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Archive - Friday, 3 March 2006
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Poster row fan risking arrest
A Brighton and Hove Albion supporter is refusing to back down despite being threatened with arrest for allegedly harassing Lewes District Council leader Ann De Vecchi.
Roz South says she is waiting to be arrested over posters she produced that accused Coun De Vecchi and her council colleagues of attempting to "murder" Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.
It was widely circulated among Albion fans as a part of the campaign to persuade the authority not to seek a judicial review against the planning permission granted for Falmer stadium.
Ms South, a photographer from Firle, told police she would not remove the image from her website yesterday as more details emerged of the allegations against her.
An email sent to Ms South by Inspector Viv Johnson yesterday revealed police have been advised by the Crown Prosecution Service to arrest her following the complaint from Lewes District Council.
As well as the poster itself, Ms South is being investigated for comments made by another Albion fan on the North Stand Chat internet forum, of which she is a moderator.
The comment, posted in January, appeared to encourage a physical attack on Coun De Vecchi.
Insp Johnson wrote: "This is not to say you were responsible for that posting but were aware of the intentions expressed and tolerated it by leaving it on the website."
The email adds: "Therefore, there was a course of conduct over a period of time that caused harassment and you had known that (Coun De Vecchi) felt got at'."
Insp Johnson said she had met with Lewes District Council, which is reserving the right to press for further investigation unless the image is removed.
Ms South said: "I'm awaiting a knock on the door from police.
"While I am indeed a moderator on North Stand Chat, I am not responsible for what is posted on the site and I don't have sole responsibility for what stays on there. To try to link me to sentiments expressed on there, and the imagined consequences, is absolutely outrageous.
"I will not permit Lewes District Council to silence criticism in the manner they have attempted and I am not removing the poster or allowing them to accuse me of a crime I haven't committed.
"I am certain that the council merely wishes to use the powers of the police to do its dirty work when the option of making contact with me was always available to it."
When contacted by The Argus, Insp Johnson said: "Sussex Police will investigate allegations of harassment in order to ensure that people can live lives free from threat and in safety.
"However, this is not to curtail the rights of people to express their dissatisfaction with decisions in a moderate and measured manner.
"This is only to be expected in a democratic society."
Lewes District Council refused to comment.