Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Who Watches the Watchers?

What do you call a judge, a prostitute, a lawyer and a dead American academic? No, the answer isn't "A good start", because this isn't a joke.

Police are investigating claims that retired Federal court judge Marcus Enfield lied to a court (a crime, perjury) so he didn't have to pay a $77 speeding ticket. It's only 2 or 3 months ago police across Australia were warning drivers not to take the blame for a mate or spouse by pretending you were driving, not them, when the speed camera caught the car. It's a crime, and you could end up paying a lot more than a few dollars - your protecting your friend can get you both jailed. Nonetheless, the judge, who of all people should know better, told the Court he wasn't driving that day, that the car was loaned to an old friend - American academic Professor Teresa Brennan. The trouble is, Teresa has been dead for 3 years. There have also been claims that the judge blamed an entirely different US-based academic for two other traffic infringements in 1999 and 2000, but the judge says they're not true. The prostitute had a falling out with a Sydney solictor, Michael Ryan, and ransacked his rubbish bin, finding drafts of the judge's public statements on the whole issue, so now solicitor Ryan has resigned, or been sacked, from the case.

It seems the judge doesn't think the law applies to him - now he's been charged with disobeying a no-parking sign in January this year. He claims he can't walk far because of a previous leg injury, and he had his frail, elderly mother with him that day. It seems he thinks it's ok to break laws as long as you have a good personal excuse. I wonder how many people who came through his Courts over the years he accepted that defense from!

The Australian

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