The West

Call for independent Rayney murder probe
Corryn Rayney

A forensic expert who worked on Lloyd Rayney's defence team has called for an independent investigation into the murder of the barrister's estranged wife Corryn.

Mr Rayney was on Thursday acquitted of killing his wife in 2007, ending his five-year ordeal to prove his innocence and renewing speculation as to who committed the murder.

The conduct of police investigating the case was criticised by presiding judge Brian Martin.

He said their behaviour “ranged from inappropriate to reprehensible“, although he believed there was nothing to suggest the probe was not thorough.

Police will not comment on the case for the next three weeks while the prosecution considers whether to appeal.

Robin Napper told ABC radio today that it was crucial an independent team of investigators re-examined the case.

“We are almost desperate to get an independent team in from outside the state, (to) take all the information. This can be solved,” Mr Napper said.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Jonathan Davies called for an inquiry into how West Australian police handled high-profile murders “so we can start to learn where we're going wrong”.

Mr Davies said the police had fixated on Mr Rayney, but acknowledged “they've got an awful job to do” with murder investigations, where there was public pressure to come up with a suspect.

Other lines of inquiry may have emerged if the police had taken a broader approach, he said.

Mr Davies reiterated his call for forensic teams to be made a government service that functioned separately from police but liaised with them, as in the UK.

“They look objectively at the crime scene and they take the tests they want to test,” he told ABC radio.

“Here, it seems the forensic testing is done by trained police officers who are under ... a case officer and he tells them where he wants to look.

“It may well be that that case officer has already formed a view of where he thinks evidence will be found that will implicate the accused.”

Mr Davies said the case against Mr Rayney was “weak and circumstantial”.

The Law Society of WA on Thursday said the verdict had shown that the right of citizens to a presumption of innocence and a fair trial was fundamental to the maintenance of the rule of law.


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