Monday 11 January 2010

Cairns Councillor Forsyth files Police complaint against community radio chiefs

Cairns Community Radio chiefs, president Rodney Coutts and his deputy Pieter Blaauw, will be interviewed by Cairns Police, following a formal assault complaint from Councillor Diane Forsyth.

"I am disgusted and shocked by the way I was treated by Mr Pieter Blaauw with his aggressive and violent behaviour," Forsyth said on Friday after lodging her complaint at the Cairns Police station.

"The president Rodney Coutts, who stood right alongside Mr Blaauw when all this was going on, by his , condoned his awful behaviour," she says.

Councillor Linda Cooper was also in attendance last Wednesday evening, when they went along with three members of the community radio Association as their guests, to present new membership forms.

"I can honestly say that was extremely concerned with the animosity," Linda Cooper said. "I thought it was disgusting the way Councillor Forsyth was treated. Unfortunately it does nothing for a community radio station, that is meant to be there for all community members."

Cairns Councillor Diane Forsyth took her formal complaint to the Cairns Police, following what she describes as a "serious violent assault" against her.

Last Wednesday evening, along with fellow Cairns Regional Councilor Linda Cooper and members of the Cairns Community Radio association, Forsyth attended a meeting of the organisation, only to be confronted with a "angry violent man."

There were four witnesses to the events, who will all be interviewed by Cairns Police about the confrontation.

"It was like being in a domestic violence situation," Councillor Forsyth told CairnsBlog.

On Friday the Cairns Post reported that the radio station had offered apologies for the way she and Councillor Cooper were treated. However Forsyth says no such apology was forthcoming.

The day following the meeting lockout, president Rodney Coutts spent writing another letter to terminate a member who "questioned the constitutionally-elected president." Then at 2:31pm, he sent an email to the Councillor's home email address, not even via Council.
  • From: Rodney Coutts
    Sent: Thursday 7 January 2010 2:31pm
    To: Diane Forsyth

    Good Afternoon Diane,
    Firstly, the situation last night, in regards to yourself, should not have happened at our radio station, and on behalf of the Management Committee and myself, I unreservedly offer an apology.

    Diane, as a Cairns Councillor, I was unaware that you were present last evening, as no knowledge of your presence was made known to me.

    As you may know I have known Linda Cooper for many years, and afforded her the courtesy of talking to me in our meeting room. I am contacting her on Friday to arrange a meeting for next week.

    I have a positive side of a story on this community radio station to tell, which some 'people' I believe do not want to hear. Maybe it is not in their interest to do so as it may not meet their particular agenda.

    Diane, I certainly would have afforded you the same courtesy to talk with me if I had truly known you were present.

    Once again, I apologise for the dis-courteousness shown to you during the evening.

    If you find it necessary to respond to my e-mail, I would also like to meet with you whenever you may find it convenient to do so.

    Kind regards,
    Rod Coutts
    President, Cairns Community Broadcasters Inc
Councillor Forsyth told CairnsBlog that she disputes Coutts was unaware of her presence. Both Councillors Forsyth and Cooper were introduced by name as soon as the walked into the room. Rodney Coutts was at his desk, but refused to stand up. She is also shocked that he has not apologised for the way she was treated by Pieter Blaauw.

Diane Forsyth says she hesitated about reporting the incident to the police, but after the Federal MP Turnour and the Mayor and CEO of Cairns Regional Council talked with her on Thursday, she believed it was important to take action.

"I thought about taking this matter to the Police, and then when no apology about the violence inflicted on me was forthcoming, and with the support and encouragement of Council's CEO Lyn Russell, I decided to report this to the Police," Diane Forsyth says.

Forsyth was particularly disturbed by the physical attack she endured by vice president of the community radio station Pieter Blaauw.

"I was pushed and almost thrown over. He physically pushed against me with force, then used the door, slamming it against my body," Cr Forsyth says. "It was an awful confrontation when we were only there to attend a publicly-advertised meeting."

Forsyth was standing right next to Councillor Linda Cooper at the time, who she was trying to reason with Rodney Coutts to accept the new membership forms.

