EXCLUSIVE: MP's staff member sues over social posts
A BITTER two-year social media row between a Maryborough Labor staffer and two Maryborough residents has culminated in a defamation lawsuit.
The Chronicle can reveal Paul Freyer, who works in Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders's office, has lodged defamation proceedings in Maryborough Magistrates Court against Granville woman Carolyn Packer and Jason Loft, the son of sacked mayor Chris Loft.
This is over a series of Facebook posts and an interview on Jason's now-deleted blog The FC Journal.
Court documents filed by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers in March 2018 claim Ms Packer published a number of defamatory statements from two different Facebook accounts between October and November 2017.
Mr Freyer claims the statements suggest he is "a bully" who engaged in domestic violence and was "a criminal".
According to court documents one of the posts details an incident where Ms Packer alleged Mr Freyer assaulted her outside the Maryborough RSL in November 2017.
The documents further claim Ms Packer participated in a video and audio interview on The FC Journal with Mr Loft, where she repeated her statements.
That interview was republished via the site's Facebook, YouTube and iTunes feed.
Mr Freyer is seeking up to $150,000 in damages.
Ms Packer and Mr Loft both claim neither of them own their respective accounts and have asked the lawsuit to be dismissed.
Ms Packer, a 64-year-old on a disability pension who claims she has "no funds to employ a fancy lawyer like the Plaintiff", has filed a counter-claim for "victimisation by the Plaintiff of unnecessary stress, depression, triggering... PTSD (and) causing an emotional breakdown".
Further documents reveal Ms Packer approached the Department of Justice and Attorney-General seeking mediation with Mr Freyer in October last year.
Mr Freyer did not respond and the file was closed in November.
Mr Loft's documents claim he did not own the accounts and pages associated with The FC Journal and he is "not liable for any content published to these accounts".
He is further requesting an apology for "the undue stress and psychological harm" to his wife and son for serving them the legal proceedings in his absence.
The blog and its associated accounts can no longer be found.
When contacted by the Chronicle, Mr Saunders said the matter was before the courts and declined to comment.
A spokeswoman from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, acting on behalf of Mr Freyer, said they had "nothing further to add" due to legal action being underway.
Mr Loft and Ms Packer declined to comment. A date has not been set for a hearing.