Judge rules no porn in Claremont serial killings trial evidence

The Claremont serial killings trial could be delayed due to new evidence.
The Claremont serial killings trial could be delayed due to new evidence.

A JUDGE has ruled violent pornography and stories found on the computer of Bradley Robert Edwards will not be used as evidence during a trial in relation to the Claremont serial killings, which is due to begin on July 22.

Mr Edwards is accused of murdering Sarah Spiers, Ciara Glennon and Jane Rimmer in 1996 and 1997.

All three women were last seen in the Perth suburb of Claremont.

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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.

Justice Stephen Hall also ruled all the charges should be heard in one trial rather than separating one of the earlier attacks.

Mr Edwards appeared in the West Australian Supreme Court on Wednesday via video link from Casuarina prison.

The court heard 580 witnesses were expected to give evidence during the trial, which is expected to last nine months.

Justice Stephen Hall also handed down his judgment following a pre-trial hearing last month about the admissibility of propensity evidence and an application by defence counsel Paul Yovich to run a separate trial for the Huntingdale offences.

In handing down his ruling, Justice Hall said all charges should be heard in one trial but Mr Yovich has seven days to appeal the decision.

Justice Hall said the “Huntingdale prowler evidence”, about a man breaking into homes and stealing women’s garments from clotheslines, would only be admissible for the alleged aggravated burglary and deprivation of liberty offences in Huntingdale.

However, the Huntingdale attack evidence will be admissible for all charges.

The “Telstra living witness” evidence, about a man driving a Telstra vehicle picking up women in the Claremont area between 1995 and 1997,
will only be admissible for the murders and cemetery offences.

Edwards’ conviction for attacking a woman at Hollywood Hospital in 1990 and evidence regarding the alleged cemetery rape were deemed relevant to the entire case.

But graphic pornography found on Edwards’ devices, which included “extreme” BDSM porn and “violent and erotic stories” detailing the abduction and rape of women, were ruled inadmissible.

“The pornography evidence does not meet the test of relevance,” Justice Hall said.

“It is not evidence which could rationally affect the question of whether the accused is the offender in respect of any of the counts in the indictment.”

Justice Hall will preside in the judge-only trial.