A Tragedy in Two Acts: Marcus Einfeld & Teresa Brennan
Fiona Harari; Pan Macmillan, 2011; 272pp; $34.99 (paperback)
We can be sure that Fiona Harari’s book is not one that either of these two Australians would have wanted written about them. With Marcus Einfeld, Harari has used her journalistic background to gather facts and details that shed light on how this former Federal Court judge came to be imprisoned for perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice. For the most part, the details of this story are well-known. In 2006, Einfeld contested a $77 speeding fine by claiming that he had lent his car to Teresa Brennan, an academic from the United States. He later gave similar evidence under oath in the Local Court and signed a statutory declaration to the same effect. A journalist who was in the court on the day wrote a small story for the Daily Telegraph that was later checked by the assistant editor, at which point it became clear that Teresa Brennan had been killed in a car accident in early 2003. When confronted by the journalist, Einfeld claimed a second (ficticious) Teresa Brennan had been driving his car and later produced a 22-page statement describing the events of that day. All of this information was false and Einfeld was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice. In sentencing him to three years imprisonment, NSW Supreme Court Justice Bruce James considered that Einfeld had committed ‘deliberate, premeditated perjury’. He found that Einfeld’s lengthy written statement had contained ‘a number of knowingly false assertions’ and concluded that there was ‘planned criminal activity’ by Einfeld in implicating another person as the driver of his car.