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Former Island prosecutor could face retrial in Australia over estranged wife’s murder

A former Bermuda prosecutor may face a retrial in Australia over the alleged murder of his estranged wife.

Lloyd Rayney lived on the Island with wife Corryn Rayney when he worked as a Senior Crown counsel for the Department of Public Prosecutions in 2003 and 2004.

The pair, who have two daughters, later moved to Perth where Mr Rayney continued to work as a high-profile prosecutor.

Mrs Rayney, who worked as a Supreme Court Registrar in Western Australia, went missing after attending a line-dancing class on August 7, 2007.

Her body was found in a grave in a Perth park nine days later. Mr Rayney was arrested in Perth city centre in December 2010 and charged with the killing.

During a 12-week trial last year, prosecutors accused him of murdering his wife at their home on August 7, 2007, and burying her in the park.

He was found not guilty on November 1 2012.

Because of the estranged couple's close ties to the legal community, the trial was prosecuted by a team from New South Wales, and heard by former Northern Territory Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Martin.

Mr Justice Martin found that while some evidence raised a "strong suspicion" against Mr Rayney, the prosecution case was not proved beyond reasonable doubt and contained "critical gaps". He also said in his judgment that Mr Rayney had engaged in “discreditable conduct’’ by lying to a magistrate, swearing a false affidavit and arranging a phone tap to monitor his wife’s calls.

However, the judge ruled that Mrs Rayney was a victim of a random attack outside her home and was buried headfirst in a grave at Kings Park in Perth before her car was dumped nearby.

It was later reported that prosecutors have launched an appeal against the acquittal.

The West Australian newspaper reported that a panel of three judges will be appointed to hear the appeal.

“Attorney-General Michael Mischin has confirmed that Victoria Court of Appeal Justice Mark Weinberg has been seconded to deal with the preliminary stages of the appeal process,” said newspaper.

“But a decision is yet to be made on whether the other two judges required to determine the appeal will be appointed from within the existing Supreme Court of Western Australia bench or from other jurisdictions. The hearing is expected to run for two or three days and has not been listed by the court, but it could be held as early as May.”

Mr Rayney recently gave an undertaking that he would stop engaging in legal practice, according to a December 19 statement from the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia.

Lloyd Rayney

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Published January 11, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm)

Former Island prosecutor could face retrial in Australia over estranged wife’s murder

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