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Senior Worthing councillor in code breach inquiry

Council deputy leader Bryan Turner, pictured, will face no action after a split decision at a standards hearing

Council deputy leader Bryan Turner, pictured, will face no action after a split decision at a standards hearing

A SENIOR councillor accused of ‘aggressively’ confronting a resident on her doorstep over a Facebook comment will not face disciplinary action, a hearing ruled.

Worthing Borough Council deputy leader Bryan Turner was hauled before the Joint Standards Committee on Thursday for an alleged breach of the councillors’ code of conduct.

But the committee of four councillors were split on whether Mr Turner had failed to treat the resident with respect, leaving the charge ‘not proven’.

In a statement, the resident said she felt threatened and called police when he turned up unannounced on November 22 last year.

She said: “I was left visibly shaken and upset, close to tears, by councillor Turner’s threatening behaviour and I feel extremely angry that he feels he has the right to do something like this in his capacity as a councillor.”

The incident happened after the woman wrote a comment on The Worthing Page on Facebook on November 15.

In response to a debate about councillors in general, the resident wrote: “Weird that the doctors in Broadwater got planning permission and then the councillor who owns the little pharmacy gets himself a bigger one on site.”

Mr Turner believed the comment was directed at him, was untrue and suggested he used his council position for financial gain.

He tracked the woman down by accessing her profile and looking her up in the phone book, paying her a visit after she failed to respond to a message he sent her.

She claimed he had told him to leave on several occasions and he tried to stop her shutting her door.

Mr Turner was accused of shouting through her letter box that he ‘hoped she had a good lawyer’, before she opened the door to again ask him to leave. The police were called and he finally left.

No criminal charges were ever lodged, nor was he arrested.

Mr Turner argued the visit was necessary to identify her and ask her to publish a retraction of the statement.

For the full story, see the Herald, out Thursday, August 20.

 

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