The trial of the “solitary crusader” who tried to assist Marcus (The Mensch) Einfeld in his hour of need has run off the tracks.
Last week Angela Liati sacked her barrister Chris Hoy and the rest of her legal team.
She told Judge Michael Finnane, who is hearing the case without a jury, that she wants to represent herself.
Liati, who among other career moves had clipped the toenails of obese car dealer Peter Warren, has pleaded not guilty in the Dizzo to making a false statement on August 23, 2006 with the intent of perverting the course of justice.
Her statement in 2006 helpfully claimed she and another woman called “Theahresa Brennan”, an American lady she has met at a meditation session, were the only two people in Einfeld’s car when it was booked by a speed camera at Mosman.
Hoy attempted to paint Liati as a misguided, but well-intentional person.
She “made certain assumptions and filled in the gaps”. She was a “solitary crusader” who sought to help a “leading humanitarian and judicial figure”.
“She was trying to help someone facing the ridicule and the scrutiny of the press.”
Judge Finnane has now set February 2, 2009 as Liati’s new trial date.
Einfeld’s trial on charges of lying under oath and perverting the course of justice had been set down for November 3.
Curiously, Liati told the judge that she had met Einfeld on August 10, 11, 14 and 23, 2006. Previously both she and Einfeld had said they had never met.
Her statement in support of Einfeld was dated August 23, 2006.
The Liati case is to be mentioned on November 28. She said:
“I spoke to Einfeld’s lawyer. His trial could be delayed as a result of his health.”
She was keen to press on with her trial there and then.
Finnane asked Hoy to speak to his (former) client outside and explain that if she persists he has no choice but to adjourn the trial.
When they came back in Hoy said that Liati maintained her position.
“She wants to persuade your Honour to continue with the trial.”
Liati, in a tight black pants suit, was called to the bar table and told the judge that the trial should go on and that all she wants to do is cross-examine a few detectives, two ex-boyfriends and the Sydney lawyer Michael Dougherty, who took her statement in support of Einfeld when he was at McClellands.
There was a slight problem in that she couldn’t locate one of her friends, the former male model Allen Bassett.
Liati subsequently told the judge that in any event she could proceed without Bassett.
Crown prosecutor Wayne Roser said:
“First she wants him and now she says she can do without him. I don’t want this to be a feature of the way she is going to run her case.”
Liati told the judge:
“I want to go into the witness box to tell my story. I have reasonable intelligence to be able to make my own decisions.”
Finnane warned her:
“Law is as complicated as engineering or medicine. I would never want to design or build my own bridge or do my own surgery.”
Liati insisted that “everything they need to prove happened. I don’t dispute it”.
Then she dropped another little grenade:
“I now have proof I had the wrong day. I now know I simply had the wrong day. It [the Mosman car trip] happened on another day.”
It was too much for Wayne Roser:
“I think this has gone on long enough.”
“This trial was set down for one month. It started on August 25 and we are now in the beginning of the third week and we are only just starting to call witnesses. I do not intend to continue this case this year.”
In any event, if the Liati trial was to dawdle on and on it might slap into Einfeld, in which Roser is also the prosecutor.
Finnane was clear:
“I am not going to have this trial limping along because that is what is going to happen.”
February 2 next year it is – unless Einfeld is too crook to go on in November.