Country music club AGM turns ugly

YEPPOON’S Anthony Martin has launched an action for defamation against a woman he claims verbally attacked him at Keppel Coast Country Music Club’s AGM in February.

Mr Martin, the club’s secretary at the meeting, is suing Frances Clarke for $250,000, alleging the comments she made were defamatory, exposed him to public scandal, contempt and embarrassment.

According to the statement of claim, Ms Clarke said certain members of the committee had

behaved in a manner so extreme she could not bring herself to shake their hands.

A claim, lodged last week with the Rockhampton District Court, says it was clear to all she was referring to Mr Martin.

A transcript of her speech accompanied the claim.

It includes reference to an incident where dog faeces was allegedly left at the doorstep of the club’s caretaker.

The claim alleges that the words of Ms Clarke, a club member, implied he behaved like a dictator who ignored the club’s constitution, that the committee had been wasteful with funds and a law unto itself and Mr Martin committed or was involved in serious misconduct including wilful and criminal damage – all points strongly rejected.

It alleges Ms Clarke failed or refused to apologise or retract her words to the satisfaction of Mr Martin.

Sections of Ms Clarke’s speech are highlighted in the claim and include the following:

“Apparently if you are a member of this committee you can say and do just as you please without due consideration for the long-term effect on our club.”

“certain members of our club ... behaved and conducted themselves in a manner so extreme as to make it impossible for me to shake the hand of anyone of these persons involved.”

“Wilful, criminal damage.”

“The hiring of a regular security guard and unnecessary expense to the club of which there are many.”

“It was only in a melodramatic and exaggerated fashion that the dominant member of the committee closed the practice down, without regard to the members, some of whom had travelled from Rockhampton and had no idea what was going on.”

“To formulate the next attack.”

“Famous olive branch tactic.”

The legal representatives for both Mr Martin and Ms Clarke declined to comment. Mr Martin’s lawyer also said his client would not be making further comment.

The Morning Bulletin has made numerous attempts to contact Ms Clarke, but has been unsuccessful.

The club has a new committee in place.

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