The appearance of “international playboy” Paolo Liuzzo in Southport Magistrates Court sparked a media frenzy. Bill Potts appeared for Mr Liuzzo at his plea. (Courier Mail 4/11/09)
Money Talks, Paolo Walks
by Renee Redmond, court reporter – Courier Mail 4/11/09
American playboy Paolo Liuzzo waved his chequebook to get himself out of trouble after refusing to do community service on the Gold Coast as punishment for a series of crimes.
The former beau of British royal Princess Beatrice was fined $5000 yesterday after leaving Conrad Jupiters Casino without paying his hotel bill, crashing a hired $80,000 Audi car into traffic lights, not returning his car hire car on time, possessing cocaine and entering a casino in Brisbane after being excluded from it.
Liuzzo was reportedly Princess Beatrice’s first love when she was 17. They started dating in July 2005 but split in May 2006.
Yesterday, the 27-year-old’s solicitor Bill Potts told the court his client had already paid for the damage he caused.
Mr Potts said Liuzzo suffered from bipolar disease and was in such a state after the car accident he returned to the casino, where police arrested him.
“This was hardly the work of Sherlock Holmes. This defendant walked back into the place where he is said to have committed the fraud. He was so… in the throes of his psychiatric condition, he walks into the arms of police,” said Mr Potts.
“Or so affected by drugs?” queried magistrate Brian Kilmartin.
Liuzzo was arrested on September 27 and spent four days in the Southport Watchhouse before being released on bail.
Mr Potts said Liuzzo, who had been living in Sydney on a 12-month visa since February, now wished to return to New York as soon as possible.
He said since his client did not live on the Gold Coast, it would be too expensive for him to stay here for two or three weeks to complete the order.
Mr Kilmartin suggested Liuzzo could stay in cheaper accommodation than the casino, like a caravan park, and could work in soup kitchens or for other charities.
Mr Potts said his client respectfully declined and would prefer to pay a fine.
He said there was no allegation Liuzzo was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash and instead he was confused about driving on the left side of the road.
“Coming from New York, a town that doesn’t sleep at night, he was not accustomed to the strange side of the road we drive on,” he said.
Mr Potts said the unpaid accommodation was the result of his client providing an imprint of his American Express card to the hotel, which he later cancelled after his wallet was stolen.
He said the small amount of cocaine was for personal use.
“He has been publicly shamed, in fact humiliated, in this country and in England because of an irrelevant liaison with a royal in his previous life,” he said.
Mr Kilmartin orderd Liuzzo to pay a $5000 fine but did not record a conviction.