Lloyd Rayney's public arrest in the middle of the city three years after his wife's alleged murder was sparked by the police force's "untenable" position on a "looming" defamation action brought against them by the barrister, a defence lawyer suggested yesterday.
Det-Sen. Sgt Carlos Correia, the officer in charge of the Corryn Rayney murder investigation, rejected the suggestion amid a barrage of accusations from defence lawyer David Edwardson as he took the stand.
Among them were suggestions the police investigation into Mrs Rayney's death in August 2007 was conducted with "tunnel vision" and marred by a "symbolic", unnecessarily public arrest in 2010 motivated by Mr Rayney's defamation action.
Mr Rayney had been handcuffed on Barrack Street in December 2010 and made to stand in public view rather than being allowed to wait in a police vehicle.
Justice Brian Martin also grilled Det-Sen. Sgt Correia about the arrest, asking why it was necessary to handcuff Mr Rayney in the middle of the city.
Det-Sen. Sgt Correia said police sought to arrest him as soon as practicable after he dropped a daughter off and that Mr Rayney had a "propen- sity" to dispose of and hide material.
The Supreme Court wilful murder trial has been told Mr Rayney was named the "prime" and "only" suspect by the then-head of major crime during a news conference in September 2007 - more than three years before his arrest. He is suing police for defamation, claiming the move damaged his legal career.
Yesterday, Mr Edwardson suggested the "looming" defamation lawsuit had been the catalyst for the arrest and that the murder investigation had been skewed against his client.
"This investigation has been conducted from beginning to end with tunnel vision with only him in your sights," Mr Edwardson said.
"I totally disagree," Det-Sen. Sgt Correia said. "The objectivity was maintained all the way through this investigation."
The detective said the arrest came days after receiving long-awaited expert reports that were necessary for the prosecution.
Det-Sen. Sgt Correia agreed notes showed officers had considered covert surveillance of Mr Rayney within days of his wife's disappearance and "cemented" their view of him as a person of interest by late August.
But he denied police were solely looking at Mr Rayney as a possible culprit.