Mum’s vile online attack on social worker
A GOLD Coast mum launched a vile Twitter campaign against a social worker who looked after her dying father because she was convinced the woman pressured him to change his will.
Melinda Louise Walsh on Tuesday faced Southport Magistrates Court charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.
The 58-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge in September, nearly 18 months after she first faced court.
Walsh was sentenced to 12 months probation and a three-year good behaviour bond.
The court was told Walsh accused the social worker of being responsible for her father changing his will and making Walsh's estranged brother the sole beneficiary.
The court was told the social worker was investigated by the Office of Health Ombudsman, brought on by a complaint by Walsh, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The director for public prosecutions said that was when Walsh started publishing offensive posts about the victim on Twitter.
Walsh accused the victim of corruption, stealing from the elderly and influencing palliative patients to change their will.
The former sales and marketing executive published 113 offensive posts in four months between September 2018 and January 2019, he said.
Magistrate Kerry McGee said the campaign was clearly designed to diminish the victim's reputation and impact her employment.
"You incorrectly believed you had been disinherited partly because of the conduct of the victim's behaviour," Ms McGee said.
"In posts which either directly named the victim or clearly identified her as the social worker from Pindara (Private) Hospital, you described her as corrupt, stealing from the elderly, engaging in elder abuse and excerpting influence to get unwell persons to change their will.
"You accused her for being responsible for your father dying alone, accused her of shattering families and wrongfully referring matters to the public guardian."
In a statement read in court the victim said she had suffered sleepless nights and feelings of anxiety caused by Walsh's promise to be "relentless (in the) pursuit for justice".
"I am in absolute fear that if this trial does not work today that she will resume what she has been doing," she said.
"I have been fearful at times of my life and my family's life because I've felt Belinda Walsh is unstable, incredibly vindictive and has been asking others to share her tweets."
Defence lawyer Danielle Heable, of Dib & Associates Lawyers, said Walsh has been involved in an ongoing legal battle with her brother over her late parents' estate.
Ms Heable said Walsh, who works part-time in retail, had spent upwards of $50,000 on legal fees and was in a "stressful and dynamic situation".
"This conduct is not indicative of her character, it's indicative of her situation. All of the parties were under stress," Ms Heable said.
"In that moment she had a genuine belief there had been wrongdoing … during which the offending happened she felt wronged by the system.
"The victim so happens to be a community worker that's a part of that system.
"She's then acted out because she felt at the time that she was being genuinely wronged by the system."
Originally published as Coast mum's vile online attack on social worker