The mother of Lloyd Rayney has told a court the moment that police raided his home to arrest him on suspicion of the murder of his wife was a “source of intimidation and terrorism” for her and her son.
Molly Rayney was in the Como home on September 20, 2007 when police bashed in the back door as part of their ongoing hunt for the killer of Corryn Rayney, whose body had been found in Kings Park weeks earlier.
Publicly giving evidence about the moment today, the 77 year-old told of her terror at the minutes of banging and then eventual forced entry of police at the home.
“It was an awful banging … It was a source of intimidation and terrorism,” Mrs Rayney said.
“(Maybe) It is someone coming to attack, a mob – when you are frightened, you don’t look out.”
Police still claim that despite identifying themselves loudly and banging on the door for up to 10 minutes, Mr Rayney refused to open up on the day of the raid.
Hours later, after he had been arrested and then refused to answer questions in a brief interview with detectives, Operation Dargan lead detective Jack Lee named Mr Rayney as the prime and only suspect in the murder of his wife.
Almost 10 years later, he is suing the state for defamation.
Questioned today about why, if she thought the house was being attacked, her or her son did not call the police, Mrs Rayney said they were both too frightened to think straight.
“These thoughts don’t occur – you are concentrating on the banging and who is there,” Mrs Rayney said.
“When you are terrified you don’t have all your faculties with you.”
Following her evidence, Mrs Rayney was escorted away from court via a secure car park so as to avoid waiting media.
Earlier in the day, a bid by lawyers for Lloyd Rayney to suppress the identification of his sister Raelene Johnston because of her occupation as a magistrate has been denied by the Supreme Court judge running his defamation trial.
Ms Johnston is due to give evidence this week as part of the multi-million dollar claim by the former top prosecutor against the state over their identification of him as the prime and only suspect in the hunt for the killer of his wife Corryn.
Ahead of that evidence, an application had been made to keep secret some or all of Ms Johnston’s details from the public, on the basis that her giving evidence on behalf of her brother “may adversely impact on the ability of the witness to perform her functions as a magistrate”.
That application was supported by WA’s chief magistrate Steven Heath.
The West Australian and Seven West Media objected to the application to suppress Ms Johnston’s identity, partly on the basis that any disadvantage associated with the publication of information concerning Ms Johnston was part of the cost of living in a free and democratic society.
During Mr Rayney’s murder trial in 2012, Ms Johnston was openly identified as a lawyer, as Mr Rayney’s sister, and their relationship. A bid to have her identity suppressed at that trial was also denied.
Today, Justice John Chaney ruled that Ms Johnston’s identity should not be suppressed.
“While I am sympathetic to the witness’ concern that litigants before her should not be distracted by knowledge of her private life, I do not consider that the loss of privacy that inevitably flows from giving evidence in open court provides a basis to interfere with the public interest in open justice and a free press,” Justice Chaney said.
“In the absence of any serious impediment to the witness’ capacity to perform her function, the witness should not be treated any differently than other witnesses simply on the basis of her position and the fact that she is engaged in the administration of the law.”