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



10 best street art spots to take an Insta selfie

IF YOU are in need of a few trendy new Instagram snaps, then get your phone and selfie-stick ready and head to Brisbane.

Where to find the best coffee

Strauss is known for its superb brew.

COFFEE snobbery is at an all-time high.

Theatre royalty graces Brisbane stage

Don't miss Charles Edwards in this incredible theatre performance.

WHEN acting royalty comes to town, you sit up and take notice.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Women's achievements inspire at Warwick event

Sarah Elliott, Anna Hardy, Sarah Ogden and Sally Higgins enjoying the 2016 Women's Day breakfast.

Zonta Club invites all to celebrate International Women's Day

Help celebrate Aboriginal heritage

PROUD IDENTITY: Sharman Parsons with father David Parsons at the Bunya Festival stall during Jumpers and Jazz.

Head along to Maryvale for the Bunya Festival

A Warwick volunteer's unwavering passion

DEDICATION: Long-time volunteer and Warwick Show chairman John Wilson is excited to present the 150th show this year with the help of an incredible team of volunteers.

Meet Warwick Show chairman

Local Partners

Fancy dress tea party stirs up the past

EVER wanted to dress up in 19th century attire and don tails and a top hat or an ankle-sweeping dress with a petticoat and corset?


Help celebrate Aboriginal heritage

PROUD IDENTITY: Sharman Parsons with father David Parsons at the Bunya Festival stall during Jumpers and Jazz.

Head along to Maryvale for the Bunya Festival

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

The true cause of the Oscars bungle

THE Oscars have ended with a moment that left everyone speechless — but not in a way anyone expected.

HUGE OSCARS FAIL: Wrong film handed Best Picture award

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

IN A monumental stuff-up, La La Land incorrectly named Best Picture.

Blue Heelers' Ditch Davey joins 800 Words cast

Ditch Davey joins the cast of 800 Words as Terry, the younger brother of George, played by Erik Thomson.

George Turner's brother, Terry, arrives to Weld with a 'few demons'

Oscars winners 2017: Full list of Academy Award winners

Viola Davis accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for Fences at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

WHO won Oscars this year? Here’s a full list of every winner.

Why can’t Nicole Kidman clap properly?

Nicole Kidman's style of clapping has puzzled Oscars viewers.

FOR some reason, it seems Nicole doesn’t really know how to clap.

Muslim actor makes Oscars history

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for Moonlight at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

MOONLIGHT star Mahershala Ali makes Academy Award history.

NO ONE OFF LIMITS: Kimmel burns down the house at Oscars

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

HOST delivers a torrent of abuse on Hollywood’s night of nights.

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!