PERTH barrister Lloyd Rayney has told his multimillion dollar defamation trial his wife made a “terrible insinuation” about him so he recorded conversations on a dictaphone to get her to deny it before she was murdered.
Mr Rayney is suing the West Australian government for being named by Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Lee in September 2007 as the prime and only suspect in the murder of Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney one month earlier.
During his third day on the witness stand, Mr Rayney was questioned about recordings he made on a dictaphone with his wife before her death.
Mr Rayney said she had made a “terrible insinuation” about him and he wanted her to deny it in a recording.
But he described his actions as “amateurish and wholly unsuccessful”.
“The purpose behind it was ultimately to get the acknowledgement or the denial,” he said on Thursday.
In their conversations, Ms Rayney took the lead and set the tone, while he was placid, he said.
“If she was in a good mood she would give me the acknowledgement I needed. I just needed one sentence,” he said.
“Corryn could be unhappy but then she could also calm down and say what I wanted her to say.”
Some of the recordings, which also included their two daughters, were played in court but the audio was often unclear due to rustling sounds.
Mr Rayney could not explain the rustling, insisting the dictaphone was not concealed and he had told his wife there would be a “record”.
“I did not record from my pocket,” he said.
The court heard Mr Rayney disposed of the dictaphone around the time of his wife’s death.
Ms Rayney’s body was found buried head-first at Kings Park in August 2007, about 10 days after she was last seen at a bootscooting class.
After Mr Rayney was named the only suspect in his wife’s murder, he was not charged for another three years.
He was found not guilty of murdering the mother-of-two in 2012 and a subsequent appeal was also dismissed in 2013.