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Mississauga News - May 28, 2007 - By John Stewart.
Councillor felt threatened by poem
- Ward 9 councillor Pat Saito testified in Brampton court today that she felt threatened when she read a poem from a constituent that implied she could soon be lying in her grave.
"To me it was extremely concerning and very frightening," Saito told a Brampton court room. She was testifying in the case of Antonio Batista, a resident who posted a poem about Saito on community mailboxes in February of 2006.
Batista, 75, is charged with uttering death threats.
The Churchill Meadows resident was upset with Saito for what he considered her slow response to his complaint about several municipal issues.
The poem by Batista, called "Parked Cars and Potholes in the City of Mississauga," said, in part, that, "We are going to dig a pothole about six feet long and three feet wide and five feet deep to hide her body and God will take care of Her Soul, but we cannot forgive her for doing nothing. She can keep running at a good pace but we will make sure that she is in heaven and out of the race. So please God take care of this soul for ever and ever."
"I was very concerned," testified Saito, "that someone posted a poem around the community with my photo and it says someone is going to dig a hole and put my body in it."
Famed defence lawyer Clayton Ruby is expected to argue that the poem was satirical in nature and Saito and police overreacted to the situation.
Under cross-examination by Ruby, Saito admitted that her office was slow in responding to Batista's complaints. She said that was because of a computer crash that caused three months of her emails to be lost.
The trial is expected to conclude tomorrow.
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