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Lawsuit against abuse victim to be withdrawn


A senior ACC employee's planned defamation case against a sexual abuse victim is to be withdrawn after comments she made about him were removed from the internet this week, ACC Minister Nick Smith says. But the victim says she hasn't removed anything.

NBR staff and NZPA
Fri, 15 Apr 2011

A senior ACC employee's planned defamation case against a sexual abuse victim is to be withdrawn after comments she made about him were removed from the internet this week, ACC Minister Nick Smith says.

But the victim - who spoke to Radio New Zealand and wanted to be known only as Jacks - said nothing had been taken down from her blog.

Dr Peter Jansen began legal action against the woman after she questioned his competence on her internet blog. He had been seeking $200,000 in general damages, and an additional $50,000.00 in aggravated damages.

However, Dr Smith this morning told Radio New Zealand Dr Jansen would not be continuing with the action.

Dr Smith said the doctor's lawyers had written to the woman in December, asking for the comments to be removed from the website.

"The material was still up this week and that is what led Dr Jansen's lawyers to take action," he said.

"I spoke with Dr Jansen last night, he noted that the material had subsequently been taken down from the web, he has said that he will be withdrawing the legal action."

Dr Smith said there were two sides to the case.

"I can understand why Dr Jansen, as a well-respected and capable medical practitioner, was offended by the material that was put up on the net about him," Dr Smith said.

"He became aware of the material on the web last November, he's never wanted money from the person, all he's simply wanted is for the highly defamatory material about him personally to be taken down."

However Jacks told Radio New Zealand she had heard nothing from ACC and was "even more so now" determined to leave her blog post intact.

"I will be leaving it there," she said. "He's withdrawn his legal action, so, fine."

She added that she was considering taking her own legal action against Dr Jansen: "I will absolutely follow this up."

Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni raised the case in Parliament yesterday when she questioned Dr Smith about how victims of sexual abuse were treated by the organisation.

Ms Sepuloni also asked whether the minister would investigate how Dr Jansen had accessed private information about the woman to initiate legal action.

Answering on behalf of the minister, Cabinet Minister Tony Ryall said Dr Smith was always concerned about the victims of sexual abuse, and if Ms Sepuloni provided him with information about the case Dr Smith would address it.

"It is completely unacceptable if ACC staff have not been dealing with the victims of sexual abuse in a sympathetic and professional way," Mr Ryall said.

NBR staff and NZPA
Fri, 15 Apr 2011
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Lawsuit against abuse victim to be withdrawn
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