Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Judge unmoved by court poet

January 8, 2004 - 3:22PM

His verse brought tears to a lawyer's eyes, but Brisbane pensioner Neil Maciejewski's poetry was not enough to get him off a public drunkenness charge.

Maciejewski, a recovering alcoholic, was stone cold sober as he recited his poem "What Matters?" to a hushed Brisbane's Magistrates Court today.

The 46-year-old was so drunk when he was arrested last month he was unable to remember swearing at police as they tried to handcuff him.

He was drinking at an inner-city hotel and stumbled onto Charlotte Street where police saw him stopping traffic at an intersection.

He spent the night in the watchhouse and was charged with behaving in a disorderly manner, obstructing a police officer and using obscene language.

He used language of a different sort in pleading guilty today, saying he wanted to give the magistrate an insight into his character.

He recited one of his own poems, which included the lines:

"Some have done it much harder than most, some have done it much better, does it matter?

"They come and they go, they slip and they fall, get up again, experience more pain, does it matter?"

The court fell silent during the recital and one lawyer had tears rolling down her cheeks.

Maciejewski said outside court he had resorted to poetry to try to reduce his fine.

But there is no way of knowing what the effect was on Magistrate Rob Quinlan, who told the court: "It is not every day that I have a poem read to me."

He fined Maciejewski $425.


Judge unmoved by court poet - www.smh.com.au

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