GRAPHIC and disturbing images of two of the Claremont serial killer’s victims may be shown at the accused man’s trial, court documents have revealed.
WA Supreme Court Justice Michael Corboy last year ruled the nine-month trial of Bradley Robert Edwards, 50, would be heard by a judge alone, not a jury, and his full reasons were published on Tuesday.
The murders, which happened in 1996 and 1997, had generated a huge amount of publicity and there was a real and substantial doubt that any direction given to a jury by a judge could overcome the “lingering prejudice”, Justice Corboy said.
He also noted the state had flagged plans to submit video and photos of the bodies of Ciara Glennon, 27, and 23-year-old Jane Rimmer, both in the bushland where they were found and during post-mortem examinations.
Justice Corboy said such material was not necessary for most homicide trials but the state had identified grounds upon which it contended the images would be relevant.
“I accept that the characterisation of the material as ‘particularly graphic and disturbing’ and ‘so upsetting to some jurors that they may be unable to objectively consider the relevance and significance of (what) these exhibits depict’ is accurate,” he said.
The first victim, 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, has never been found.
The trial will include highly complex fibre and DNA evidence, which the jury may understand, but attributing appropriate weight to that evidence in an otherwise circumstantial case and drawing inferences from it would add a further layer of complexity, Justice Corboy said.
The trial of Edwards, who is also accused of attacking an 18-year-old woman at her home in 1988 and twice raping a 17-year-old girl at a cemetery in 1995, is scheduled to begin on July 22.
But the court heard last week it may be pushed back because significant new fibre evidence has emerged and the defence expert needs time to finalise his report.