A woman who was sentenced in 2010 for lying to Abbotsford Police about a rape has now been ordered to pay $135,000 to her father for falsely claiming in an online post that he had sexually abused her daughter.
The decision was issued Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack.
Tammi Zall was sued by her father, John Zall, based on a GoFundMe post made in February 2015 in which she claimed he had done “inappropriate things” to her daughter.
She was seeking donations to purchase furnishings for their new home and to buy a car to to take her daughter to school, doctor’s appointments and court hearings.
In the post, Tammi Zall stated that she and her six-year-old daughter had been living with her father for two years. About two weeks before Christmas in 2014, her daughter came to her and disclosed the abuse, Tammi wrote.
“Upon hearing that, I removed her from the house with the company of the RCMP,” she wrote, adding that she had left without a vehicle.
She further stated that her daughter went through “forensic testing as well as emotional testing and will continue with counselling.”
Chilliwack RCMP Const. Jason Raaflaub, who investigated the sexual abuse claims, testified at the civil trial in April that he found no evidence of wrongdoing after interviewing John Zall – a Chilliwack resident – and reviewing the granddaughter’s statement to police.
He also stated that although police had attended John’s home on Dec. 14, 2014, it was due to a family squabble. No sexual assault allegation was made by Tammi at the time.
That allegation was not made to police until early 2015.
Raaflaub also stated in court that John passed a polygraph exam “with flying colours and no indications of deception” and that an email sent to police from a child psychologist who had interviewed Tammi’s daughter indicated that the girl had made no disclosure about sexual abuse.
In the written ruling, Justice Jennifer Duncan stated that Tammi was motivated to lie about the abuse because John had evicted her from his home and he was seeking custody of her daughter.
Duncan also noted that Tammi has a history of deception. In 2009, she reported to police that she had been raped by a man who forced his way into her Abbotsford apartment from the balcony.
About two weeks later, she admitted she had lied about the incident. She was charged with public mischief, pleaded guilty in court the following year and received a four-month conditional sentence.
The court documents state that Tammi also attracted the attention of police in 2011, when she and her boyfriend posted a fictitious truck for sale online. A buyer sent them $11,000 as a deposit and when he learned the truck did not exist, he complained to police.
The couple did not have the money to pay him back, so Tammi’s father gave them the money so they could avoid criminal charges.
Duncan also stated that Tammi lied to her father in June 2014, when she told him she had cancer and needed $7,500 for medical treatment.
The judge’s ruling also outlined the emotional damage that Tammi’s sexual abuse allegations caused her father.
“Between February 2015 when Mr. Zall first became aware of the defendant’s allegations and May 2015, he described himself as a ‘basket case.’ He had no confidence, he could not sleep and he had no appetite,” the court documents state.
John was the sales manager for two companies he runs with his brother, and the false allegations caused him to lose business, resulting in net revenue being down about $100,000 over the past year, the judge said.
Duncan said Tammi’s behaviour was “egregious and hurtful.”
“Directly by words and indirectly by innuendo, the defamatory post labelled Mr. Zall as a pedophile and sexual predator,” the judge stated.
She awarded the plaintiff $75,000 in general damages, $50,000 in aggravated damages and $10,000 in costs.
However, the judge said the likelihood is low of John receiving any of the money, and she ordered an injunction against Tammi from publishing any more defamatory statements about her dad.