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Rare ‘apology’ ruling divides small NZ community

An unusual High Court ruling recommends a former school librarian and her husband send apology letters to members of a small South Island community to correct defamatory statements – or pay a fine of $100,000.

The defamatory statements were made in letters sent to around 50 Rai Valley residents after an employment dispute between the former librarian, Faye Leov, and former principal, Loretta [Muff] Newton, escalated to involve the local community.

The letters claimed Newton bullied Leov and others in the school, that she misled the school board, had been dismissed from her role and was mentally unwell.

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