DEFENCE lawyers for Claremont serial killings accused Bradley Robert Edwards have raised objections to evidence gathered by the prosecution and more are arising as both teams scramble to prepare for the forthcoming trial.
A key area of contention relates to “emotional turmoil or upset” in Edwards’ personal life that the prosecution says correlates to the chronology of offences.
Another concerns evidence about Hollywood Hospital where, while working for Telstra in 1990, he attacked a social worker from behind, covered her mouth and attempted to drag her into nearby toilets.
Edwards was sentenced to two years probation for common assault and there is contention surrounding information in pre-sentence reports.
These matters are yet to be resolved, so at a criminal case conference in the Supreme Court of WA on Friday, a two-day hearing was tentatively scheduled for October 21 and 22 – less than four weeks before the murder trial is set to start.
Justice Stephen Hall, who will hear the nine-month trial without a jury, initially planned to push through most of the Christmas break but now concedes that could prove difficult, especially for witnesses.
The trial will now break for a fortnight, resuming on January 6, but legal argument may be heard during that period.
Also on Friday, Justice Hall published rulings on 14 objections, 13 of which relate to the statements of various prosecution witnesses or parts of those statements.
Some were deemed irrelevant, inadmissible or of little probative value, while others need more consideration.
Notably, Justice Hall ruled evidence from a former colleague of Edwards, who said he knew the accused had worked at Claremont Superdome in the 1990s, “could not be said to be irrelevant”.
The court previously heard this was significant because, during an interview with police, Edwards denied that he had anything to do with the Claremont area until after 2009.
Edwards, 50, is charged with murdering Ciara Glennon, 27, Jane Rimmer, 23, and 18-year-old Sarah Spiers, who were all last seen in Claremont between 1996 and 1997.
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.
Edwards appeared in court on Friday via videolink from the maximum-security Casuarina Prison but must appear at the hearing in October in person.