Steve Vizard’s Supreme Court ordeal ended a little early this morning after the judge called an early lunch. But it wasn’t early enough to save Vizard from a barrage of more than 20 questions he couldn’t — wouldn’t — answer about his personal share dealings, culminating with this doozy:

Peter Hayes QC: Did you abuse your power as a Telstra director to buy shares in Sausage Software with knowledge or information that the average person in the street doesn’t have?

Vizard: I refuse to answer that question.

Vizard faced another setback this morning with a decision by the court to allow Peter Hayes, who is acting for his former bookkeeper Roy Hilliard, to quiz him on documents from another court case that won’t be available until tomorrow morning. It will be his fourth consecutive day in the witness box.

Yesterday Vizard’s sketchy memory also featured prominently: the overriding impression created by Vizard and his counsel in the many non-answered questions was that Vizard had little or no understanding of the financial operations of his many business concerns, an impression far easier to live with, one presumes, than a conviction for perjury.

During a full day in the witness stand, Vizard denied discussions about the establishment of a secret cache of cash, refused to answer questions about matters relating to his illegal share dealings in 2000, and was vague on questions about a list of many significant artworks he or his businesses owned.

It was too much for Mr Hilliard’s representatives, who late in the day threatened a permanent stay of proceedings, arguing “it was unfair Mr Vizard could avoid questions that affected his credibility while his client would not be able to hide from a similar attack.”

Peter Fray

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