Maxine Noone (left) sued Heather Mansell Brown for defamation in the Brisbane District Court.
Maxine Noone (left) sued Heather Mansell Brown for defamation in the Brisbane District Court. Crystal Jones

$100K estimate: Aged care advocate to pay 50% of trial costs

MILLMERRAN Centenary Retirement Village president John Rogers said his board was satisfied with the Brisbane District Court ordering Bundaberg aged care advocate Heather Mansell Brown pay 50% of the cost of a defamation trial brought against her.

Ms Mansell Brown was sued by Millmerran Centenary Retirement Village clinical care manager Maxine Noone after a series of Facebook posts from 2017.

She was ordered to pay $15,000 in damages to Ms Noone in a judgement early this month, despite the court finding it was substantially true that Ms Noone was unfit to hold her role and incompetent because of "alcohol issues, her treatment of some patients and her dealings with staff (bullying), doctors, and relatives of patients".

Judge Paul Smith also found Ms Mansell Brown had honestly held the opinion that Ms Noone was unfit and incompetent.

But the court found it was not true Ms Noone was dismissed from her previous employment because of missing drugs or alcohol issues, as Ms Mansell Brown had claimed.

While there was a court process that would assess the amount Ms Mansell Brown would have to pay, Mr Rogers said he estimated it to be "anything up to $100,000".

"Our costs of the action have been borne by the organisation that defended its employee," he said.

"She was performing her role and attacked while performing her role in the organisation.

"We chose to defend her and stem the reputational damage to our organisation that was occurring as a flow-on effect.

"It is what it is. It's a partial judgement. We're more than satisfied with the outcome. I think there's a pretty fair lesson in there for people who use social media inappropriately."