Sunday, 19 April 2009

Perverting the course of justice

In Australia, a former judge has been jailed for perjury and perverting the course of justice, after telling a series of lies about a relatively minor traffic offence. From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Marcus Einfeld's indignant denials of dishonesty in the face of contrary evidence were most likely because he had crafted an "alternate reality" in his head to match his opinion of himself, a psychologist says.

Einfeld's apparent arrogance may have influenced the way he remembered the "pattern of dishonest behaviour" revealed on TV this week, said Ben Newell, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of NSW...

...When confronted on the ABC about a history of identifying others as responsible for his traffic infringements, Einfeld said: "I can't remember the details of some things that happened many, many years ago without having a document in front of me, or my diary or anything to help me remember."

Dr Newell said: "We know memory is entirely reconstructive ... it's not a read out of events exactly as they happened.

"When he ... said 'You're asking me to remembers things 10 years ago' and 'How can I do that?' it seemed he'd convinced himself some things couldn't be the case."

Another example of this was when Einfeld explained his lie by saying: "I think I firmly believed I was not the driver of the car on that day."

"For us it seems like he's just a bare-faced liar, but if you wanted to have any sympathy towards him, one justification might be that he'd created this story in his head," Dr Newell said...

..."He had probably led this fictional version of the story for so long, he might indeed have found it difficult to distinguish fiction from reality by, in a sense, creating his own false memory of what had occurred....

Inside the two heads of Marcus Einfeld

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