Some months ago, I wrote about the lunacy surrounding former Australian federal judge, Marcus Einfeld, lying through his teeth merely in order to try and avoid a $77 speeding fine. The story reached a degree of conclusion on October 31st.
First, a recap.
On January 8, 2006, Einfield's car was clocked by a speed camera doing 60 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. Einfeld contested the fine, claiming that the vehicle was in the charge of his friend, Professor Theresa Brennan. However it later emerged that Brennan had in fact died in February 2003, almost three years earlier!
Einfeld continued to contest the case. His friend, Vivian Schenker, then entered the frame, giving a statement that she and Einfeld were not even in Sydney at the time, having driven to another town in his mother's car. However security footage later revealed that his mother's vehicle had not left her home on the day in question. Schenker was given immunity for her evidence. She recanted her story.
How on earth did Einfeld think he was going to get away with this insanity?
On October 14th, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal quashed five charges of perverting the course of justice against Einfeld. I fail to see how that was justified. Nonetheless, three charges of making false statements on oath and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice were upheld and to go to trial on November 3rd. However on October 31st, Einfeld finally rolled over, pleading guilty. As he should have as he lied. Deliberately. Repeatedly.
There was more and more lunacy to his increasingly ludicrous defence, all of which kept falling down as fast as he made it.
What makes this episode even more ridiculous is that when still sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court in 2000, Einfeld imprisoned a man for lying to the court.
"Lying on oath and importuning witnesses to give false evidence are not matters which can be regarded lightly or as credible," his dishonour stated. He referred to the offences as being of 'the most serious kind' and deserving 'significant punishment'. Einfeld went further, describing the actions as 'at best arrogant and at worst a complete rejection of law and order'. But apparently it is quite OK for a judge to do so in his opinion.
There is no possibility of Einfeld not being aware of the gravity of what he did. Yet he did it. And continued lying, even apparently conspiring with others to support his actions.
Einfeld's sentencing has been held over until February 2009. The charges carry maximum penalties of 10-14 years. Yet despite having pleaded guilty to such serious charges, Einfeld is allowed to retain his judge's pension, currently set at $184,200 pa, guaranteed for life. And why? Because when the legislation covering such pensions was enacted, it seemed inconceivable that a federal judge could ever be found guilty of crimes such as these.
I cannot help but wonder how just how high the price to the taxpayer this episode has been, given that Einfeld was so clearly guilty but kept dragging it on, getting deeper and deeper into the mire. Where's the real justice in this?
I will be looking forward with considerable interest to Einfeld's sentencing hearing.
What a lying piece of dirt. And all for the sake of a $77 speeding ticket!