View Comments
Rayney phone calls played to court
Tim Pearson arrives at court.

Update: 4.15pm Lloyd Rayney told the former police employee he allegedly paid to tap his wife’s phone "it’s got to be legal", the Perth barrister’s Supreme Court murder trial heard today.

The trial also heard from police fingerprint experts who examined cigarette lighters found in Kings Park, a David Jones bag allegedly used to cover Corryn Rayney’s body while it lay on the backseat of her car and a water bottle found in her car boot. A fingerprint matched to Mr Rayney was recovered from the bottle.

Phone calls between Mr Rayney and Timothy Pearson, made at the request of police on September 20, 2007, were played to the court today.

In the first call Mr Pearson, to whom Mr Rayney allegedly paid nearly $2000 to tap Mrs Rayney’s home phone, told Mr Rayney he had been contacted by the Major Crime squad and wanted to know what he should say. Mr Rayney said he was driving and asked to call him back.

In the second call, Mr Pearson said he had been contacted again and police wanted him to “come down to the station and speak to them”.

“I was just wanting to ask you what should I do,” Mr Pearson said in the recording.

In his response Mr Rayney makes reference to “a computer”.

Asked about Mr Rayney’s reference to a computer Mr Pearson told the court: “I was fixing his computer, that’s what I’d been asked to tell anybody."

“If I get asked I should only be telling people about fixing his computer,” he said.

The same two calls were played to the trial several weeks ago but were barely audible and the audio has since been enhanced.

Mr Rayney’s trial was told yesterday Mr Pearson pleaded guilty to a telephone intercept charge in February 2008 and was handed a good behaviour bond after agreeing to co-operate with law agencies and give a "full and frank" account of the activity.

Under cross examination Mr Rayney's lawyer David Edwardson suggested Mr Pearson, who was working with WA Police on an IT project at the time he was allegedly hired by Mr Rayney, "didn't think for a minute there was anything illegal" about the work he was doing for Mr Rayney. Mr Pearson agreed.

Mr Pearson also agreed with Mr Edwardson's suggestion that Mr Rayney "made it plain he didn't want anything illegal... it's got to be lawful, it's got to be legal".

Asked if he understood that to be the terms of his retainer Mr Pearson said, "yes".

Mr Pearson testifed that when he spoke to the police they told him he would not be charged.

“They said 'don’t worry about the telecommunications offence we don’t care about that we only care about the murder',” he said.

Mr Pearson said he was interviewed for about nine hours by police on August 29, 2007 and his premises were later searched.

The court was also told that after Mr Pearson co-operated with police he was taken to The Royal Hotel "from time to time" by two police officers "as their guest" to discuss how the case was going.

Asked by prosecutor John Agius if his relationship with the officers had caused him to give any false information Mr Pearson said no.

The court also heard from a string of police fingerprint witnesses.

Senior Constable Damian Sheridan told the court Mr Rayney’s fingerprints were found on a water bottle in the boot of Mrs Rayney’s car but his fingerprints were not found elsewhere in the car’s interior.

There were also some fingerprints that were not identified. Those were entered into the police's so-called unsolved latents database, which tried to match them against any known fingerprints on the system.

Snr Const Sheridan said that search was still ongoing, with the computer "always searching".

Some items, such as the boots Mrs Rayney was wearing the night she died, did not return any prints.

The boots were found behind the driver’s seat of her car and the prosecution alleges they were likely removed to make it easier for her body to be dragged through the bush to her grave.

Acting Sergeant David Forbes also appeared to give evidence about the police search of Mrs Rayney’s car, which was found abandoned in Kershaw Street in Subiaco.

Snr Const Sheridan offered an insight into the world of fingerprint evidence, saying there were numerous factors that determined whether fingerprints could be recovered.

"There's a number of factors that can affect the lift of a fingerprint and how long it will last," he said.

"Firstly... someone has to be there to touch an item... they may have been wearing gloves, they could have cleaned the area... There's also the amount of matter: everyone's different, some people sweat more than others and... once you reach over the age of 40 you suffer from a thing... that reduces the quality of sweat on your fingers.

"The surface may be clean or smooth, which is a better surface to leave fingerprints on - if it's rough and dirty it's worse. There's the pressure you put on a surface... if you put too much pressure you'll actually destroy the fingerprint... then there's the environment... and then you have time. The longer the fingerprint's there the longer the chances that the fingerprint will be destroyed."

Photographs showing the interior of Mrs Rayney's car were tendered as evidence. The court heard Mrs Rayney's purse was found in the car, covered by a towel that prosecutor Mr Agius said in his opening address contained a hair matched to Mr Rayney.

Mr Agius also flagged the prosecution's intention to call a blood spatter expert, likely as early as tomorrow, to give evidence about blood found on the backseat of Mrs Rayney's car. The court has previously heard Mrs Rayney's injuries did not cause her to bleed but that there was evidence of a "purging" of bodily fluid, which may have come from her nostrils and mouth after she died.

Acting Sgt Forbes also gave evidence that the ashtray from Mrs Rayney’s car was missing when police found it. An ashtray was found and compared to Mrs Rayney’s car but did not match it.

Sgt Forbes said to his knowledge the missing ashtray was never found.

The trial will resume 10am tomorrow.