Domainz lawsuit: nobody blinks

Isocnz chair Peter Dengate Thrush has confirmed that Domainz is paying for its CEO's defamation action against Manawatu Service Provider director Alan Brown but denies the society itself is bringing the suit.

The lawsuit brought by Domainz CEO Patrick O'Brien against Manawatu Service Provider director Alan Brown is headed for court.

The deadline for Brown to apologise for allegedly defamatory comments about O'Brien expired at 5.30pm on Friday - without Brown agreeing to post the apology provided in the documents.

"If I apologised, no one would believe me," says Brown. He says he expects Domainz and its owner, the Internet Society of New Zealand (Isocnz), to be embarrassed by the media attention a trial will bring.

Meanwhile, Isocnz chair Peter Dengate Thrush has confirmed Domainz is paying for itsCEO's defamation action against but denies the society itself is bringing the suit.

"In the proceedings you'll see clearly that the plaintiff in this is [CEO] Patrick O'Brien," says Dengate Thrush. The covering letter to the action, written by law firm Izard Weston, says the firm acts "for the New Zealand Internet Registry Limited trading as Domainz".

Dengate Thrush fully supports the legal action brought by his CEO.

"If you're asking does the [Domainz] board have confidence in its CEO the answer is absolutely. If the issue is: is the board supporting the CEO in this defamation the answer is yes," says Dengate Thrush.

Papers have been filed in the Palmerston North District Court alleging that Brown defamed the Domainz CEO in a posting to the Isocnz mailing list in December.

Dengate Thrush says the issue was discussed within the Isocnz council.

"The council of [Isocnz] doesn't feel that it's an issue for the membership of the society to debate."

He wouldn't discuss whether there are other options for settling this dispute short of legal action.

"I am about to become a director of Domainz and discussions about other methods of dispute resolution really are not appropriate."

Peter Mott, director of ISP 2Day and a former Isocnz council member, says it is "abhorrent" that the CEO would sue a society member.

"The role of the regulatory body [Domainz] is to foster growth in the Internet and if the CEO feels he has to sue a member it is a very sad day indeed."

Mott says the legal action itself is helping to bring the society into disrepute.

He has called for O'Brien to resign on more than one occasion and does so again over this suit.

Mott has had a fiery relationship with both Domainz and Isocnz for a number of years and resigned from both the society and its governing council in May last year citing accountability issues.

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