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



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

The British baker with no shortage of apples

SWEET TREAT: Liberty Sanders can bake everything from a multi-tier wedding cake to an out of this world brownie.

She stayed for love and made baking her business.

Teens break into iconic buildings, light stolen car on fire

The teenagers have been charged with break and enter, arson of motor vehicle and wilful damage.

The car caught fire shortly after midnight.

WIN a fishing trip, $5000 BCF voucher and get free stuff

Want to catch one of these big fellas!? Get your name into our competition to win the ultimate fishing holiday!

WERE running a stack of reely incredible giveaways!

Local Partners

Rockies owners consider banning visitors

visitors who vandalise and trash The Rockies waterhole have owners considering banning all users.


No prep is about the dragway surface not the cars

Royden Hardcastle will compete in his 1928 Dodge Senior 6 in the No Prep Kaos meeting at Warwick Dragway this Saturday.

Historic day on Saturday for Warwick Dragway

Hurricanes bunny has best of two ducks on a weekend

Hurricanes brains trust Mark Fowler and David Hallman during a carnival game at Dunning Oval.

Batting Bunnies fit in well with Hurricanes Elite fun cricket team

Barrel racing series to start at Warwick Showgrounds

Chelsea Longney and Tina Ross are two of the starters in the barrel racing weekend at the Warwick Showgrounds on January 28-29.

Only four days left to nominate for first stand-alone barrel race

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Buderim man strips off for speed dating with a twist

RAW AMBITION: Buderim local Jackson pictured with his blind date Candice in a scene from SBS's new dating show Undressed.

People have done stranger things for love

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Why tree-changers want to buy in the Southern Downs

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price for the Downs dropped 1.5% to $241,250 the September quarter.

Region's median house price drops 1.5% to $241,250

Collapsed Coast company could owe up to $5 million

Staff, ATO, landlords among those out of pocket.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!