A man from Bunbury in Western Australia has won a defamation claim against his estranged wife after she claimed on Facebook to have been a victim of domestic violence.
A court in the state capital of Perth ruled that she was unable to substantiate the claim and awarded the man, a teacher, AU $12,500 (£6645.43) in damages.
In a post on the social networking site, the women alleged that he and her spouse had separated after 18 years in which she had suffered “domestic violence and abuse” at his hands, adding that she was now trying to protect her children.
But she took down the post after receiving a letter from her husband’s lawyers.
Representing herself in the subsequent proceedings, the man’s wife claimed that she had not uploaded the disputed statements to Facebook, and that someone must have “accessed her computer remotely”, The Guardian reports. The screenshot offered in evidence had been faked, she alleged, also arguing in her defence that the post had been “substantially true” – ‘justified’ in legal terms.
Her husband denied abuse or violence.
In his ruling, Judge Michael Bowden said domestic violence was a crime that often occurred behind closed doors in the absence of witnesses. But the wife’s credibility had been undermined by her claims about the nature of the disputed post on Facebook, the Judge ruled, amongst other issues.
She had given evidence in ”a most unsatisfactory manner”, the Judge continued, “a manner that was not responsive to the question but designed to reinforce her evidence that she was subject to domestic violence and abuse.”
He could not accept her claims without “independent evidence or documents contemporaneously made with the events she now complains of.”
Photo of Bunbury by Bram Souffreau via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence