An Eastleigh Lib Dem party activist has spoken of his shock at discovering that he had been placed on the council’s secret list of potentially violent persons.
Sam Snook, a former Lib Dem council candidate, says he had worked tirelessly for MP Chris Huhne during his election campaign and even appears on the MP’s candidate nomination papers as an assenter. Although a pensioner in his 70’s he claims he had spent hours in the party office printing Mr Huhne’s election materials and had worked alongside Lib Dem councillors who must have known his name was on the council blacklist.
It appears that Mr Snook had been branded as potentially violent after just one incident several years ago which predates his Lib Dem membership
During the council sponsored 2009 Eastleigh Music festival, public spirited Sam went to the Leigh Road festival site to take photographs of accumulated rubbish but was haughtily reprimanded by a council jobsworth who demanded he stop taking photos and leave the area.
Both Mr Snook and another local campaigner Matthew Myatt became in involved in a heated argument with the overbearing bureaucrat, which resulted in both the men being arrested.
All charges against the duo were subsequently dropped, however unbeknown to them the officious council toady had sneakily placed both their names on the black list normally used to legitimately alert council staff to potential risks posed by people with serious mental illnesses and violent criminal records.
Such lists are also normally circulated to doctors, dentists, opticians, libraries, schools and nurseries for their protection.
Although data protection laws say the council should have informed the pair they were on the list – which would have allowed them to defend their reputations – the pair say this never happened.
The incident mirrors the case of Jane Clift who was branded as potentially violent by Slough council after she wrote a letter of complaint about a council officer.
Richard Ward, the council legal officer confirmed to Mr Snook he had been placed on the list but denied the list was secret on the grounds that all staff know that such a list exists and are able to access it on a ‘need to know basis’ however Mr Snook maintains that the inclusion of his name had been kept a secret from him.
Mr Ward also told Mr Snook his name had had only been removed ‘recently’ raising the possibility that the OAP had stood for election as a Lib Dem Parish Councillor while officially classed as ‘potentially violent person.’
The Legal Officer explained that staff could not only blacklist members of the public if they have been assualted or threatened but also if :
“they have perceived they have been threatened”
An upset and disappointed Sam Snook now says he intends to stand against the Lib Dems as an Independent candidate in the next election.
He also intends to take legal advice.
Eastleigh News understands Matthew Myatt has also been considering legal action.