Prasad v Chand [2018] NZDC 18320

Published 12 June 2019

Defamation — forum non-conveniens — Defamation Act 1992. The defendant made an application to the Court to dismiss or stay the proceedings of a defamation case on the grounds of forum non-conveniens, in that Fiji, not New Zealand, was the most appropriate forum to hear the case. The plaintiff, who was previously married to the defendant, alleged that following their separation, the defendant made defamatory statements on Facebook that were accompanied by a photo of the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the publication caused her to be shunned by friends, humiliated, and she could not find employment. The plaintiff subsequently left New Zealand for Fiji. The defendant argued that witness availability, cost of proceedings, similar defamation law to New Zealand, and where the judgment will be enforced were all reasons for the case to be heard in Fiji. The Judge disagreed, finding that the defendant could offer little evidence supporting many of his claims, and that the plaintiff had retained a New Zealand based lawyer and New Zealand based witnesses for the case. The Judge dismissed the application and ordered costs to the plaintiff on a 2B basis. Judgment Date: 4 September 2018.