A drugs case against Stephen Ramon Cookson, whose head was found in a bag washed up at Rottnest, has been formally discontinued while his two alleged co-offenders face trial in June.
Loriana Crews and Lejla Tresnjo, who are facing charges of possessing methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply, today had their District Court trial date moved from April to June, with a prosecutor saying the case was now expected to last 14 days starting on June 4.
The pair had been alleged co-offenders of Cookson but the prosecution today filed a notice of discontinuance against the deceased man.
Defence lawyer Linda Black, representing Ms Tresnjo, foreshadowed that issues would arise regarding evidence in the case as a result of Cookson's death - specifically conversations between Cookson and others to which her client had not been a party.
A two-day directions hearing was listed for March ahead of the trial.
Chief Judge Peter Martino earlier this month refused a bid to suppress the women's names, noting there had been significant publicity about Cookson and there was a strong public interest in the circumstances of his death, which involved his head in a bag being discovered at Rottnest.
While Judge Martino had recognised there had also been extensive coverage about Cookson’s involvement in criminal activity, Cookson’s name would inevitably be referred to in the women’s trial and the judge in that hearing would need to consider giving an appropriate direction that jurors should disregard any matters which did not arise during the trial.
Ms Tresnjo and Ms Crews, who are fighting the allegations against them, were not required to appear at today's proceedings.