Principal hits back at defamation critics

 

DEFIANT Tamborine Mountain school principal Tracey Brose has hit back at the critics over her role in the extraordinary defamation battle that divided a community and left parents bankrupt.

Mrs Brose, the long-term principal of Tamborine Mountain State High School, was on Friday awarded a paltry $6000 in damages from former school parents Donna and Miguel Baluskas after initially seeking more than $1.5 million from a group dubbed 'the Fateful Eight'.

She later said the case, which stemmed from a series of derogatory comments posted online after she was suspended four years ago before being reinstated, was not about the money, but her claims were yesterday ((SUBS 29-2)) questioned by parents of former students of the school.

The assertion was also questioned in the official court judgment by Judge Catherine Muir, who said any claim Mrs Brose wanted 'nothing more than an apology was not borne out in he evidence', which detailed a calculated assessment of the assets of some of her fiercest critics.

Tamborine Mountain High School Principal Tracey Brose leaves court after Friday’s decision. Picture: Adam Head
Tamborine Mountain High School Principal Tracey Brose leaves court after Friday’s decision. Picture: Adam Head

Mrs Brose, who on Friday told reporters she felt vindicated by the decision and would do it all again, also said the court action was about her family's safety, referring to a terrifying attack on the family home by Mr Baluskas in which he kicked in the front door and was later handed a suspended jail sentence.

The 2018 incident occurred almost two years after Mrs Brose commenced defamation proceedings against the Baluskas family and several other disgruntled parents who posted derogatory comments on Facebook and a Change.org petition.

However, speaking to The Sunday Mail on Sunday, Mrs Brose said she had been determined to see the case through to the bitter end 'once the defendants crossed the line'.

"We realised we needed to be brave and see this through, regardless of the financial costs and losses, for the protection of our family," she said.

"We are in the process of seeking a further restraining order through Queensland Police."

She also said she was not responsible for setting the damages claim of more than $1.5 million.

"I deferred any setting of damage amounts to my legal team who are experts in that area," she said.

Donna and Miguel Baluskas console each other outside court after the verdict. Picture: Adam Head.
Donna and Miguel Baluskas console each other outside court after the verdict. Picture: Adam Head.

She maintained she was genuine in saying 'it wasn't about the money', citing several examples of people who apologised at the beginning of the defamation action and had their cases dismissed without having to pay damages.

"The judge (who was critical in some of her comments) was not privy to many out-of-court discussions," she said.

Mr and Mrs Baluskas have already vowed to appeal Friday's decision.



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