ADVOCATE: Heather Mansell Brown.
ADVOCATE: Heather Mansell Brown. Contributed

Aged care advocate being sued over drink, drug claims

AN OUTSPOKEN Bundaberg aged cared advocate is being sued for defamation over Facebook posts made about a Queensland retirement village and its director of nursing.

In October 2017, Heather Mansell-Brown  posted several Facebook comments to her 167 followers claiming Millmerran Centenary Retirement Village, on the Darling Downs, had been subject to complaints of "staff bullying, forging signatures" and "miss use (sic) of medication".

She also claimed in the posts, which could also be seen by any member of the public who viewed the page, there has been a "total lack of discernment and negligence" at the facility.

Ms Mansell-Brown claimed the village should "be thinking of sacking your incompetent DON (Director of Nursing), president and board members that does not have the interest in or consideration of the elderly and their welfare..."

Millmerran Centenary clinical care manager and director of nursing Maxine Noone in 2018 lodged defamation action against Ms Mansell-Brown in the Queensland Supreme Court in relation to the statements published in the posts and related comments.

Noone claims reference to the "DON" identified her in the posts because she held that role at the retirement village.

Two days after the first allegedly defamatory post, Ms Mansell-Brown wrote: "Well we all know one person who will not suffer dehydration, the DON drinks on duty at Millmerran".

At another date in October two years ago, Ms Noone alleges further defamatory posts were made, claiming she was "escorted off the premises at her last job" after allegations of drinking and "missing narcotic drugs".

Ms Noone claims the posts are defamatory and untrue and lead to the conclusion she was incompetent and unfit to undertake her role at the facility.

She claims the posts would lead the general public to believe she was habitually drunk at work and dismissed from her previous job because of a problem with narcotics.

Ms Noone claims her reputation has been injured and she is seeking aggravated damages from the court.

During a hearing held in Brisbane yesterday, Ms Noone gave evidence she had been significantly affected by the allegedly defamatory posts.

"It's devastating to me as a person because I feel like it was a slur on my professionalism... I felt really undermined," she said.

"The posts impacted on my everyday life... they certainly have had an effect on my marriage..."

It was also revealed by Ms Noone during the hearing, the organisation that owned the retirement village had received 36 anonymous and on the record complaints between October 2016 and August 2018.

The trial continues on Wednesday and is expected to run for three days.

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