News

Scrupulous honest agent wins defamation action

A PROMINENT Toowoomba real estate agent has successfully sued a convicted property fraudster, who once operated in Warwick, for defamation.

Darryl John Loane - who attempted to run real estate investment seminars in Warwick in 2008 while facing major fraud charges - found himself taken to court this month by Douglas Trenham of Copas First National Real Estate in Toowoomba.

The defamation action by Mr Trenham followed letters sent in June, 2010, by Mr Loane to Mr Trenham's offices and to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), accusing Mr Trenham of suspected trust account fraud.

The District Court in Brisbane heard that Mr Loane's brother, Paul Schmidt-Lee, was a former employee of Mr Trenham's firm and that he and Mr Trenham had had "a falling out".

Mr Loane's letters followed conversations he had with his brother in which Mr Schmidt-Lee asked Mr Loane to report his suspicions of trust account irregularities to the Office of Fair Trading, later producing what he claimed was documentary evidence in the form of a "sales deposit report".

Mr Schmidt-Lee was later convicted of hacking Mr Trenham's computer.

The court heard the accusations had left Mr Trenham "devastated, distraught and angry".

Under cross-examination in court Mr Loane, who represented himself, claimed to have simply acted in "the public interest" by referring his brother's concerns on to the OFT.

But in a 17-page judgement delivered this week District Court Judge Nicholas Samios ruled that while the OFT found there was evidence of a minor instance of one of Mr Trenham's staff not following office protocols, the OFT found there was no wrongdoing by Mr Trenham in the handling of his firm's trust account monies.

"There was no evidence a transfer of money from the trust account to the general account before settlement was frequent," Judge Samios wrote.

"There was no evidence Mr Trenham paid general operating expenses and his personal debts from trust account money."

His Honour went further, describing Mr Loane - who was jailed for 15 months in 2008 for fraudulently obtaining a property loan worth several million dollars - as "a person who was prepared to misrepresent to Mr Trenham, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, and the OFT that he had been approached by a client for advice", and knew that his accusations were "not true".

"His statement...in the letter was not an honest statement.

"I find he had no honest basis to refer to trust account fraud on what he had been given by his brother and was not honest about being given information by his brother of a very serious nature," His Honour said.

"I find Mr Loane was prepared to act in his brother's interests whom he knew had had a falling out with Mr Trenham."

In contrast Judge Samios said he accepted all of Mr Trenham's evidence.

He also found that Mr Loane's allegations and the court case had caused Mr Trenham "significant distress".

He accepted evidence from witnesses who said Mr Trenham was "highly regarded" in the real estate industry and in general, Mr Trenham was "very scrupulous and honest".

His Honour assessed Mr Trenham's damages at $100,000 and added interest from June 14 2010 of $12,050.

Topics:  defamation real estate agent toowoomba



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

$1.5 billion Ripley development on track for new year

Construction of Ripley Town Centre stage one is set to begin next year.

Town Centre 80% sold to Coles, speciality stores

Woollies heart attack: Doctors used a defibrillator 40 times

LIFE SAVERS: Ed Stubbs (centre) had a heart attack at the Inala Woolworths store and was helped by quick think store manager Marc Roper (right) and customer David Duprat (left) who administered CPR.

VIDEO: Survivor says thanks to the heroes who saved his life.

REVEALED: Shopping centre announces new dining options

Redbank Plaza announces the new food and drink options opening in store.

SUSHI, health food and vegan donuts just some of the food on offer.

Local Partners

FLOOD RISK: Mayors launch plan to protect $260M industry

A COMPREHENSIVE plan to deal with the flood risk to rivers and lakes in the Lockyer Valley has been launched.


Top 5 Christmas events around Ipswich

The Twighlight Christmas Parade was just the first of many events around the region.

THERE are plenty of exciting Christmas activities coming up.

It's official, Christmas has started in Ipswich

TIS THE SEASON: Plenty of families got into the holiday spirit at the Christmas Twilight Parade.

PHOTOS: Annual Twilight Parade draws hundreds, more events to come

What's on this weekend

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Things to do in Ipswich

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Seacrest: Things are "going better" for Kim and Kanye

Ryan Seacrest says things are "going better now" for Kanye West

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

INSIDE STORY: Disused pipeline stops hundreds from building

TRAIL OF TEARS: Route of the disused Santos oil pipeline which is stopping hundreds of Ipswich residents from building.

Santos responds but Tully says easements issue must be addressed

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!