GEOFFREY Edelsten yesterday won his high-profile court case against an American woman he met online, but in the process was branded a liar by the judge.
Mr Edelsten succeeded in having details of his dealings with 32-year-old New Jersey sales rep Stacy da Silva permanently suppressed, though Justice David Beach expressly permitted publication of his judgment.
Justice Beach said most of the evidence given by Ms da Silva, who testified at the Supreme Court of Victoria via video link from New Jersey, ''was demonstrably false and could not be believed''. But Mr Edelsten, he said, ''was no more an impressive witness than Ms da Silva''.
Occasionally Mr Edelsten ''appeared to be contemplating which of a selection of answers might prove least embarrassing or least destructive to his case'', he said.
Mr Edelsten sat stony-faced throughout the brief judgment, which Justice Beach opened with the observation that a fellow judge had once described the 17th century English conspirator Titus Oates as ''the greatest perjurer that ever lived''.
''Self-evidently,'' he added, ''His honour was not the trial judge in the present proceeding.''
Justice Beach noted that Mr Edelsten and Ms da Silva had met in February on the website sugardaddyforme.com. ''Thereafter, they communicated with each other by telephone and email for some months. On a weekend in March, they met in Hollywood, Florida.''
Details of what happened that weekend cannot be reported, but in May Mr Edelsten transferred $5000 to Ms da Silva.
Justice Beach concluded that the money was intended as a loan, and the loan agreement was subject to a confidentiality clause preventing the disclosure by Ms da Silva of ''any dealings including emails, texts of any other form of communication'' between her and Mr Edelsten or his company. Justice Beach ordered her to repay ''the sum of $5000 together with interest at the rate of 9 per cent''.
He noted that both parties had been ''prepared to mislead me in respect of any matter that they thought they could get away with''.
''The one piece of of evidence that could be confidently accepted from each of them is when each of them said … the other was being untruthful.''
Several hours later Mr Edelsten was again in court. The former medico admitted to the Melbourne Magistrates Court that he had failed to provide information to the Australian Taxation Office for an audit.
Each was prepared to be truthful only if it did not otherwise embarrass or harm their case.
No conviction was recorded but he was placed on a 12-month bond.