PROSECUTORS in the Claremont serial killings case have again been admonished by a Supreme Court of WA judge for raising matters late as the lengthy trial approaches.
At a directions hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors made an application to suppress a witness’s name, which Justice Stephen Hall begrudgingly granted, saying it was “frankly annoying”.
He noted the name of the witness had been mentioned at least 35 times at a June hearing and the need for a suppression “should have been anticipated before now”.
“I would ask the state give careful consideration of what is to come,” Justice Hall said.
“We don’t want to be trying to close the door after the horse has bolted.”
The state sought to suppress the identity of the former partner of Bradley Robert Edwards’ first wife – who she left the alleged rapist and murderer for – to protect the identity of their daughter.
The man and ex-wife form a large part of the prosecution’s “emotional upset” argument, which links turmoil in the accused’s private life with the timeline of offences.
Justice Hall’s latest reprimand comes four days after he reminded prosecutors he had drawn “a line in the sand” regarding new evidence, which will now only be allowed with his approval after a formal application.
He made the comment after future applications were flagged, warning they may not be granted if they came too late.
Edwards’ nine-month trial was put off in June – the month before it was due to start – because prosecutors had not yet provided full disclosure.
Edwards, 50, is charged with murdering Ciara Glennon, 27, Jane Rimmer, 23, and 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, who were all last seen in the affluent Claremont area between 1996 and 1997.
The bodies of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer were found in bushland at opposite ends of Perth but Ms Spiers has never been found.
Edwards 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.
Edwards appeared in court via videolink from the maximum-security Casuarina Prison on Tuesday but must appear in person at a pre-trial hearing in October, when objections by his defence team will be thrashed out.
The “emotional upset” evidence is one of two key areas of contention.
The other relates to Edwards’ conviction for an attack on a social worker at Hollywood Hospital in 1990.
While working for Telstra as a technician, he grabbed the woman from behind, covered her mouth and attempted to drag her into nearby toilets, but she managed to break free.
Edwards was sentenced to two years’ probation for common assault for that offence and kept his job.