Michael Yarwood and Joseph
Michael Yarwood and Joseph "Will the Wrecker" Smith are locked in a multimillion-dollar legal battle. Photo: Supplied

Former Meter Maids boss in $400,000 defamation claim

FORMER Meter Maids boss Michael Yarwood is facing a damages claim for more than $400,000 in the latest shots in the messy Will the Wrecker dispute.

Gold Coast barrister Chris Garlick, who acts as Joseph "Will" Smith's joint enduring power of attorney and gathers evidence for his court cases, has launched fresh legal action against Mr Yarwood in the District Court in Brisbane.

According to documents on the court file, Mr Garlick is seeking $398,500 after alleging Mr Yarwood sent out a defamatory letter.

Former Surfers Paradise Meter Maids general manager Michael Yarwood arriving at Brisbane Supreme Courts. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Former Surfers Paradise Meter Maids general manager Michael Yarwood arriving at Brisbane Supreme Courts. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

But the claim also requests aggravated compensatory damages, recognising his position as a barrister along with costs, which could lead to a substantially higher compensation payout.

In August last year, Mr Yarwood wrote to the Robson Cotter Insolvency Group in Surfers Paradise.

His email refers to the FSG Automotive Group Pty Ltd and attempt by Mr Smith, who was seeking vehicles registered to him, to wind up the company.

Mr Yarwood had been previously employed to manage the motor-vehicle trading business for Mr Smith in partnership with Nathan Gumbleton and Adrian Fuller.

Barrister Chris Garlick at his Southport office. Photo: Kit Wise
Barrister Chris Garlick at his Southport office. Photo: Kit Wise

He wrote in the email about up to a dozen legal actions which he and his firm had launched against Mr Smith and Mr Garlick since his role as business manager to the wrecker was terminated.

In the statement of claim for Mr Garlick, it is alleged the email, sent on the letterhead of Michael Yarwood Management, contained at least six defamatory remarks about the barrister.

Mr Garlick is accused of harassing Mr Yarwood and his wife and their six-year-old son, making threats of extortion, stolen property and fraudulently altered company records - allegations which the barrister strongly denies.

Will the Wrecker’s Reedy Creek property. Picture Mike Batterham
Will the Wrecker’s Reedy Creek property. Picture Mike Batterham

The claim notes that Mr Garlick had been "greatly injured" by the email and "his personal and professional reputation has been and will be brought into public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt".

The claim for aggravated damages was based on Mr Garlick's "knowledge of the falsity of the claims", the "sensationalist content and tone of the letter" and a continuing "smear campaign" by Mr Yarwood against him.

Mr Yarwood sued Mr Smith for $1.9 million in the Supreme Court for lost earnings, but in December lost the legal action.

In an affidavit, Mr Garlick said he had received awards by Queensland police for assisting fraud victims and had never threatened in writing or orally the Yarwood family or their businesses.

A spokesman for Mr Yarwood said the former Meter Maids boss was currently recovering from an illness and not available for comment.

But Mr Yarwood would "vigorously defend the matter" and lodge a counter claim against Mr Garlick.