He said his statement was “a reflection of what I really believed at the time I experienced it” and he didn’t know it was false at the time, but he now accepts there are “significant” differences between his memory and the recording.
Keneally denied that the statement was made with the intent to mislead a court and said he was surprised to learn several months later that the conversation had been recorded.
Boyle asked whether Keneally thought his suggestion that threats had been made against police “might help your career.”
“Absolutely not,” Keneally said, adding that he could only have been promoted to police officer if he had accumulated several years of service.
Keneally said he “didn’t fully concentrate” on the conversation with Moore because of the busy environment at the station.
He said he looked at several things during the call, including Moore’s “I Sue Police” website and his profile on the police computer system, and also opened the police dispatch system to search for assigned positions in the Newtown area.
The forensic psychiatrist Dr. Olav Nielssen told the court that the “sheer number of different submissions” that Keneally accessed before writing his statement may have had a “contaminating effect” that undermined the accuracy of his memory, which over time “hardened and came alive”.
“The core of my opinion is that our memory is not reliable,” Nielssen said. “Normal people without mental disorders or cognitive problems can remember things inaccurately.”
Dr. Stefanie Sharman, a senior lecturer in psychology, said a person’s memory of a conversation fades quickly and could be impaired “quite significantly” just a few minutes later.
“When we divide our attention across multiple tasks, the information encoded from any one of those sources is less,” she said. “He probably had difficulty encoding the information.”
Keneally said Moore’s profile in the police computer system “heightened” him because it suggested he had a “propensity for violence” and psychiatric problems.
The court heard that Moore had written on his website: “The police have started a war, a war we will win with words, not guns. “I would never advocate violence against police unless this were the case appropriate under the circumstances.”
In a closing statement, Keneally’s attorney, Paul McGirr, said Moore was “ranting” and “looking obvious” during the phone call and that his client had had a false memory because he was under stress and looking at multiple sources at once.
He said there was “no hard evidence” why his client had deliberately falsified evidence as he knew neither Moore nor the Goulburn detective. He urged the court to find Keneally not guilty.
Boyle said the court could “comfortably conclude” that Keneally made up the quotes in his statement because he knew they were false and that his guilt had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The Crown’s submission says this was not a mistake,” he said. “If you look at the transcript of the conversation and what he said, they’re not even close.”
Judge Rodney Brender will announce his decision on November 21st.
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