The charge sheet shows that Zukanovic, who was appearing on an assault-related matter, earned Mr Crisp’s wrath after he deliberately blew and popped a bubble of gum while looking at the magistrate.
However, Victoria’s Supreme Court granted him bail last night after an appeal by his lawyers.
Zukanovic’s lawyer, George Defteros, said:
We are extremely pleased to have him released this evening, we are instructed to pursue his legal rights and entitlements fully.
Zukanovic, from Melbourne, had “scandalised” the court and “challenged its authority” by looking in the magistrate’s direction and deliberately blowing and popping a bubble, the charge sheet said.
The sentence won praise from police. One officer said:
If there were more magistrates like this, the city would be a safer place.
Liberty Victoria president Michael Pearce said Zukanovic’s appeal against his conviction might depend on what happened before the bubble burst, saying:
Contempt is a very serious matter and usually only found in extreme cases of disrespect to the court. The prospects of appeal would depend on what preceded the bubblegum incident.
Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman said the penalty seemed excessive:
For someone of that youth, jail should be a sentence of last resort, if no other option is available. On the face of it, it seems to be a pretty severe penalty for what is purely unattractive behaviour.
Mr Crisp is no stranger to controversial cases.
He once ordered a defendant to buy and eat an ice cream in order to test the defence claim that a “Bubble O’ Bill” had given him a reading when he blew into his alcohol interlock device. The man was vindicated.
Mr Crisp has also complained that doctors are too willing to provide medical excuses for repeat drink-driving offenders. In February, he remanded a young offender to jail on a series of driving charges after the youth gave Mr Crisp a crude one-fingered salute as he was led from the dock.
I’m not sure about you dear reader, but I’d be happy to get bubble-gum-chewing bullies off the street. I’d prefer criminals, but you have to start somewhere I guess.