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  • Redland City Council threatens legal action over residents' Facebook posts
  • By Cameron Atfield
  • 12/09/2015 Make a Comment (1)
  • Contributed by: JohnnyBGood ( 2 articles in 2015 )
Redland City Council has sought to shut down online criticism by sending threatening legal letters to residents over comments made on social media.

Five residents have received the legal threats in the past week over Facebook posts that suggested, among other things, that political donations from developers had swayed council decisions.
Andrew Ross
Fairfax Media has obtained three of those letters, penned by the council's general counsel Andrew Ross, demanding posts be removed and public apologies issued.

"If you do not comply with the above request, within the specified time, we have the option to issue a concerns notice under section 14 of the Defamation Act 2005 Qld," Mr Ross wrote in all three letters.

"The concerns notice may request that you make a public retraction and apology in the terms outlined above.

"If you do not comply with the concerns notice, legal proceedings may follow. However, if you do comply with the above request we will not pursue the matter further."

The council's chief executive Bill Lyon defended the council's use of legal threats to defend the reputations of both council officers and mayor Karen Williams.

"Redland City Council issued legal letters to five individuals on Friday in response to continued, untrue, deeply offensive and defamatory material posted on social media," he said.

"This organisation has a duty of care to protect the reputation of its officers and this city from such malicious and deceptive allegations.

"While council welcomes community debate, these individuals crossed the line and council was left with no option but to seek a legal remedy.

"It is noted that much of the completely false and indefensible material was immediately withdrawn."

In two of the letters, Mr Ross said the social media posts had suggested, among other things, that "the mayor and Redland City Council officers are prejudiced and blindly pro-development".

In a letter to one of the recipients of the council's legal letters, Adelia Berridge, Mr Ross said she had given rise to the "imputation" that "the mayor and Redland City Council officers block freedom of speech".

A defiant Ms Berridge told Fairfax Media she had not complied with the demands.

Ms Berridge said she was seeking legal advice and accused the council and Cr Williams of bullying dissenters.

"It's to put the fear of God into people," she said.

"We've got six months until the election and they want people to shut up.

"They want people to go quiet, go underground and stop making a noise because we've been very vocal out here."

Ms Berridge said residents were concerned about the many development decisions in Redland City.

"There is a machine here and we don't know what's in it," she siad.

"But it's controlling Redlands and, from how we see it, it seems to be a cast iron machine and wherever it goes, it leaves a path of destruction.

"It gets whatever it wants and God help anybody in its way because they'll get crushed to the ground.

"And who's in that machine? I don't know and I would like to know because the development here is way beyond the planning blueprint."


    By:The Pikester from VIC, Land of OZ on September 14, 2015 @ 9:17 am
    Onya Adelia, dissent is the Highest form of patriotism

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