Local police have taken out an interim Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against former Byron councillor John Anderson, following a series of incidents in which he allegedly intimidated and harassed the current deputy mayor, Sarah Ndiaye (Greens).
Mr Anderson – also known as Fast Buck$ – has also been banned by Council from entering the Council Chambers in Mullumbimby for 12 months.
But Mr Anderson strenuously denies the allegations, and says he intends to challenge the AVO when the matter heads to court.
The immediate catalyst for the order was an incident on May 13, when Mr Anderson allegedly approached Cr Ndiaye at the councillors’ table while the meeting was in progress.
According to the police statement of facts in relation to the matter, Mr Anderson came to within ‘about a foot’ of Cr Ndiaye.
‘She believed that the defendant was going to cause physical harm to her,’ the police claim.
Mr Anderson strenuously denies that this was his intention.
He was subsequently asked to leave the meeting and police were called when he refused to do so.
It is understood that Cr Ndiaye subsequently provided a statement to police about the incident, and other allegations of intimidation and harassment.
Police then elected to take out the interim AVO against Mr Anderson.
The statement of facts also describes a number of other alleged incidents in which Mr Anderson is said to have ‘intimidated’ or ‘harassed’ Cr Ndiaye.
This includes making offensive or threatening comments, and impeding her path as she entered the Council chambers and a local supermarket.
According to the police statement, these incidents have caused Cr Ndiaye considerable mental and emotional distress. This includes feeling unsafe in her home.
Following a unanimously supported motion by Councillors at the May 13 Council meeting, Council has now also issued Mr Anderson with an order forbidding him from entering Council’s chambers and administration building in Mullumbimby.
The letter to Mr Anderson by GM Mark Arnold states that the order has been made because ‘over an extended period of time, you have consistently abused, harassed, threatened and intimidated councillors, particularly councillor Ndiaye’.
Mr Anderson said that he would contest the AVO and described the allegations as ‘a pack of lies’.
Cr Ndiaye told The Echo, ‘I’m grateful the police and Council are taking action – everyone deserves to feel safe in their workplace’.
Mr Anderson strenuously denied any suggestion that he had a history of violence.
‘I’d like to know who’s paying for this,’ he said.
The matter will return to court on June 7.