.
In respect of the second cartoon, Mr George is claiming a similar set of damages but the relief sought is slightly higher, totaling $1,150,000 in damages plus an injunction and costs. -Chalres Pitt

Herald Issue 608 21 March
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