Technology doesn’t lie; sends former judge to jail

April 3rd, 2009 - 9:39 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, April 3 (DPA) In a verdict which showed Former Australians that all are equal before the law, former Supreme Court judge Marcus Einfeld was jailed for two years for trying to lie his way out of paying a speeding ticket.
But that wasn’t their only lesson. The conviction also showed that even the country’s brightest and best-educated can be undone by underestimating the power of modern technology.

His defence lawyer claimed the 70-year-old was a “beacon of light, a living treasure and a man of honour”. What’s for sure is that he was also a fool for thinking police didn’t have surveillance techniques at their command to poke a hole through his story and expose his alibis as fellow liars.

But, to start at the beginning.

Einfeld’s silver Lexus was caught speeding on a police camera in 2006. Instead of paying the fine, he told a magistrate that a female friend, who it turned out had died three years earlier, was at the wheel.

“I lied. I can’t say it any simpler than that. I told a lie, which was a disgraceful thing to do and for which I have been paying ever since,” Einfeld said before pleading guilty to perjury in a Sydney court in March.

His tale began to unravel when a journalist spotted a basic flaw in his story: dead people don’t drive.

Police investigated and were able to correct the record. Mobile phone records and a credit card payment for a lunch at a posh harbourside restaurant showed Einfeld was in town, in the right place at the right time, and on the move when the offence was committed. He had said he was somewhere else.

An alibi witness who swore she was with the female driver and had gone shopping for designer jeans faced possible perjury charges when credit card records showed no appropriate purchases were made.

After Einfeld changed his story to say he was behind the wheel of his mother’s white Toyota Corolla at the time, closed circuit television at an apartment building showed the car hadn’t moved on the day of the crime.

At every turn, the founding president of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission was unmasked as a liar.

Courtesy of Big Brother-style digital recordings, police learned what Einfeld really did that day. They knew who he talked to, who he was with, where he went, even what he ate.

Perhaps most telling of all, the facts were easily and quickly established to back up a charge of trying to evade a speeding fine of 77 Australian dollars ($53).

It wasn’t as though detectives were pulling out all the stops when investigating something serious like a bank robbery, a terrorist plot or a murder and had special powers at their disposal.

The lesson from Einfeld’s precipitous fall from grace is to remember all the digital markers we leave in our daily lives. We may lie, but they don’t.

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