The Moral of the Story: Don’t Do 60 in a 50 Zone

All informed Australian readers will know about the fall of Justice Marcus Einfeld… Once a Federal Court judge and honoured as a national living treasure..

For those of you based outside Australia do read this story of decline and fall.. it’s one of those stories that should generate a TV drama with little added extra spice.

The Australian Newspaper reports:

THE jailing of Marcus Einfeld over a $77 speeding fine completes a spectacular fall from grace for the man once hailed a national "living treasure".

Einfeld was sentenced to at least two years’ prison today for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

He has been a leading human rights lawyer for more than 30 years, a long-serving judge of the Federal Court and prominent member of the Jewish community.

The son of NSW Labor minister Syd Einfeld, he attended Sydney Boys High School and completed a law degree at Sydney University. There he socialised with future prime minister John Howard, with whom he shared a passion for cricket.

Einfeld became a barrister in 1962 and practised in England and Australia for more than 20 years. He was appointed a Queens Counsel in 1977.

He was appointed to the Federal Court in 1986 and that year he also became the founding president of the Human Rights Commission.

When the federal government – and particularly Philip Ruddock – attacked the "activist” judiciary, it was often because of Einfeld’s rulings in immigration cases.

When judge Ruth McColl of the NSW Supreme Court was president of the NSW Bar Association, she said Einfeld’s judicial method was "results-oriented" and that he was never in "the judicial mainstream".

"You had little interest in technicalities and indeed, advocates had to work hard, or charm you, if they wanted to argue finer points.”

In 1997, he was named a national living treasure by the National Trust of Australia. A year later he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to international affairs in 1998. In 2002, he was named the UN peace laureate.

He retired after 15 years as a Federal Court judge in 2001 and took on selected cases such as the wrongful detention of Vivian Alvarez Solon and Cornelia Rau. (He would declare he was acting pro bono but later charged the federal government $72,783.33 for his work on the Solon case.)

Einfeld has also been a director of 13 companies and trusts, a patron of many organisations, including the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants. He claimed to have worked on establishing a legal system for Palestine and was photographed walking arm-in-arm with Yasser Arafat in 1997.

Twice married with four children, he is also said to be an accomplished pianist who enjoys theatre and the arts.

The path to Einfeld’s personal destruction began on January 8, 2006, when his car was captured by a speed camera doing 60km/h in a 50km/h zone along Macpherson Street in Sydney’s Mosman. It was minor traffic offence that attracted a $77 fine and three demerit points.

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