On 21.9.05 The Christchurch Press issued this statement.
Colin Espiner’s campaign trail blog from September 6 referred to a demonstration during Prime Minister Helen Clark’s visit to Otago University.
The blog entry referred to the demonstration as an Act Party publicity stunt and mentioned that Espiner had been hit on the head by a placard. We wish to make it clearthat Madeleine Flannagan, who was present, had nothing to do with Espiner being hit and was not a threat to the Prime Minister.
We regret it if any such inference was drawn. Ms Flannagan has no connection with the Act Party and has never had any connection with it. She is a former Christian Heritage candidate and is communications director for the Locke Foundation.
The incident referred to, occurred in the lead up to the 2005 election and embroiled Madeleine, Labour Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson and Press journalist Colin Espiner in quite a controversy.
Madeleine Flannagan took a lot of flak on the Blogosphere and elsewhere over this incident. She was accused of being violent and of being a liar.
I am pleased to report that former ACT MP Stephen Franks and his team at Chapman Tripp took up Madeleine’s case with the Press.
Now New Zeal can confirm that The Press, while not admitting liability for defamation, or disclosing the amount has paid Madeleine a cheque.
Congratulations Madeleine. While I never doubted Madeleine’s version of events, this payment may help clear her name with those who criticised her at the time.
I just hope the cheque is pretty substantial Mads and is enough to give you, Matt and the kids greater security, plus some well deserved luxuries.
Congratulations also to Stephen Franks and Chapman Tripp for helping Madeleine out.