How parents will fight $1m school defamation case
PARENTS being sued by a Gold Coast school principal after allegedly defaming her will argue their comments were true and could not have damaged her reputation, a court has heard.
In a judgment issued in Southport District Court today, Judge David Kent said the parents would be able to "plead contextual truth" at an upcoming judge-only trial.
Tamborine Mountain State High School principal Tracey Brose is suing five parents for more than $1 million
Robina parents Donna and Miguel Baluskas face losing their family home after comments they allegedly made online in 2016.
They were ordered to pay Ms Brose $32,968 in court costs on July 19 linked to pre-trial proceedings relating to their defence pleadings.
The couple's son attended the school for a short time before he was expelled in 2014.
"About time something is done about this evil, nasty, horrible women (sic)," Mrs Baluskas allegedly wrote on an online Change.org petition on March 7, 2016, a court has previously heard.
"She makes my blood boil and bought (sic) so much pain and stress upon our family and many others. All because our kids aren't "A" students which will affect her overall school ratings," Mrs Baluskas is alleged to have written.
Mr Baluskas allegedly wrote: "What a joke! I can't believe that it has taken the Education
Department this long to react to the numerous complaints of parents that have confronted her on the way she would handle situations regarding their child.
"She thinks she is investigator, judge, jury and executioner and not a good one at that.
"She is not interested in the kids that don't fit the norm of education only high achievers. The only skill she had learnt in the last 16 years is the gift of the gag. Good riddens (sic)," he allegedly wrote, a court previously heard.
The petition was collecting signatures to see Ms Brose reinstated after she was temporarily suspended with full pay in early 2016, the court was told.
Ms Brose, who was cleared and reappointed, argues false Facebook comments were made to a broad audience likely to know her in a professional capacity, and the suit is aimed at vindicating her reputation.
Mrs Baluskas phoned into the Southport District Court today, as did Ms Brose's barrister Holly Blattman.
Deciding on competing applications, Mr Kent summed up his decision for Mrs Baluskas.
"Your side was probably successful on what is the most important thing to you, which is this idea of being able to plead contextual truth," he said.
Judge Kent said elements of the parents' proposed defence, including reference to "the idea of evil", were "excluded".
The trial is due to go ahead in early October.