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The Unsocial Network: couple faces $15K legal bill after Facebook post

Before composing your next pithy Facebook post consider the case of the Palmers: the Sydney couple who now face a $15,000 legal bill after a Facebook post.

Barking mad

In July 2014 posters began appearing around the sleepy hamlet of Scotland Island, which is located 30 km north of Sydney and only accessible by boat.

The posters featured a photo of local resident Nader Mohareb and accused him of failing to control his King Charles spaniels in public. The poster also accused Mr Mohareb of being "highly volatile", "prone to manic outbursts" and "known to police".

A photo of the poster was subsequently posted on the Scotland Island Community Facebook page by Matt Palmer, who also speculated that Mr Mohareb "may or may not be related to Satan."

Thumbs Down

The post was soon removed by page admins, while Matt Palmer and his wife Annette denying they created or distributed the poster.

That didn't stop Mr Mohareb from suing the couple for defamation, with the case appearing in court seven times.

Expensive outing

What followed is a comedy of errors. Mr Mohareb eventually agreed to drop the case and pay part of the Palmer's legal costs, in exchange for an apology posted on the Scotland Island Community Facebook page.

However news of the agreement didn't get through to the page's moderator, who deleted the apology soon after it was posted. And the matter went back to the courts.

Mr Palmer posted another apology, but misspelled Mr Mohareb's name, and once again the apology had to be deleted.

Dog's life

When the dust finally settled the Palmer's face legal costs close to $15,000.

There is no word on the behaviour of Mr Mohareb's King Charles spaniels.

At the time of writing the latest apology has once more disappeared from the Scotland Island Community Facebook page.
 

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