"I want the Police to investigate his behaviour, it is totally unacceptable to act like this. I will not be returning to that radio station if that man Blaauw is there, I simply do not feel safe around him," Forsyth says.

Forsyth also agrees that Blaauw should be removed from the position on the committee and membership revoked of the community association.

"Yes, it's clear he's not fit to hold that position, and I don't know what provoked him to treat me and my guests like that."

Pieter Blaauw responded via email, 24 hours after the confrontation:

  • From Beverly Blaauw
    Sent: Thursday 7 January 2010 7:03pm

    "Dear Counsellor Dianne Forsythe [sic x 3]

    Attached please find my letter to you. I hope you will
    read it and see our radio station in a different light.

    Dear Dianne (hoping I may address you as such),

    As vice-president of FM 89.1, may I say I am aghast as any of you people who were standing in the hall outside our meeting room last night.

    I do feel that, if Michael Hyams, who presented you as his 'guests', had not been so aggressive the situation may not have deteriorated so badly. And if the committee had had some indication that we were to have two counselors [sic] as guests, that would suerely have changed things as well.

In fact, when both Councillors arrived at five minutes to six oclock on Wednesday evening, just before the meeting commenced, Association members Michael Hymans and David Rentz introduced the two Councillors by name to both Pieter Blauuw and Rodney Coutts in the adjoining office.

"Hello, this is Councillor Linda Cooper, and she is my guest," Hyams announced to Pieter Blaauw who immediately obstructed entry through the meeting room door.

"..and this is Councillor Linda Cooper, who is a guest of David Rentz," Hyams said. "Rod Coutts refused to get up from the desk in the corner," Michael Hyans says.

"He spent the time pretending to be busy, which was so disrespectful when we walked in with two important guests who wanted to observe the meeting and present their membership forms. Coutts knew Diane was there alright."

Blaauw continued in his email to Diane Forsyth...

  • "In light of this I do want to appologise to you for the fact that you were unable to joijn the meeting. I must point out that the notice of the meeting, as printed by Michael Moore [on CairnsBlog], did state that "if you want to attend give Rod a call on 4053 6891."

    That was the one section nobody noticed or remembered. There were no calls from any of the group in the hall, therefore no-one was aware that you or Cr Cooper would be there.

There is no constitutional or legal requirement for any member to advise in advance of attending a meeting. Couuts requested this to as a control tactic so he can manage who attends meetings, which is in stark contradiction to his claim at the September AGM, that all meetings would be open and transparent.

Blaauw continues...

  • "However I am very perturbed at Michael Moore choosing to tell Cairns people that I slammed the door on your arm. I am unaware that you were so close as to have the door conect with yyour arm.

    I am also brought undone by reading further [on
    CairnsBlog] and finding that you appear to have said you were 'assaulted by this man (myself) and he pushed me, and punched me in the arm [a punch], and then physically pushed me backwards.'

    And to state that I was 'out of control' and it was a 'violent confrontation' leaves me aghast.

    I can only hope that Michael Moore, in his inimitable way, has concocted some of these words. And I also hope that one day my wife, who met you in the corridor last night, can sit and talk with you too reassure you that in no way did we want to make enemies of people who should be friends.

    I wish that you could know the 'other side' of this horrendous story. You find that our presenters are a friendly and happy group of people.

    They come to the station, present their programme and go home. None of them care to attend meetings.

In fact, the last few meetings have had many guests, non-members and presenters attend, as the station has been going through such turmoil. After six committee members have resigned and told Rodney Coutts they can't work with him nor approve of his behaviour, since being elected on September 28th, there has been a large number of people attend meetings.

Pieter Blaauw continues in his email to Diane Forsyth...

  • "The radio staion is like a home to many of them and those of them that are aware of all this upset are truly puzzled by it.

    I would like you to come to the staion one day and meet some of them. And I'm sure you know that Mr Moore only ever prints one side of the story.

    Pieter Blaauw."

