Prosecutors yesterday lost a legal bid to have accused murderer Lloyd Rayney's elder daughter declared a hostile witness after claiming her evidence was inconsistent with prior statements she made to a teenage friend at the time of her mother's disappearance.
At the end of his examination of 18-year-old Caitlyn Rayney, prosecutor John Agius told Justice Brian Martin that he was applying for permission to cross-examine the teenager as a hostile witness.
Mr Agius submitted Caitlyn's evidence, based on a statement dictated to police the day after her mother disappeared, was inconsistent with a telephone conversation she allegedly had with a 14-year-old girlfriend after she returned home from school earlier the same day.
He said in her statement the teenage friend said Caitlyn had recalled a conversation in the family home that morning that involved a reference to calling police.
The friend also claimed Caitlyn had said she was "really worried" about what had happened and whether her mum was missing.
"It is our submission that the witness is deliberately downplaying her reaction to the fact that her mother was not there that morning," Mr Agius said.
Defence lawyer David Edwardson, who opposed the application, said there was no suggestion that Caitlyn's evidence was inconsistent with her statement to police.
Rejecting the application, Justice Martin said it was not appropriate in the circumstances to allow the State to cross-examine the teenager on the single aspect of whether there had been mention of calling police earlier that day.