ISOCNZ records contradict chair's claim

Internet Society (ISOCNZ) records show that Peter Dengate Thrush was elected to the post of chairman of the society in December 1999, not January 2000 as he claimed in last week's Computerworld.

Internet Society (ISOCNZ) records show that Peter Dengate Thrush was elected to the post of chairman of the society in December 1999, not January 2000 as he claimed in last week’s Computerworld.

The matter relates to the country’s first online defamation case, heard in Palmerston North on May 3. Society member Alan Brown is being sued by former Domainz chief executive Patrick O’Brien for comments Brown made on an ISOCNZ mailing list.

The suit was backed by Domainz, which is owned by ISOCNZ, and in court O’Brien claimed he started proceedings after a meeting between himself, Dengate Thrush and former society chair Jim Higgins. O’Brien claimed the idea for the lawsuit came from Dengate Thrush as chair of the society but Dengate Thrush says Higgins instigated the meeting.

Dengate Thrush claimed he wasn’t the society chair at the time and that he was elected in January by an online vote.

“They did an online election which resulted in my being elected quite early in the new year,” Dengate Thrush told Computerworld last week.

However, society records show that Dengate Thrush was elected to the position on December 23, several days before the meeting is alleged to have taken place.

The electronic vote was called sometime after December 16 with a deadline for voting of 5pm on December 23.

“This meant that Jim Higgins formally remained as chair until Peter Dengate Thrush was declared as being elected [in an email I sent to the society council], at about 17:50 on December 23, 1999,” says society secretary Frank March.

Dengate Thrush emailed the society list following the defamation hearing saying he recalled the meeting having been arranged by Higgins, whom he recalled as being the chair of both Domainz and ISOCNZ at the time.

Higgins is refusing to comment until the judge has returned a verdict in the case.

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