Legal threat over stadium website

Legal action may be taken over acrimonious comments posted on a website dedicated to discussing Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Dunedin man Paul Le Comte, who started the What If? Stadium of Dunedin website two years ago, took the site offline on Sunday morning after being threatened with legal action.

He said Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler and her husband, Peter Attwooll, made separate phone calls to his home on Sunday.

The first phone call was from Mr Attwooll at 8.20am, and the second by Ms Butler at 10.30am, with both alleging defamatory statements had been posted on the website, he said.

Ms Butler's call came after Mr Le Comte responded to Mr Attwooll's call by posting a message on his site asking for those wanting to "abuse and yell at me" to cease calling his home.

Mr Attwooll told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he wanted "defamatory" comments removed from the site, and had warned Mr Le Comte he was consulting a Christchurch-based lawyer "as a warning".

"He can take it as a legal threat. I guess in a way it is," Mr Attwooll said.

He denied he was abusive.

"That's not true. We are much smarter than that," he said.

Ms Butler said she was responding to "defamatory and offensive comments" on the website and did not yell abuse in asking for them to be removed.

"I was not shouting at him. I totally reject that."

She declined to say which comments posted on the website she considered defamatory, but conceded her phone call could be seen "as a threat of sorts".

"It could result in legal action," she said.

An edited version of the website was online about 14 hours later.

Mr Le Comte said he took action even though he considered debate on the site to be "opinion . . . not defamatory".

"The whole thing is just ridiculous," Mr Le Comte said.

He admitted there had been some name-calling in posts, which were removed following Sunday's legal threats.

The messages were replaced by a warning from Mr Le Comte for those visiting the site to moderate their comments.

Mr Le Comte is one of two editors - along with former StS member Elizabeth Kerr - moderating the site.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

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