Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk. Photo: Daily Telegraph.

MP cleared of calling opponent’s family ‘murderers’

Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk has won a defamation case against a former council candidate who claimed she urged people not to vote for him because his family were “murderers and drug dealers.”

In September 2012, real estate agent and Independent candidate Rabie Chehade, claimed that the Miss Mihailuk pointed at a sign showing his name and photo and said in the company of various people “don’t vote for this man, his first cousin is a murderer, he is in jail for double life.”

It is also alleged that she pointed at a flyer with Mr Chehade’s name and photo and said “don’t vote for him, they are bad people, they are in trouble with the law, they are drug dealers and they have been in jail.”

Mr Chehade said that as a result of this harassment he was “damaged in his character and reputation” and that he has been subjected to “hatred, ridicule and contempt”.

But Sydney District Court Judge Leonard Levy sided with Ms Mihailuk, concluding that “the claimed defamatory words were not uttered by the defendant, as has been alleged by the plaintiff”.

“I consider her evidence to be unconvincing and based on a reconstruction that vacillated in its content.

“I also find that the evidence of Mahmoud Chehade to be unconvincing on the pivotal factual question in dispute.

“There were textual differences between the evidence of Mahmoud Chehade and what was pleaded in the statement of claim.”

Judge Levy said that “on its face, (Ms Mihailuk’s) evidence was credible, and it was recounted in a credible manner”.

Mr Chehade was ordered to pay Ms Mihailuk’s court costs.

 

Source Daily Telegraph

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