Blind justice

We won. Justice might be blind – but it finds it extra hard to see both sides of the story if one isn’t present.

Our long running feud with John Gribbin Realty came to a close today – and I can’t bring myself to think badly of them any longer. Our overbearing landlord received his comeuppance in absentia – and I’m really relishing the thought of the conversation he must be having with the agents.

We arrived at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal at 11.00, waited half an hour to front up before the judge (though I’m not sure what you call the person at that level?). He tried to phone the agent twice – it went through to message bank both times – so he asked for our side of the story. We conceded $150 worth of damage (an oil stain, some chipped tiles (that I think happened when we were setting up some furniture), and a broken shelf (that Robyn stood on briefly – though we’re not sure that’s what broke it). We probably could have fought for all of those. We walked away with $1,100 (and hopefully our $90 application fee).

We argued that the rest of the damage was fair wear and tear – and didn’t even have to present any of the evidence I stayed up until 12.30am preparing. He ruled in our favour almost straight away. He seemed to think that trying to keep all of our bond while only claiming against $600 of it was pretty unreasonable. We agree.

John Gribbin saved the day. I thought this might happen because they never answer the phone when you try to ring them. Clearly they’re in need of a better telephony system… but the moral to the story is that if John Gribbin Realty in Townsville try to take you to the cleaners (literally and figuratively) over your bond – fight them. They’re bullies. They have a reputation (I’ve spoken to plenty of other people with similar experiences in this saga) for bullying – but like most bullies they don’t handle things well if you don’t back down.

Don’t rent a unit through them in Diprose St – the landlord is particularly aggressive and vindictive. And I really am chuckling at what I think will be his reaction when he hears the court ruled against him mostly because his representatives didn’t front.


Bree says:

nice work!

Al Bain says:

This seems

1. defamatory (i am assuming that John Gribbin is a real name)

2. like gloating.

Nathan says:

It's not defamation if it's true. It has been a long running saga. John Gribbin Realty in Townsville see their tenant's bond as an entitlement. I've spoken to a lot of their former tenants.

It is gloating. They have refused to cooperate, refused to negotiate, insisted that we were in the wrong and had maliciously damaged our rental… And then they didn't turn up in court to back up their claims.

Our landlord lived on site and was one of the nastiest and graceless men I have ever met, he lied, made wild accusations and yelled at my wife for no reason. So I am savouring this justice.

Leah says:

How could this possibly be defamation?

It's true and supported by a court ruling.

Amy says:

This is satisfying on so many levels.
Goes to show you, if you are a business, answer your phone.

gjware says:

Glad to hear the matter is settled.
The spiritual danger of finding our spirits embittered through protracted disputes of this sort is very real. All the more so when the position defended is one where you are clearly in the right.
I am not sure that truth is a total defence in defamation. But I'm not a lawyer.
In the catechism material on the ninth commandment the point is made that even if something is true it still needs to be propogated for constructive uses.
And there's Philippians 4:8.

Nathan says:

I'd counter that helping anybody googling "John Gribbin Realty" avoid the nightmare we've been put through fits both Philippians 4 and the ten commandments.

I am pretty sure (having studied both journalism and media law) that truth is a defense for defamation – it is in fact a complete defense.

I don't think "turn the other cheek" applies to preventing other people going through the same dramas you have – I think this is more a case of practically loving your neighbour.
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gjware says:

I appreciate your comments and the professional experience that informs them.

I'm spending some time this evening waiting for the Storm/Dragons game to start. It's showing on Victorian tv at 10.30, amazingly early. Believe it or not, South Australian tv actually starts 'Ben Hur' at 10.00pm and puts the League on after it finishes at 2.15am
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Nathan says:

Wow. I'll try to provide some blog based entertainment in the meantime – I'm enjoying the Broncos v Roosters at the moment. Which gives me ample opportunity to post stuff from my mile long queue of worthwhile material from around the net.

I take it you're watching the Victorian version?
My recent post An ode to the moon

gjware says:

Oh yeah. Ben Hur I can watch on DVD.
Anyway, I've caught up on my reading on current Australian defamation law tonight.
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Al Bain says:

Nathan. This is deja vu and I'm having way too much fun here. Too much like old times when I'd get calls from the newspaper editor late on a Friday afternoon wanting advice about the next days story.

Except that now I'm an *ex* lawyer and you're an *ex* journo. Which means that before I say anything else than gets up peoples goat, I should just bow out and get on with getting things organised for our son's 3rd birthday party tomorrow.

Nathan says:

But, for those playing along at home… there are national defamation laws (replacing former laws that had some inconsistencies across different states)… here's a nutshell summary of the "truth" defence. I'm pretty sure it was invented for bloggers… it comes from The News Manual


Truth (which is also called justification) is probably the best defence. Formerly in some states (such as NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT) truth was only a defence if you could prove that a ‘public interest’ was served by publishing the defamatory words. This requirement has been dropped from the Uniform Defamation Law and now there is a defence if the defendant can prove that the defamatory imputations are substantially true."

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AndrewFinden says:

Do you have any thoughts on the recent defamation case that was in the Royal Courts in the UK?