Packed court for verdict
Packed court for verdict

Update: There is little more than standing room in one of Perth's biggest courtrooms today as Supreme Court Justice Brian Martin gets ready to delivers his verdict in the Lloyd Rayney murder trial.

In his summary ahead of the verdict the judge said there was “unacceptable conduct” by some police but there is no evidence lines of inquiry were not properly investigated.

He said Mrs Rayney did not die of natural causes, rather she suffered a “violent assault” that rendered her unconscious but did not kill her. Justice Martin said he believed Ms Rayney took her last breaths near her grave site and may have been alive when she was buried.

He said he is satisfied Corryn Rayney arrived home on the night she died.

Mr Rayney’s demeanour after wife's death did not necessarily reflect the behaviour of a guilty man, the judge said.

He said Mr Rayney would have had time to walk home to Como on the night his wife died.

Justice Martin said he was satisfied Mrs Rayney was attacked at home but there was "no evidence" to implicate Mr Rayney in the attack.

"There is evidence that raises the possibility of a sexually motivated attack on Mrs Rayney," he said.

Media gathered in big numbers outside the WA District Court ahead of the verdict.

Up to 50 journalists and cameramen are standing on and around the courthouse steps.

Major Crime detectives arrived at court today wearing their controversial matching Operation Dargan ties.

Mr Rayney arrived at court saying he was grateful for the support he had received.

He told the media "of course" he is innocent.

Flanked by daughter Sarah, Mr Rayney appeared calm as he arrived at court to learn his fate.

Outside the court Mr Rayney described himself as relaxed. Responding to a question from a big media contingent he said: "Of course I'm innocent."

A member of the public yelled at Mr Rayney as he arrived “all the best Lloyd you’ll get off easy” and he replied “cheers thanks for that”.

One of the reporters asked Mr Rayney if he thought he’d be talking outside after the verdict and he said “yes I do think I’ll be out talking to you”.

He was then asked what the public support had been like during the trial.

"Really good actually, I think people have been listening to the trial and hearing what happened and what didn’t happen, they have become very supportive,” he said.

His other daughter Caitlyn is studying overseas and has not returned to hear the verdict in her father's willful murder trial.

After more than five years of mystery surrounding the death and burial of Corryn Rayney, Justice Martin will either convict the 44-year-old's estranged husband of killing her after an evening dance class on August 7, 2007, or clear Mr Rayney's name after years of being labelled the "prime" and "only" suspect.

There has been much conjecture about today's verdict - with those in legal circles and the general community speculating on the outcome: guilty of wilful murder, guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter or acquitted of both.

Justice Martin, who heard the trial without a jury, faces a packed room as he delivers Mr Rayney's fate after the three-month trial.

Mr and Mrs Rayney's relatives, who were divided by the tragedy, are among those in the gallery after hearing 12 weeks of testimony.

But, day after day, community members also flocked to the trial and at times spilt out of the courtroom as key witnesses testified or the lawyers gave summaries.

The crowds are reminiscent of a time when trials were heavily attended. Courts have stressed the importance of people being informed about the legal system so justice is open and accountable.

For some, links to one of the Rayneys brought them to the trial. For others, it was a chance to see the legal process in action.

And for many it was to try to understand how a professional couple in the midst of a marital breakdown could become engulfed in the most extreme allegations.

Julie Lynch and Carlos Da Costa, a retired commercial pilot, said they attended the open-court trial almost daily.

Ms Lynch started watching because a relative had a link to Mrs Rayney but she became absorbed in the "human interest and psychology" involved.

She and Mr Da Costa suggested there was a difference between interest and "entertainment", saying the case was an important education about how the legal system worked.

One spectator, a professional woman who asked not to be identified, said people were drawn to the case because it centred on "ordinary" professional people living "ordinary" lives like their own, "yet it is the stuff of Hollywood".

Her friend believed some people initially saw the trial as entertainment but were soon met with the grave reality.

"You only have to spend a day or two in there to see it is serious, it is a tragedy," she said.

If convicted, Mr Rayney faces life in jail with at least 15 years before parole. Each side will have 21 days to consider an appeal.

The West Australian

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