No further move with lawyers to pursue Facebook opponents

The target of Facebook ire.

The target of Facebook ire.

Glen Innes Severn Council has backed away from legal action against the person or people behind the controversial anti-council Facebook page.

In a meeting closed to the public, councillors voted four to three against pursuing the site “Save Glen Innes from GISC (Glen Innes Severn Council)”.

The site itself had been closed down just before the meeting debated what to do, and that has caused some speculation among councillors and council staff about whether the timing was coincidental or designed by the site’s backers to wrong-foot the council.

It is not known if the site would reopen. One of its prominent users, David Allenberg, said that it would but with a more “productive” tone. 

There is a difficulty for the council in that councillors don’t want to be accused of censorship but, on the other hand, some of the comments on Facebook in general have been deeply personal, foul and unsupported by evidence – the targets of the comments would say they were utterly false.

The suggestion before the council was that a solicitor investigate what action could be taken against the Facebook page.

It’s understood that no specific sum was put on the cost of doing that. 

The alignment in the vote was: Councillors Toms, Price and Smith, in favour of seeking more legal advice; Crs Sparks, Frendon, Newman and Parsons against.

Mayor Steve Toms had become concerned that potential investors thinking of moving to Glen Innes were getting a barrage of negative comment when they searched references to the town on the internet.

Other councillors felt that public money would be wasted on legal action which might well fail. 

Another councillor – Andrew Parsons – said later: “We should have broad shoulders, thick skins and intestinal fortitude. People can condemn us or praise us”.