AVO dispute ‘won’t hurt council’
TWEED Mayor Katie Milne is confident an apprehended violence order dispute between two councillors will not affect the council's next meeting on November 5.
Although a date for mediation between Deputy Mayor Gary Bagnall and Councillor Carolyn Byrne has not yet been set, Cr Milne said she was "sure things will be fine".
Crs Bagnall and Byrne faced Tweed Heads Local Court on Tuesday following allegations Cr Bagnall, the former mayor, had assaulted and intimidated Cr Byrne after the September 17 mayoral election.
After their solicitors failed to agree on AVO conditions, Magistrate Michael Dakin deferred the matter to mediation.
A court-appointed mediator will conduct the session, without their lawyers present, in a bid to resolve the dispute.
Cr Byrne alleged that Cr Bagnall swore at her, called her a "cow" and intimidated her shortly after the September council meeting finished.
Cr Byrne's solicitor, Charles O'Brien, told the court she had suffered "severe anxiety" since the altercation.
"It's about violence in the workplace and violence against women," Mr O'Brien said. "My client is very concerned about Mr Bagnall's intimidation and behaviour."
He said police had gathered 10 witness statements relating to the incident.
Police took a DNA swab from Cr Byrne's car after the incident to establish whether the substance, believed to be saliva, was Cr Bagnall's.
Cr Bagnall's solicitor, Russell Baxter, argued there was "no evidence of destroying property", in response to the spitting allegation.
The matter will return to court next month if mediation fails.