Prosecutors claim accused murderer Lloyd Rayney's failure to deny he killed his wife to a long-time friend was tantamount to an admission of guilt, with the friend yesterday recalling he suggested a lack of emotion was behind people "pointing the finger" at the barrister.
Geoffrey Dutton, a barrister who met Mr Rayney at Trinity College, gave evidence yesterday at the wilful murder trial.
He told of a conversation with the accused at the city's Kings Perth Hotel after Corryn Rayney's disappearance on the night of August 7, 2007.
Mr Dutton told the judge-alone trial that Mr Rayney, who has pleaded not guilty, had seemed paranoid and uncomfortable with the public attention he was receiving.
"He seemed to be very concerned with the way everyone was staring at him," Mr Dutton said.
The court was told Mr Dutton said to his friend: "Either you must be the strongest man emotionally or you must have done it."
Mr Rayney had replied: "That's what others think, too."
Mr Rayney's defence team yesterday objected to the exchange between the men being used as evidence.
Prosecutor John Agius argued Mr Rayney's failure to deny he killed his wife and leaving the issue "hanging" showed a "consciousness of guilt".
Justice Brian Martin said he would allow evidence of the conversation, which he said was being painted by the State as "tantamount to an admission", before deciding whether to accept it.
Mr Dutton said yesterday he had been making an "observation" to Mr Rayney rather than asking a question. In a written statement tendered to the court, he said he told Mr Rayney, "the reason people were pointing the finger at him was because he was not showing any emotion".
Mr Dutton said yesterday his description of the exchange might not have been precise.
He told the court that Mr Rayney was "a very strong person, physically and mentally" who was able to "pick himself up".
Yvonne Pereira, a court employee, described how Mr Rayney came to the Supreme Court building, where his wife worked as a registrar, the day after her disappearance and was bounding up the stairs "two at a time" and seemed concerned.
She said she had checked Mrs Rayney's voicemail earlier that morning and heard a message from Mr Rayney noting his wife left early for work. Emails were tendered to the court in which Mrs Rayney told an accountant she was expecting a "bitter fight" with her husband and believed he was hiding gambling losses as they headed for a separation.'Either you must be the strongest man emotionally or you must have done it.'"Witness *Geoffrey Dutton *
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