QLD Qualified Privilege or Absolute Privilege

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Jarob

Well-Known Member
25 December 2018
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0
121
Hi Everyone,

Currently using a Children's Contact Centre for reunification purposes and late last year due to the usual supervisor not being able to make the visit she replaced her spot with another supervisor.

There has been nasty and unprofessional conduct from the replacement supervisor previous to the visit to say the least. Mainly through emails because she was part owner/manager of the centre.

I won't go into too much detail but the visit with this woman was disgustingly unprofessional. She walked into the visit looking very unhealthy, hot headed, snarly and rude that got to the point where she started to be rude and aggressive to my son. At that point I had no choice but to diplomatically ask her to not to speak in that manner to my son. She completely flipped out.

Anyway when my x-partner arrived she fabricated a story that I was the aggressor and my x asked for an observational report.

The report was released 5 weeks later and I was shocked that this woman went to the extent of fabricating the content to the point that there is a very real possibility that this could end my case. Still shocked to this day that someone could do that, let alone a supervisor for a contact centre. At this stage there is 3 witnesses and video footage that proves beyond doubt she is lying.

When the family law proceedings ends I want to sue her for defamation. From the research I have done she has 2 avenues to defend herself from defamation.

First one is Qualified Privilege. I can get around that by proving malicious intent and that by default dissolves her ability to be protected by that defense.

Second one is Absolute Privilege. Those defamatory authors are fully protected. They can say anything and never be liable for defamation. Judges, lawyers, witnesses and documents written to use in the course of a current court proceeding are all protected by Absolute Privilege.

The contact centre was in the court orders to be used. The document was produced outside of any orders by the court and published outside of the court by being sent to my x partner.

Can this person be protected by Absolute Privilege?

Thanks in advance ...
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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Unlikely.
 

Jarob

Well-Known Member
25 December 2018
20
0
121
If you don't mind how do you come to that conclusion Rod?

The report wasn't requested by the court and was published to someone outside of the court but will be used as evidence in the court by my x partner no doubt. This all may deem her unable to use Absolute Privilege as a defence but I simply don't really know!!

Another angle ... 2 weeks before the incident the business notified all clients via email the woman in question left the business. She may not have any privileged defense at all taking into account she officially or legally wasn't working for the company anyway and most probably was paid on the side.

Thanks again ...
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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My answer is purely based on your broad description of what happened. She doesn't fit into any of the categories/situations covered by the defence of absolute privilege.

The details in the matter may change my mind but that is beyond the scope of online assistance.
 

Poidah

Well-Known Member
9 November 2017
77
3
294
Qld
Mainly through emails because she was part owner/manager of the centre.
Why are you considering defamation? It would be very hard to prove economic or financial impact on you and if so, it would likely be very minimal by the sounds of it.
Have you considered filing a formal complaint against the centre? Can't see which state you are in, but it seems that most Children Contact Centres are run in association with charities, NGOs or government departments. She will more likely need to address a formal process through those systems.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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It would be very hard to prove economic or financial impact on you
A plaintiff in a defamation matter does not need to prove economic loss. It helps increase any payout on a win, but is not necessary to prove as part of the case against a defendant.
 

Jarob

Well-Known Member
25 December 2018
20
0
121
The content is extremely serious and my lawyers have to deal with the report. I have asked my lawyers to account for the costs and already running into the thousands, and this is before affidavits from witnesses, witness subpoenas and paying witnesses including her to sit in the witness box etc. All this before the barrister has even looked at it. The bill is going to be substantial to say the least.

As for the emotional impact. I think it’s obvious that being portrayed as an unstable and unsafe parent is going to be very hurtful. The fact it was her that was unstable on the day and has gone to the extent she has in the report makes the impact so much more severe. As if parents haven’t enough to deal with when navigating the family law system.

The content was fabricated and written with malicious intent to harm my chances, it is as simple as that and she needs to be held accountable. The publication was in Queensland and I believe the defendant is burdened with the plaintiffs legal costs if the case is won as well.

There were 8 observation reports done on me before the visit in question and all are glowing, and are at complete odds to the defamatory one. The usual supervisor has stated she has never seen me create an unsafe environment for my son, on the contrary actually, or acted aggressive to him or her, or to anyone for that matter. There is a history of constructive complaints from me towards the centre(all email) that may point towards motive. 5 months before the visit the author sent me a long winded provocative and abusive email out of the blue that was unwarranted, made no logical sense or was any of her business. My lawyer made the comment that she couldn’t read the vast majority of it and I ignored it. I have 3 witnesses and video footage that will prove she has lied to such an extent it cannot be anything other than a calculated and malicious intent to cause harm.

The centre is a private one that is regulated by no one with full costs on me. $1000 for 6 hours. Unregulated centres and uncertified staff was highlighted in the Family Law Commission as an area to be cleaned up. The only real complaint avenue is the state and/or federal attorney generals.

Really big thanks for the replies. Great info for me and other readers ...
 

Poidah

Well-Known Member
9 November 2017
77
3
294
Qld
The centre is a private one
Great for explaining that Jarob. I have not seen any private ones around so it is really good to know about that, and also good to know about the lack of accountability. Well done making them accountable on your own dime. You might be lucky and the state/federal attorney generals might be supportive and provide assistance through their departments. Got my fingers crossed for ya.
 

Jarob

Well-Known Member
25 December 2018
20
0
121
Thanks Poidah I appreciate that. The usual supervisor made commentary the next day after the event to one of the witnesses that the defaming author flipped out a number of times in the recent past(more evidence). She is out of control and I'm hoping there is an unhindered path to put her back in her place and not do this to another person. I'm serious about taking this all the way to the end.

Thanks again ...