Lloyd Rayney – Accused of Loss

Of all the things in the world, the ones we love the most is our family. For Lloyd Rayney, his family was his wife, Corryn Rayney, and his two daughters. On the 7th of August, Corryn was ripped away from him, murdered, and Lloyd had been given the blame. Corryn’s murderer is still out there today. Corryn’s death has still not been brought to justice.

– Lloyd & Corryn Rayney

The steps we took in this assessment:

  • Choose and research a case

We had a choice of choosing a case to research on how the principles of justice were upheld, compromised, and making an over-all summary of the case. The 5 cases we could choose from were the Lloyd Rayney case, the Gene Gibson case, the Andrew Mallard case, the Mickelburgs case and the John Button case. I chose the Lloyd Rayney case.

  • Task One – Write notes on the case, including events, dates, summary etc.

After choosing our case, we had to research the case and create a summary and show how the principles of justice were upheld and compromised. The main principle that was upheld on ‘right to a fair trial’ and the main principles that were compromised were ‘presumption of innocene’ and ‘reliable evidence’.

  • Task Two – In-class essay, “With reference to a case you have studied, evaluate the extent to which justice has been upheld”. No notes. Hand in notes on the day

On the 5th of march, we had to write an in-class essay, considering the extent of how the principles of justice were upheld. We were not allowed to use the notes that we had made for task one, but we still had to hand in the notes that day.

  • Task Three – Edit essay when handed back, using teacher feedback

We then had to consider the feedback given by our teacher when they handed it back to us, and use that to improve our essay, rewriting it to make it, in Mr Basell’s words, more “zhizhed” and “shmick”.

  • Upload essay to ePortfolio

Now we have to create an ePortfolio page (this one), uploading the essay through that page, and send the link to our teachers.


The Essay:

The principles of justice are designed to give equal treatment to everyone before the law. Some of these include presumption of innocence so the accused still is thought of as innocent until they are proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and ‘right to a fair trial’ to keep make sure everyone is equal through their trial. Lloyd Rayney was the centre of one of the biggest cases in WA history, the murder of Corryn Rayney. Lloyd Rayney was not given all the rights to the principles of justice he is allowed. His wife was murdered, then he was accused of killing her. The public was convinced by the police that Lloyd Rayney killed his wife. Many things were unfair and corrupt (like presumption of innocence, tampering with evidence and public prejudice), but there were still a few principles of justice that were upheld. The main one was ‘right to a fair trial’. This principle is the biggest and most important principle of justice, as it ensures that no one is at disadvantage in trial, so it will be broken down into 3 main categories. 2 examples of compromised principles will also be included.

On the 7th of August 2007, Lloyd Rayney’s wife, Corryn Rayney, disappeared after her weekly boot scooting class. 9 days later, Corryn’s body was found buried in Kings Park. On the 17th police search around the site and found blood in Mrs Rayney’s car. On the 22nd, the police start searching the family property. A month later, Mr Rayney was accused “the prime and only suspect”. The Corryn Rayney murder case was all over the media, and anyone in Western Australia would be strongly against Mr Rayney. Early in the search, the police stated to the media that Mr Rayney was “the prime and only suspect”, and because of this, the public believed that Lloyd was indeed, the “prime and only” one that could have killed his wife. To avoid the trial being biased, no jury was given to judge the case, only an experienced judge.  If a jury were provided, they would have supported the police, and thrown Lloyd into prison for his wife’s murder.

Throughout the Corryn Rayney murder investigation, police used a deductive mindset, which is a method of reasoning of where the prosecution have a theory for the case, then find evidence to fit their theory. Most cases use the correct, unprejudiced way of reasoning, inductive reasoning, where the prosecution collects all the evidence, then form a theory that follows that evidence. This mindset was not used in the Corryn Rayney murder case. On September 20th, 2007, Lloyd was announced as the prime and only suspect, as they had found text messages and emails on Lloyd’s phone that went against him. This was very early in the case, and the police announced Lloyd Rayney was the prime and only suspect early in the case, so after that day, presumption of innocence was compromised. Presumption of innocence means that the accused is treated as if they are innocent before they are convicted guilty in court, which was not followed throughout the Corryn Rayney murder investigation.

‘The right to a fair trial’ is a principle of justice that ensures no one is given an unfair trial. An unfair trial may be unfair due to public prejudice, a biased jury and/or judge, tampered or fake evidence. This ensures nobody is wrongly called guilty or not guilty. As well as having only one judge hearing the trial, that judge was impartial. Brian Martin, from the Northern Territory, had not known Lloyd Rayney before the trial. Perth was a small legal community, and Lloyd, being a lawyer, knew a lot of the other lawyers and judges. To find a judge that had not known Lloyd before the trial, they had to bring an interstate judge in, or the judge might not be fully impartial.

In trial, the prosecution was struggling, so they decided to use fake evidence against Lloyd Rayney.  They said they had found liquidambar seeds in the hair of Corryn Rayney, which matched the seeds on the trees outside the Rayney’s house and had sediment which matched the Rayney’s bricks and soil. This was after the hair of the deceased had been searched by professional doctor, and the doctor had said he had not found any in his thorough search, and now these golf ball seeds had appeared in her hair. Later they also claimed that they had found a similar seed in the deceased’s body bag. The judge can only use evidence that is real, and not possibly contaminated or tampered with. Brian Martin, the judge, had not considered of this evidence as it was unreliable, and pure “fantasy”, believing the seeds had been planted. ‘Reliable evidence’ is a principle of justice that ensures that unreliable evidence can not be considered in court. Examples of unreliable evidence is possibly contaminated evidence and planted evidence. Brian Martin thought that the liquidambar seeds were unreliable as they were possibly planted, so he did not use the evidence.

Legal representation includes the accused having access to a solicitor’s advice of the nature of the criminal charge, the consequences of this charge if the accused is found guilty, and the strength of the evidence of the prosecution’s case, and knowing they have a right to the presumption of innocence. This also includes access to a barrister to represent the accused in court, and if they appear in court without legal representation, they are to be advised to seek legal representation. Lloyd Rayney had access to legal representation, as his barrister, Martin Bennett, represented him in court, and he had advice from a solicitor. The judge did not interfere in the trial or help either side present their case, so no one was at disadvantage due to legal representation.

So many principles of justice were compromised throughout Corryn Rayney’s murder investigation, but in court, Lloyd had a fair trial. No jury was involved in judging the trial, the judge that did judge the trial was interstate and unbiased, and the legal representation standards were met. The principles of justice are somewhat like laws, they keep people safe, but not from others, from a biased and unfair court. These principles are what Lloyd Rayney can thank for not letting the police wrongly put him in prison for his wife’s murder, a place no innocents should ever go.

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