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NSW: Liati to serve the community for lying in police statement

By Andrew Drummond
08 May 2009 6:08 PM

SYDNEY, May 8 AAP - When she lied under oath, Angela Liati's intention was to "assist a fellow human", but she must now provide assistance of a different kind, with 200 hours of court-ordered community service.

A judge said Liati made an "annoying" attempt to help former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld escape conviction on a traffic matter, one that was costly in terms of both time and money.

"What she did was annoying and caused a waste of time of public officials at considerable expense," Judge Michael Finnane said in his sentencing remarks on Friday.

A District Court jury had found Liati guilty of making a false statement to police with the intention of perverting the course of justice following her trial in February.

Liati falsely claimed she had been driving a car owned by Einfeld at the time it was caught speeding in Sydney three years ago.

Even as she was sentenced, Liati maintained her innocence, claiming she had simply mixed up the dates when she was in Einfeld's car.

"What she thought she was doing was trying to assist a fellow human being," her lawyer Simon Joyner told the court on Friday.

Since the jury's verdict, Liati had been "close to suicide" and had "retreated from the life she had before", Mr Joyner said.

"All she wants to do is stay in bed curled up. She has a destroyed soul," he said.

Judge Finnane said that at no stage did anyone believe the claims Liati made in her statements.

"It is a very serious offence, in my opinion, for someone to come forward and attempt to influence a police investigation by providing police with false information," Judge Finnane said.

"In this particular case what happened was the police - although no one really believed it - had to investigate the full content of the statement."

He sentenced her to 200 hours of community service, rejecting Mr Joyner's application that she be placed on a good behaviour bond.

"In my opinion, there is no doubt Ms Liati made this statement knowing it was false and there is no doubt she intended to assist Mr Einfeld," Judge Finnane said.

"The reasons for doing this in many ways are difficult to understand, she has said to her solicitor here ... she was trying to help an innocent man."

Liati has admitted she does not know Einfeld, who is now in prison serving a two-year sentence.

"She wasted a lot of the community's time and money, perhaps she should do something to assist the community," Judge Finnane said.

Outside court, Liati said she would appeal the sentence.

"It has destroyed my soul because I have never been presumed innocent and I expect more compassion from society," she said.

She added that she still wanted to visit Einfeld, for whom she felt "very sad".