A hearing for the accused Claremont serial killer has started in sensational circumstances with a woman yelling “evil dog” at him and details emerging of “extreme” pornography prosecutors want to present as evidence against him.
- The woman was removed from court by security after shouting at Bradley Edwards
- Justice Stephen Hall later agreed to view pornographic material raised by prosecutors
- It was also revealed police recorded a six-hour video interview with Mr Edwards
Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, is due to face a judge-alone trial in July accused of murdering Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, who all vanished from the Claremont entertainment strip in 1996 and 1997.
The directions hearing in the Supreme Court today was expected to see lawyers debate key pre-trial issues, including whether “propensity evidence” should be included as part of the case against Mr Edwards.
Instead, it began with a woman in the public gallery shouting abuse at him.
“Edwards evil dog. Burn in hell with Satan. You’re a dog Edwards, a dog,” the woman said.
The woman was removed from the Supreme Court by security, before state prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo requested Justice Stephen Hall to adjourn the directions hearing until Monday.
‘No words’ for porn material: prosecutor
Ms Barbagallo also revealed she wanted Justice Hall to view a video and a movie of pornography and BDSM which she was going to argue was relevant to the hearing.
She said “no words were capable of describing what is able to be seen” in the material, saying it was “not beige or vanilla”.
“‘We’re talking about pornography that is extreme. There is no description I can give … that adequately reflects what’s in the material,” Ms Barbagallo said.
“What’s depicted in there as to what is done, and how it’s done … we say impacts on what Your Honour has to determine.”
Defence barrister Paul Yovich SC opposed the submission, but Justice Hall decided he would view the material.
He acknowledged while there was an “inherent risk” in him seeing it because he was the trial judge, he would direct himself to disregard the material if he ruled it was inadmissible.
It was also revealed in court Mr Edwards had taken part in a six-hour video recorded interview with police, which Ms Barbagallo also submitted should be viewed by Justice Hall.
Ms Barbagallo said there was also “a prison call” which was part of recent material, as well as 20 other witness statements.
Other potential categories of evidence brought up at the hearing included “the Huntingdale Prowler”, “women’s clothing”, “Hollywood hospital” and “Telstra living witness”.
No further details were given.
Mr Edwards, who appeared in court wearing a blue shirt and tie and black trousers, was again remanded in custody until the hearing resumes on Monday.
Witnesses barred from hearing
Mr Yovich did not oppose the application for the hearing to be adjourned, saying the defence team did not want to have to deal with matters “on the run”.
He said he wanted to know “the factual grounds” of what prosecutors wanted to lead as evidence at the start, rather than part way through the hearing.
The court also heard the defence had taken issue “with some of the factual assertions” prosecutors had wanted to make at the directions hearing.
Mr Yovich requested an order that some witnesses, who are expected to be called at the trial in July, not be allowed in the court for the pretrial hearing.
He said there was a potential for their recollections to be affected if they were allowed to hear what was going to be said.
Justice Hall made the order, although exceptions were made for the families of Ms Spiers, Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon.
Accused denies all charges
Mr Edwards is also facing charges of attacking an 18-year-old woman in her own home in February 1988, and of abducting and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta Cemetery in February 1995.
The Karrakatta incident allegedly occurred 11 months before the disappearance of 18-year-old Ms Spiers, whose body has never been found.
Ms Rimmer’s body was discovered at Wellard south of Perth two months after she vanished in June 1996, while Ms Glennon’s body was found at Eglington, north of the city, about three weeks after she disappeared in March 1997.
Mr Edwards denies all the allegations against him.
State prosecutors want the trial to consider “propensity evidence” — that which is not directly related to the alleged crimes, but might show past conduct relevant to the case.
The directions hearing, which is scheduled to run for three days, was also expected to deal with the defence team’s application for two of the charges against Mr Edwards to be dealt with at a separate trial.
The climax of a marathon investigation
The nine-month trial will be the culmination of one of Australia’s longest running and most expensive murder investigations.
The inquiry included the setting up of a special police taskforce known as Macro, which was established on June 10, 1996, just days after Ms Rimmer’s disappearance.
Over the course of the past 22 years, the taskforce has involved hundreds of officers and investigated thousands of people.
Mr Edwards was arrested at his Kewdale home three days before Christmas in 2016 before being charged with the murders of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon, as well as the alleged attacks in 1988 and 1995.
He was subsequently charged with Ms Spiers’s murder in February, 2018.
Mr Edwards formally pleaded not guilty in July last year to all nine charges against him.
Topics: law-crime-and-justice, murder-and-manslaughter, courts-and-trials, perth-6000, wa, claremont-6010
Lawn Mowing Service