Councillor Diane Forsyth has told the Police that she will not return to the community radio station offices at Raintrees in Manunda. "So long as Mr Blaauw is around there, I don't feel safe around him at all," Forsyth says.

Vice President of Cairns Community Radio Station, Pieter Blaauw, shouting and blocking the doorway to Cairns Regional Councillor Linda Cooper on Wednesday 6th January.

The assault charge is now being investigated by Cairns Police.

Police also confirmed that they have been aware of problems at the community radio offices over the last few months.

"What seems to be the problem, why can't they sort these things out?," a constable told CairnsBlog. "This has been going on for awhile now."

However, Cairns Regional Councillors Linda Cooper and Diane Forsyth are steadfast that they want to see reform and change at the community radio station.

"I want this organisation to be accountable and open to the community again," Forsyth says. "Along with Linda Cooper, we want to see transperancy and openess. It's clear that they didn't want us or our membership applications on Wednesday night, when Mr Blaauw threw them out the door on the floor at us. But we are going to see this through."


Letstalk said...

Isn't it funny no one commented on my comment apart to say I was someone by the name of Peter Blaauw........WRONG.

Answer the question and stop making it so one sided as you are

1. Was it not a Management Committee Meeting...?
Never heard you could just attend at your own free will, gee maybe I should just go and attend a council closed meeting what do you think Councillors....
2. Were the COUNCILLORS there as guests or COUNCILLORS if they where there as councillors why did they not advise the centre they where attending...Right Protocol and they should no that
And anyway who do there think they are gods.

3. Who took photo's? Its illegal to take photo's in shopping centre"s I hope the centre finds out and take some action...

ANSWER THE QUESTIONS ............................

Harringtons, Edmonton said...

Is that the best you can come up with Mr Blaa Blaa Blaauw?

Why don't you save your story for the police officer?

and mate, it wasn't a closed meeting. Read the advertisement in the association's newsletter that Col emailed me. It was open to the members and their guests!!

As to taking photos.. whoopie! Don't you like the great Cairns community knowing the violence you're up to and the public money you're playing with?

You and Coutts won't have a change to get away with your games. I bet Mike will have plenty more to spill out over the coming days/weeks.

In the know said...

You are obviously not the brightest or most literate cookie in the jar but here goes:

1. The 4 CCR ManCom meeting was NOT closed.

2. The fear was that if Capt Mainwairing had been notified then the meeting would have been deferred. I think those fears were warranted.

3. It is NOT a shopping centre. The corridor upstairs has leased premises. Are you telling me that you can't take pictures in a radio station? It goes with the territory.

Blauuw supporter said...

Hey Letstalk

Please we are talking about Psycho Di Forsythe, (lets climb that pole again) and full of crap Linda Cooper who lies to suit herself..

I think there is alot of bullshit to this story no hard facts

Michael P Moore said...

Please ensure a name is filled in in the comment box below.

I will not post anonymous comments, as the last pro Blaauw contributors have sent messages in.

Shane Wilson said...

Just for the record Mr Blaauw , Both Councillors were introduced by Michael Hymans who you rudely talked down, Councillor Forsyth then identified herself very loudly and clearly and stated could you inform us if there is a public meeting happening, she then asked if the meeting had closed sessions we would go and have a coffee downstairs and return to the “public” session.
The main reason for her visit was to pass on the new memberships.
I also resent the claim by you and Coutts that had you known that the ladies were Councillors they wouldn’t have been treated that way……No lady deserves to be treated in such a vile fashion!
Another example of how you and Coutts operate.
You would think that as operators of a Community Radio station that you would know each and every councillor and not require introductions.
As goes for the photo’s I have many of the 4CCR studios and Central Technical Area, the centre best take action on me as well.
Its also funny that Coutts claims not to have known the Councillors were present, yet in both photos he is standing right next to Blaauw

James O'Halloran - Trinity said...

I read this in the cairns post today. looks like their days are numbers.,... hope there's a decent rescue plan after this outrageous mob get the boot. also glad the community at large is discussing this - as WE all own this - even if we're not a member.