‘Vindicated’ principal says ‘you can’t do this to people’
SCHOOL principal Tracey Brose says she feels vindicated by the bitter defamation battle that rocked a quiet mountain community, despite being awarded just $6000 in damages.
After at one point seeking more than $1.5 million from a host of angry school parents who allegedly defamed her online, Mrs Brose insisted "it was never about money" and would have accepted $1.
Mrs Brose was left with a $600,000 legal bill - which cannot be recouped under an order by the court, had her integrity seriously questioned and her family was also subjected to a terrifying ordeal which left them screaming while an enraged Miguel Baluskas tried to kick in their front door.
She said that had forced the family to upgrade home security and police now make regular patrols.
However, in her first media interview of the whole sorry saga, Mrs Brose yesterday insisted she would do it all again.
Mr Baluskas and his wife Donna were each ordered to pay $3000 in damages and to refrain from making any further defamatory comments in the future.
Before yesterday's decision, Mrs Brose had already received about $180,000 in out-of-court settlements from other parties involved in the toxic tussle.
"It was never about money and it was never going to end in money," said Mrs Brose.
"This has been a four-year journey … at some point you need to say enough is enough.
"Would have loved an apology and would have loved a retraction … from the very beginning and we all wouldn't have ended up here, but if I can't get that, I need to make sure myself and my kids are safe.
"Whether it's $3000 or $300,000, the important part is that someone has said you can't do this to people."
However, she said she doubted the battle was truly over.
"Sadly, I don't think our lot in life will improve because I believe the defendants will continue well past this," she said.