Friday, June 18, 2010

Man jailed for blowing a bubble of gum in court

Yahoo!7 June 18, 2010, 9:40 am

A 20-year-old Melbourne man was jailed last night after blowing a bubble of gum in court.

Magistrate Rodney Crisp sentenced apprentice painter Mirza Zukanic to 30 days' jail after he was charged with contempt and accused of 'challenging the court's authority', the Herald Sun reports.

Zukanic was appearing on an assault-related matter but was sent to prison after blowing and popping a bubble of gum while looking at the magistrate.

The Supreme Court granted him bail late last night after his lawyers appealed the charge.

"We are extremely pleased to have him released this evening," his lawyer, George Defteros, was quoted as saying.

"We are instructed to pursue his legal rights and entitlements fully."

The judgement has received criticism from some rights groups but won praise from police.

"If there were more magistrates like this, the city would be a safer place," one officer told News Limited.

Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman described the magistrate's penalty as excessive.

"For someone of that youth, jail should be a sentence of last resort, if no other option is available," Mr O'Gorman said.

"On the face of it, it seems to be a pretty severe penalty for what is purely unattractive behaviour."

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