Secret plan to comb daughter s web journal
Det-Sgt Carl Casilli leaves court after giving evidence. Picture: Nic Ellis, The West Australian

Lloyd Rayney's defence team yesterday attacked police tactics used in the investigation of his wife's murder, which included considering secretly combing his teenage daughter's MySpace page to see if she had written anything about her mother's disappearance.

Defence lawyer David Edwardson grilled Det-Sgt Carl Casilli about a plan formed by police two days after Corryn Rayney's disappearance on August 7, 2007, that aimed at scouring Caitlyn Rayney's social web page for clues to her mother's whereabouts.

The plan was not acted on until December 2007.

Det-Sgt Casilli yesterday agreed that a task sheet showed that at one stage in the murder investigation he had been asked to look into whether police could access the teenager's MySpace page "either with or without a warrant".

Mr Edwardson asked the detective "what on earth" police thought they would find on the girl's web page to which Det-Sgt Casilli replied he had been following a request.

Documents showed police believed they would need a warrant or consent from Caitlyn Rayney to examine her online journal but also that "covert" investigations had led police to believe the teenager was "well versed" by her barrister father on "contemporary covert police strategies" and would not likely have posted anything useful for police.

Det-Sgt Casilli told the Supreme Court yesterday that he believed this observation was "based on an assumption".

The trial was told that police got permission from a friend of the teenager to use her own web page to access Caitlyn's MySpace site but they could not access the online journal.

Det-Sgt Casilli was also quizzed yesterday about his change of opinion about how two liquidambar seed pods had been found in Mrs Rayney's hair during an autopsy after he viewed a series of autopsy photographs that "refreshed" his memory of the event.

Mr Edwardson suggested the change of view revealed an "evolving fiction" and asked the detective whether he was making things up as he went along.

Det-Sgt Casilli rejected the suggestion and insisted he had an independent recollection of standing next to forensic pathologist Gerard Cadden when the seeds were pulled from Mrs Rayney's matted hair while her body lay face down on the autopsy table.

He agreed he had earlier told the prosecution that he thought he recalled her body lying face up.

Mr Rayney's defence team suggested there were issues with the "integrity" of the seed pods, which allegedly link Mrs Rayney's death to the family home.

Det-Sgt Casilli said yesterday the handling of exhibits at autopsy he attended had been the "domain" of forensic officers.

The detective agreed that an "assumption" had underpinned suggestions in an email to Dr Cadden in September 2007 that Mrs Rayney could have been killed at home before being buried in a bush grave at Kings Park. Her body was discovered on August 15.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West