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Rayney grave handkerchief in spotlight
Lloyd Rayney arrives at court this morning with his lawyer. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

UPDATE: 4.59pm Lloyd Rayney's defence barrister David Edwardson has attacked the prosecution's claim that liquidambar seed pods were found in Corryn Rayney's hair.

And the WA Supreme Court trial heard that a third seed pod in Mrs Rayney's body bag was not discovered until two months after her post-mortem examination.

The question of the seed pods are key to the prosecution's case because they potentially link Mrs Rayney to her Como home, where they have a liquidambar tree.

Forensic evidence at the heart of the prosecution's case against Mr Rayney, the liquidambar seed pods and a handkerchief found in Corryn Rayney's grave, were both put under the spotlight at his WA Supreme Court murder trial this morning.

Having spent much of the day cross-examining Sergeant Siobhan O'Loughlin, one of the police officers who helped in the post-mortem, Mr Edwardson this afternoon signalled the defence did not accept the forensic evidence relating to the pods.

Earlier Sgt O'Loughlin had described to the court watching two seed pods being removed from Mrs Rayney's hair.

Sgt O'Loughlin told the court of the moment the first of two seed pods were found “entwined” in Mrs Rayney's hair. "(The doctor) was examining the victims' head and during that process he had pulled something from the length of the hair," she said.

"I was standing alongside him as he pulled the item out of the hair… I said 'I think it could be important' and directed a photograph to be taken of the seed pods."

She said the pods were found at the back of Mrs Rayney's head, with hair entwined around them.

In the course of being cross-examined Sgt O'Loughlin told the court her "running sheet" from the primary crime scene could not be found. She said she could not explain why the running sheet - essentially a police officer's record of a crime scene examination - could not be found.

Sgt O'Loughlin also told the court she was not aware of any questions about the integrity of the seed pod evidence.

Mr Rayney's barrister David Edwardson questioned Sgt O'Loughlin about several aspects of Mrs Rayney's post-mortem, including how often the police officers attending would have changed their gloves during the course of handling different exhibits.

"I suggest... these pods were not removed from the hair as you describe to this court," Mr Edwardson said.

"I suggest to you that the pods were not removed from the hair and that's the reason why we do not have any photos of the pods in the hair."

Sgt O'Loughlin did not agree. She said she was standing beside the doctor when he "had his hands in amongst the hair and round the scalp of the head and was prising the seed pods out".

At times Sgt O'Loughlin appeared to become frustrated with the direction of Mr Edwardson's questioning, particularly around her recollections of how regularly gloves had been changed. "We all understand physical evidence and we are professional," she said.

"We do not need to make a note (every time we do it)."

Asked why she had photographed the seed pods in Mrs Rayney’s hair only after they had been removed, Sgt O’Loughlin said there had been "no necessity".

The court was told last week there was only one liquidambar tree in Kings Park, which is some distance from Mrs Rayney's grave. However, they are common in many of the nearby suburbs.

Justice Brian Martin questioned Sgt O'Loughlin closely about whether there had been a delay in photographing the seed pods, in particular whether the pods had been found before or after Mrs Rayney's body was moved from lying on her front to her back.

A handkerchief found in Corryn Rayney's grave and liquidambar seed pods found in her hair was also put under the spotlight at Mr Rayney’s WA Supreme Court murder trial this morning.

Photos of Mrs Rayney taken before and during her post-mortem examination will not be released to the public and were not displayed on the screens that are visible to the court's public gallery.

Photos showing tears in Mrs Rayney's shirt were also tendered. When Mrs Rayney was found the zip of her jeans was broken, with several teeth from the fly missing, and her belt was undone. However, there was no evidence she had been the victim of a sexual assault.

A Balinese sales manager was the first witness called for the day to give evidence, via videolink, about a brand of handkerchief sold at the Matahari stores in Bali where he worked in 2007.

Mr and Mrs Rayney were in Bali at the time on a work trip with Hancock Prospecting. The prosecution is alleging Mrs Rayney bought her husband a Stanley Adams handkerchief in Bali, which Mr Rayney later dropped while burying his wife in her Kings Park grave.

Ida Yayan Rancana was questioned about two transactions that took place in April 2007 in which Mrs Rayney's credit card was used.

Two transactions, worth about $16 and $47.95 respectively, were recorded by the store in which Mr Rancana was working at the time. The number of the credit card used was recorded but a description of the item or items sold was not.

Stanley Adams is a brand of handkerchief only sold in the Matahari chain of Balinese stores, Mr Rancana told the court.

He said the Stanley Adams handkerchiefs that would have been sold in 2007 were slightly different to those that would have been for sale in subsequent years. "It's almost the same, the difference is only on the borders on the handkerchiefs," he said.

Under cross-examination Mr Rancana also said he had seen copies of the Stanley Adams brand being sold in market stores around Bali.

A Stanley Adams handkerchief was found in Mrs Rayney's grave. DNA found on the handkerchief was not Mrs Rayney's but could not be ruled out as having come from Mr Rayney.

Mr Rancana said the stores did not have CCTV surveillance.

Prosecutor John Agius said in his opening address that, while Mr Rayney used handkerchiefs, his wife did not - a fact he is alleged to have lied to the police about.