Claremont serial killings trial delayed

Bradley Robert Edwards via the Central Crocs Football Club newsletter 2009
Bradley Robert Edwards via the Central Crocs Football Club newsletter 2009

DEFENCE lawyers for the man accused of the Claremont serial killings in Perth have successfully applied to have the highly anticipated trial delayed so they have more time to prepare.

The nine-month, judge-alone trial of former Telstra worker Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, who is accused of killing three women in 1996 and 1997, was scheduled to begin on July 22.

But it emerged at a monthly criminal case management hearing in the West Australian Supreme Court in April that new evidence – clothing obtained from a Telstra worker from the 1990s – had been added to the prosecution case and was potentially significant.

Police continue their forensic investigation at the Kewdale home of Bradley Robert Edwards. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

 

Defence counsel Paul Yovich said at the time his fibre expert would need about eight-to-12 weeks to review the final analytical report.

On Thursday, the court heard the prosecution had not yet provided full disclosure of evidence and Mr Yovich applied to have the trial delayed until November 18.

“The state has had two-and-a-half years to gather, collate and disclose exhibits,” he said.

“It continues to do so.”

Mr Yovich said it was necessary to ensure accused weren’t waiting indefinitely for the outcome of their cases, but it was the interest of the administration of justice that the defence had enough time to properly prepare its case.

“The defence in any trial is entitled to be ready.”

He noted the adjournment meant hundreds of witnesses would have to rearrange their affairs.

“None of us want it to start any later than it has to,” Mr Yovich said.

Former Telstra worker Bradley Robert Edwards.

Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo conceded an adjournment was necessary.

Justice Stephen Hall said he was not happy about the need to delay the trial but it would be unfair to the accused to proceed next month.

He noted Edwards who had been in custody since December 2016, which was significantly longer than usual.

Justice Hall drew “a line in the sand” about the introduction of new evidence.

The prosecution has until July 30 to complete its disclosure and after that date, it must apply to have fresh evidence included, which would have to be able to be accommodated within the stipulated timeframe.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Justice Hall said.

“This man must be brought to trial.”

Police at the home of Bradley Robert Edwards. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Ms Barbagallo had earlier noted the trial preparations “could go on ad infinitum”.

Edwards is charged with murdering Ciara Glennon, 27, Jane Rimmer, 23, and 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, who were all last seen in Claremont.

He is also accused of attacking an 18-year-old woman at her Huntingdale home in 1988 and twice raping a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta cemetery in 1995.