Rayney has hired Bret Walker SC from Fifth Floor St James’ Hall Chambers to represent him in the three-day appeal hearing, which began today (6 August). David Jackson AM QC from Seven Wentworth Chambers will act for the State, which is seeking a retrial of the case that found Rayney not guilty of the wilful murder or manslaughter of his wife, Corryn, in November.
Both barristers were named ‘star individuals’ by Chambers and Partners in March for attracting “exceptional recommendations in their field”.
Justices Mark Weinberg, Anthony Whealy and Terence Buddin will hear the appeal over the next three days in Perth’s Supreme Court (pictured).
Weinberg has been a serving member of the Court of Appeal in Victoria since 2008, following 10 years as a Federal Court judge; Whealy was appointed to the Supreme Court of NSW in 2000 and then moved to the NSW Court of Appeal for his final year before retirement, and Buddin was appointed to the Supreme Court of NSW in 2002 where he stayed until his retirement last year.
In November, Lawyers Weekly reported that legal experts had claimed that the grounds of the WA Government’s appeal were shaky.
Even if Rayney is cleared at the conclusion of the appeal hearing, he could still be struck off the roll as WA’s legal services regulator examines the original murder trial judgment, which stated Rayney “engaged in discreditable conduct”.
A separate defamation case launched by Rayney against the State of WA also hangs on the outcome of the acquittal appeal. The lawsuit has been put on hold until the appeal is dealt with by the courts.
In addition to compensation for distress and anxiety, Rayney is seeking aggravated damages for loss of revenue, loss of expected future earnings and loss of the opportunity to be appointed senior counsel, which could cost the WA government millions of dollars.