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QLD Defamation - Comments in Email to Body Corporate?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by roses.13, 28 August 2014.

  1. roses.13

    roses.13 Member

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    Hi. I have an investment property, a unit, in Queensland, run by Body Corporate. I sent an email to committee members voicing my concerns about the onsite manager obtaining a contractor (a painter) whose licence was cancelled. I basically blamed the onsite manager and the Strata Managers for not following this up. The Strata Manager was sent this email by one of the committee members. The Strata Manager now has threatened to sue me for defamation if I continue to make further 'defamatory' comments. Can he sue me for making that comment?

    I now know that strata managers roles vary from State to State. I presumed that was their job.
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @roses.13
    If the alleged defamatory comments that you made were "substantially true", then the "Justification" defence under the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld) may be available to you if the Strata Manager actually proceeds with his threat. The QPILCH Defamation Factsheet further explains the Justification defence.

    Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.
     
  3. roses.13

    roses.13 Member

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    Hi John

    Thank you for your response. But the comment was made to the committee about the strata managers not directly to the strata manager. He will not proceed with the threat as I am not going to be in contact with him any further, I just have to watch how I word my emails and not mention their organisation. In two years time I will get the Body Corporate to terminate his services when it's up for renewal. Thank you again.
    Roses.13.
     
  4. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @roses.13
    Yes - I understand that the statement was made to the Committee and not directly to the Strata Manager because defamation generally only applies where a defamatory statement is communicated by someone to a third-party about someone else. The "Justification" defence and other defences still apply.
     
  5. roses.13

    roses.13 Member

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    thank you
     
  6. Lot Owner

    Lot Owner Member

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    How can you avoid a Defamation claim if you it "only applies where a defamatory statement is communicated by someone to a third-party about someone else" (John R) if the correspondence (for example, a request that is substantiated by personal opinion and facts) needs to go through a Body Corporate Manager, who takes offense, and subsequently claims for Defamation by publishing injurious material to the Body Corporate?
     
  7. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Dear Roses.13,

    What John R means is, there is no defamation action unless you communicate the defamatory remark to someone other than the defendant (the person seeking to sue you for defamation). The whole point of a defamation action is to provide compensation to people who suffer loss through an damaged reputation as a result of defamatory remarks being communicated to other people.

    However if you are making frank remarks about an individual for the purposes of carrying on a business and no malice is involved you can rely on the defences of "truth" and "qualified privilege". Truth applies where you can prove that what you have communicated (i.e. the defamatory remark) is in fact true. "Qualified privilege" recognises certain situations in which it is in the interests of society that people are able to communicate frankly with each other without fear of being sued for defamation. This applies where statements are made to further a legitimate common interest, for example communications between committee members concerning the committee’s work.
     

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