Former police chief prevails in defamation suit brought by ex-SHOPO president
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A jury on Monday sided with former Police Chief Susan Ballard in a defamation suit.
The suit was brought by Tenari Maafala, who stepped down as president of the police union in 2018.
Maafala had argued that Ballard damaged his reputation with statements she made to Honolulu Civil Beat in 2017, accusing him of overtime abuse. In testimony, Ballard claimed her statements were mischaracterized.
Ballard said on the stand that when she said “overtime issues” to Civil Beat, she did not mean “overtime abuses.”
In their decision, the jury found that Ballard hadn’t made false statements to Civil Beat.
Because of that, the jury didn’t have to decide on the question of malice ― also required to prove defamation because Maafala is a public figure.
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