Controversial evidence about liquidambar seed pods was again under the microscope yesterday when a policewoman was scrutinised over the discovery of a third pod in Corryn Rayney's body bag four months after her autopsy.
Lloyd Rayney's defence team has attacked the "integrity and continuity" of the key evidence, challenging how the pods were discovered and the police handling of them.
Police witnesses have testified two seed pods were pulled from Mrs Rayney's hair during her autopsy on August 17, 2007. Prosecutors allege soil and particles inside the seed pods link Mrs Rayney's murder to her Como home.
Sgt Natasha Rogers told the court that on December 3, 2007 she and another officer sifted through 2-3kg of sand in Mrs Rayney's body bag, trying to find a contact lens after one was discovered in the victim's car. No contact lens was found but a third pod was spotted.
Sgt Rogers conceded no in-situ photographs were taken of the third pod but could not say why.
The policewoman explained a three hour and 20 minute gap in the exhibits' log between finding some hair in the sand and the next discovery of the pod, which she had labelled as "fruit".
She said they were combing through the sand all that time but admitted the pod may have been sighted but not collected straight away.
Sgt Rogers also testified about a police briefing at Kings Park on August 17 - just hours after the two pods were allegedly found at the autopsy.
She said that a colleague asked what the objects, described to her as "like golf balls with spikes", could be. She immediately suspected they were liquidambar seed pods because she used to play with them as a child.
She said later that night she saw a photograph of the objects and researched on the internet, strengthening her belief they were liquidambar pods.Justice Brian Martin said Sgt Rogers' evidence about the pods' discussion was relevant, particularly if the defence was challenging the claim the pods were found at the post mortem, because the briefing was so close in time to the autopsy.
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