Police pursued Lloyd Rayney as part of a "biased, single-minded" murder investigation "because they had to get a result", a defence lawyer said yesterday.
David Edwardson outlined the defence team's stance after Justice Brian Martin queried his cross- examination of Sen. Sgt Jack Lee - the former head of the major crime squad who, during a press conference on September 20, 2007, labelled Mr Rayney the "only" suspect in his wife's death.
Video of the press conference was shown to the Supreme Court yesterday, with then-Det-Sen. Sgt Lee saying Mr Rayney was a suspect because police believed his wife was most likely murdered at home.
"He's our only suspect at this time . . . at this time he is the primary person of interest," he had said.
Later in the conference, Sen. Sgt Lee had said police had no evidence to show Mr Rayney was responsible for the crime.
Sen. Sgt Lee agreed with Mr Edwardson yesterday that Mr Rayney's label as a suspect became a "public mantra" after the conference.
Justice Martin asked the police witness to leave the courtroom before suggesting what happened in the 2007 conference was "highly undesirable" and asking where the defence were headed with their questioning of Sen. Sgt Lee.
Mr Edwardson said the defence team were alleging there had been "a single focus on one person and one person alone".
"Lloyd Rayney has been their target and they were put in the position against the background of all that publicity of having to achieve a particular result," he said.
"Our case, put simply and bluntly, is that they had every motive against this background to go down that path because they had to get a result . . . they couldn't afford the embarrassment," Mr Edwardson said. The suggestions were not put to Sen. Sgt Lee.
Sen. Sgt Lee moved from major crime to Karratha police station at the end of 2007.