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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Kristina Keneally’s police officer son denies fabricating evidence to advance career

He said his statement was “a reflection of what I truly believed at the time I had experienced” and he did not know at the time that it was incorrect, but he now accepts there are “significant” differences between his recollection and the recording.

Keneally denied the statement was made with the intention of misleading a court, and said he was surprised to learn several months later that the conversation had been recorded.

Boyle asked if Keneally thought his suggestion that threats had been made against police “might help your career”.

“Absolutely not,” Keneally said, adding that the only way he could have been promoted as a constable was by accruing years of service.

Keneally said he “wasn’t totally focused” on the conversation with Moore due to the busy station environment.

He said he looked at various things during the phone call, including Moore’s website “I Sue Police” and his profile on the police computer system, and also had the police dispatch system open to look at jobs assigned in the Newtown area.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Olav Nielssen told the court the “sheer number of different inputs” being accessed by Keneally before he wrote his statement could have had a “contaminating effect” which undermined the accuracy of his recollection, which became “fixed and vivid” over time.


“The essence of my opinion is that our memory is not reliable,” Nielssen said. “Normal people, with no psychiatric disorder, no cognitive problems, can remember things inaccurately.”

Dr Stefanie Sharman, a senior lecturer in psychology, said a person’s memory of a conversation decays quickly, and may have been affected “quite significantly” even a couple of minutes later.

“When we split our attention across multiple tasks, the information that’s encoded from any of those sources is less,” she said. “He likely had difficulty encoding the information.”

Keneally said Moore’s profile on the police computer system made him “heightened”, because it suggested he had a “propensity for violence” and psychiatric issues.

The court heard Moore had written on his website: “Police have started a war, a war we’ll win with words not weapons. I would never advocate for violence against police unless it was reasonable in the circumstances.”

In a closing address, Keneally’s lawyer Paul McGirr said Moore was “ranting” and “appeared to be unhinged” during the phone call, and his client had a mistaken recollection due to being under stress and looking at a number of sources simultaneously.

He said there was “no real smoking gun” for why his client would have intentionally falsified evidence, because he did not know Moore or the Goulburn detective. He urged the court to find Keneally not guilty.

Boyle said the court could “comfortably infer” that Keneally had fabricated the quotes in his statement, knowing they were false, and his guilt had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

“The Crown submission is this was not a mistake,” he said. “Looking at the transcript of the conversation and his statement, they’re not even close.”

Magistrate Rodney Brender will deliver his decision on November 21.

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