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May 26, 2007 - Sun Media - By Sam Pazzano - Toronto Sun's "Weird News" section.
Peel senior in court over a poem
The message from Peel Regional Police to Antonio Batista is clear: Don't do the rhyme if you can't do the time.
The 75-year-old Mississauga resident is facing a criminal charge of threatening and intimidation against city councillor Pat Saito for his poem last year mocking her for being obsessed with filling potholes instead of solving other problems.
"We're going to build a pothole six-foot-long and five-foot-deep and three-foot-wide to hide her body inside," his poem stated. "And God will take of her soul. She can keep running at a good pace. We'll make sure she's in heaven and out of the race, so please God take this soul."
Lawyer Clayton Ruby said the poem is satirical, not criminal behaviour, and that's the defence he'll advance when the trial opens Monday at Brampton's provincial court.
Ruby said his client doesn't know Saito personally but is sharply critical of her performance on city council.
Batista is on bail with several strict terms, including conditions prohibiting him from communicating directly or indirectly with Saito and not to be within 500 metres of Mississauga City Hall.
"Prosecuting someone for satirical writing on a threatening charge is a farce," said Ruby.
University of Toronto English professor Dennis Duffy will be an expert witness for the defence, said Ruby.
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