Claremont serial killer ‘trial of the century’ could blow out to $100 million
Perth lawyer, Tom Percy SC, said the proceedings, expected to begin later this year, would be “up there with anything that we’ve ever seen”.
“I think the Rayney case was at least its equal, but that didn’t have the chance to ferment in the public domain as this one has over 20-odd years,” he said.
“This is in fact three cases running together, three separate murder allegations which all have to be compartmentalised and dealt with separately.
“I can’t imagine there would be much change out of $100 million.”
Mr Edwards will spend around 1000 hours sitting in the court room, separated from the public gallery by a pane of glass.
The family of the three murder victims, Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, will have access to the unused jury room during breaks in the trial.
The ten allocated media seats inside the court will not be enough to meet the level of public interest in the case, with a separate room expected to be set up for some journalists to watch the proceedings through a live stream.
More than 550 prosecution witnesses are expected to be called throughout the trial.
It’s estimated it costs around $13,500 a day to run a criminal court room, and the additional services required for the media sitting in on the case is estimated to cost an additional $800 a day, meaning the logistics of the trial alone will cost around $2.5 million.
Mr Percy said it was important to get the mammoth trial right.
“I think the important thing from the community’s perspective if it’s done exactingly, it’s done carefully, and no corners have been cut, because we all want to say at the end of the day that we’re confident that the correct result was achieved,” he said.
Mr Edwards’ legal bill for his defence will be footed by tax payers through Legal Aid.
His lead defence lawyer, Paul Yovich SC, is understood to be demanding just a quarter of his usual $5000 a day rate, to represent him.
More than $3.3 million has already been allocated to the prosecution before the trial has begun.
Lead prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo SC previously flagged the trial involves more than one million pages of evidence and will require its own electronic database.
The trial is scheduled to start on July 22, but that date will likely be pushed back after the state introduced potential new evidence in April, which needs to be reviewed by the defence.
Mr Edwards has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, including the murders of three women between 1996 and 1997, a sexual assault in 1995 and a sex attack in 1988.
Heather McNeill covers breaking news with a focus on crime, courts and Aboriginal affairs for WAtoday.