The trial of a man alleged to have murdered businessman Peter John Davis, whose body was found in a boot outside a Rivervale motel, could be delayed after police charged a relative of the accused over the death.
Xavier Gerard Clarke, 46, of Hamilton Hill appeared in Perth Magistrate’s Court today facing one count of murder. The charge, which was read to Mr Clarke, alleges that he murdered Mr Davis some time between May 30 and May 31, 2011, at Malaga.
Ambrose John Clarke was charged with Mr Davis’ murder in May 2011 and was set to stand trial on May 27.
Police allege Mr Davis was lured to Malaga where he was confronted about money allegedly owed from a business agreement.
During a case management conference yesterday, the Supreme Court heard Ambrose Clarke’s 10-week trial date may have to be pushed back because of the second accused.
The court was told the two accused men are from the same family.
Justice Lindy Jenkins assumed if Xavier Clarke pleaded not guilty there would likely be a joint trial.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo said the State was ready to proceed against Xavier Clarke.
However, Ambrose Clarke’s defence team indicated a September start date might be more suitable for the trial.
Justice Jenkins said although the prosecution was still keen to start in May it needed to be realistic about a delay. She said if a trial started in May, Xavier Clarke would have limited time to organise lawyers and prepare a defence if he pleaded not guilty.
Ms Barbagallo told the court that in Xavier Clarke’s record of interview with police he denied meeting Mr Davis and exercised his right to silence when asked if he was involved in the murder and about DNA evidence that allegedly implicated him.
Xavier Clarke was remanded in custody to appear in the Stirling Gardens Magistrate’s Court on February 27.
Justice Jenkins adjourned Ambrose Clarke’s case for a status conference on March 7, when a trial date will be confirmed. Ambrose Clarke is on bail.