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Friday, August 3, 2012

Lloyd Rayney Murder Trial

Lloyd Rayney, Barrister and former Prosecutor, was taking part in an inquiry into one of the most infamous wrongful murder convictions in WA history when his wife Corryn went missing.  He was becoming well known and his picture started to appear in the newspapers the week before his wife of 17 years disappeared after her dance class.

It is alleged that on August 7, 2007 Lloyd Rayney killed his 44 year old wife at their home then disposed of her body in Kings Park.  Since being charged in 2010, he has vehemently denied the charge.

Born in Africa to Indian parents, Corryn grew up in Uganda under the brutal Idi Amin regime and the family moved to Australia as refugees.  She went on to study law the University of WA and was an articled clerk with the Australian Government's Solicitor's Office when she met her future husband, Lloyd Rayney, who was a junior lawyer at the time.  They went on to become a successful couple and had two daughters.  Lloyd rose through the ranks and became a senior Prosecutor and then a respected Perth Barrister and dealt with high-profile criminal and civil cases.

At the time of her death, Mrs Rayney was a Supreme Court registrar, a role similar to that of a judge.  She was a devout Christian and was liked by everyone.  Her husband spent 18 months on a work assignment in the Caribbean while his wife stayed at home with the children and by mid 2007, they decided to sever their marital relationship, but continued to share the same house with their children.

Lloyd Rayney has influential friends who believe he is innocent and it's taken a long time for police to finally get him into court.  The couple's two daughters who were 10 and 13 at the time of the alleged murder, also believe their father is innocent.

WA police involved in the case are wearing matching ties and said it was a "bit of tribalism."  They were supplied to officers attached to Operation Dargan, the code name for the Rayney murder investigation.

Elizabeth Woods

Yesterday WA Deputy Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Woods, a very credible witness, gave crucial evidence.  She said Mrs Rayney came to see her a week or two before she died.  She told her that her husband had lost a lot of money gambling and opened a bank account that she was denied access to.  She had no idea how much he earned and was thinking of subpoenaing his clients to find out.  She was also concerned about a rumour that her husband was allegedly paid $200,000 for a trial involving the name "Hancock".  The court had already heard that Lloyd was working for Hancock Prospecting and went on a working holiday to Bali with Gina Rinehart and his wife, four months before she died.

Ms Woods said she knew the couple intended to have a discussion about their relationship on the night Mrs Rayney disappeared.  "Corryn wanted to sort out the access of the children with Lloyd as well as their financial situation" she said.  "She told me she was planning to get rid of Lloyd from the house."  Ms Woods told Corryn it might be prudent to leave the house but she insisted on staying.

John Agius

Prosecutor John Agius believes there was plenty of motive.  Mrs Rayney wanted her husband to move out, demanded he release a statement of all his assets and bank accounts, keep the family home, and have primary custody of their children.

The accused opted for a no-jury, one judge-only trial and former chief justice of the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Brian Martin, has been appointed to hear the trial.

Update:  Today, 1st November 2012, Lloyd Rayney was found not guilty of murdering his wife.  The Judge said the Prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence to convict him..