Smug police left a poor impression
Shari Paradise leaves court after giving evidence. Picture: Michael Wilson, The West Australian.

Lloyd Rayney's personal assistant said a team of police looked "smug" and were "grinning" as they watched news reports of the barrister being labelled the "prime" and "only" murder suspect as they searched his law chambers the month after his wife was killed.

Shari Paradise made the claim as she testified at the wilful murder trial of her former boss.

She said she became reluctant to sign a statement for police about her conversations with Mr Rayney because she "didn't think much of them" after her dealings with the police.

Ms Paradise's evidence yesterday came on a day of the trial when there were fiery exchanges between prosecutors and the defence team fighting allegations that Mr Rayney killed his wife Corryn on August 7, 2007 and buried her in Kings Park.

Ms Paradise, who worked at the city's Francis Burt Chambers for Mr Rayney and two other barristers, was asked to leave the court three times during her evidence so the judge could deal with heated legal arguments.

Prosecutor John Agius at one stage flagged a move to call Ms Paradise a hostile witness so he could launch more vigorous questioning, but did not go on to make such an application.

The move came after Ms Paradise repeatedly said she could not recall in detail a conversation with Mr Rayney about a law chambers place card bearing his name that was found near Mrs Rayney's grave.

"I am really sorry but the more I think about it, the fuzzier it becomes," she said.

After being shown a copy of a statement that she signed earlier yesterday, she recounted Mr Rayney telling her he put the place card in the console of a car after the function.

The place card is a significant piece of evidence linking Mr Rayney to his wife's death, according to the State.

Ms Paradise said under cross examination that Mr Rayney had never asked her not to co-operate with police.

She said she may have been reluctant to sign a police statement after her own dealings with police when they searched and seized items from Mr Rayney's chambers on September 20, 2007.

Ms Paradise said Mr Rayney had been absent so she insisted on staying with the group of up to 10 officers.

"They were okay but later on in the evening they piled into the boardroom and watched the (news) report from (Det-Sen. Sgt Jack Lee)… saying Lloyd was the prime and only suspect," she said.

"They were just really smug and a few of them grinned."

Det-Sen. Sgt Lee's comments came after Mr Rayney was charged over an intercept on his house phone, three years before he was charged with wilful murder.

Mr Rayney's defence team have indicated they will challenge the credibility of the murder investigation and its focus on their client.

The State objected yesterday to defence lawyer David Edwardson's questions about Ms Paradise's dealings with police, accusing him on an attack on the officers.

In her evidence, Ms Paradise described how she and Mr Rayney at times "theorised" about the allegations, including the possibility he was being framed.

"We did say that maybe (the place card) had been planted - it was convenient that the card was found there," she said, later clarifying that Mr Rayney was the one who suggested the card was planted, not her.

She said Mr Rayney also told her he knew people who lived in the Subiaco street where his wife's car was abandoned.

He suggested that if he had been the culprit he would not have risked parking in a street where he could be recognised.

The West Australian

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