‘All we did was stick up for our children’
THE bankrupt parents found to have defamed principal Tracey Brose - who was the head of their son's former school - have vowed to appeal the ruling.
Despite Judge Catherine Muir ruling Donna and Miguel Baluskas' defamatory comments were published when they posted on a Change.org petition on March 7, 2016, the couple claimed outside court their comments were "never, ever published".
"We've lost our house, we've lost our car, we've lost our caravan. She's sent us bankrupt," an emotional Mrs Baluskas said.
"I'm sorry, she can send her bill, she can stick it up her arse and it send it to our (bankruptcy) trustees.
"All we did was stick up for our children … She specifically chose the people that owned properties so that she could financially gain from us."
Despite the paltry $3000 damages payout which is dwarfed by the $110,000 she was seeking from him at the end of the trial and the $220,000 she initially sought from each defendant, Mr Baluskas said it was "not a good judgment".
"Everyone's saying it's a good judgment - it's not," he said.
"You know what a good judgment would have been? 'Sorry Mrs Brose... get out of the courtroom - you guys don't have to pay anything'.
"You know what? I hurt people's feelings every day - do you see me getting sued every day? "No."
The couple, who were self-represented at trial, will need leave of the court if they wish to appeal the decision to a higher court, as it is not automatically granted when litigants are bankrupt.
Grocery merchandiser Laura Lawson, from Coomera, who was victorious after Judge Muir threw out Mrs Brose's defamation claim against her, said outside court she felt vindicated.
"I said from the very beginning that my comments did not defame Ms Brose and Judge Muir upheld that. But unfortunately I had to waste four years of my life on something that I didn't do," Ms Lawson said.
She said it was unfortunate that Mr and Mrs Baluskas "didn't get what they want".
"The defamation law needs to change. The last time it changed was 2006, 2005 before Twitter, before Facebook … it needs to change and come up with the times for social media," she said.
"It's been a long time of my life and I am relieved it's finally over."