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Man nails ex.wife for Defamation based on Facebook allegation he committed domestic violence.

When it comes to Family Law matters, defamation law is rarely considered by lawyers, however as this case shows, if one of the parties takes to social media to vent, not only might they be in breach of s.121 of the Family Law Act and Family Court Orders which too many take too lightly but now with defamation proceedings available as a sword and the offended party sure of payment from the settlement of property in proceedings if no where else, it shows the risks of using social media to vent. 

In the case of Dabrowski v Greeuw (2014) WADC 175, the husband was awarded $12,500 in damages after his ex. was held to have defamed him on Facebook.

After the couple separated, the ex.wife took to facebook to vent with the comment:

“…separated from Miro Dabrowski after 18 years of suffering domestic violence and abuse. Now fighting the system to keep my children safe.”

The husband initiated defamation proceedings citing the impact of the statement on his employment as a teacher and the effect on his standing in the community. 

The wife in her defence argued that she didn't post it and even if she did post it, that it did not have any defamatory imputations, and even if it was defamatory that she was justified in posting it, pursuant to s.25 of the Defamation Act, because it was true.

Despite her claims of domestic violence and a previous interim IVO, she was not able to prove to the Court on the balance of probabilities that Domestic violence had occurred and the Court sided with the husband ordering not only the damages but an injunction preventing the ex.wife making similar allegations in the future. 

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