The judge in the Claremont serial killings case has flagged the possibility of more pre-trial hearings ahead of the July 22 start date.
During a case management hearing this morning, Justice Stephen Hall raised the possibility of additional pre-trial hearings, focusing on possible objections to material contained in the hundreds of witness statements.
The vast size of the trial was again illustrated with the revelation that nearly 600 witnesses could be called for the prosecution.
The court heard this morning that those witnesses will include a string of taxi drivers, who were investigated at the time because of speculation the killer could have been driving a cab.
It has since emerged that the allegations will revolve around the work vehicle of Mr Edwards, who was employed by Telstra in the mid 90s.
The father of Ciara Glennon was again in court to hear the rulings this morning.
He, along with many other onlookers, were told when the trial begins in July, it was likely to open with evidence relating to the background of Mr Edwards, who it had already been revealed was twice married – once at the time of the killings.
It will then likely proceed in chronological order, the court was told, meaning the alleged offence in Huntingdale – which involved an attack on a teenager in her bedroom at her house – will be the first major part. It will then go on look at the alleged rape in Karrakatta before looking at the three murders.
It is more than 23 years since Ms Spiers vanished from Claremont on Australia Day 1996 — the beginning of the longest running and most expensive in murder investigation in Australia.
And it has been more than two years since Mr Edwards, a long-time Telstra worker and little athletics volunteer, was arrested and charged with two of the murders which have haunted Perth for decades.
It is alleged Mr Edwards first murdered Ms Spiers, after she had celebrated Australia Day in 1996 at Cottesloe’s Ocean Beach Hotel and then Club Bay View. Her body has never been found.
He is accused of then killing Ms Rimmer, a 23-year-old childcare worker, who went missing from Claremont in the early hours of June 9, 1996.
Ms Rimmer’s body was found in bush in Wellard on August 3, 1996.
It is alleged Mr Edwards then abducted Ms Glennon, a 27-year-old lawyer, after she had visited Claremont’s Continental Hotel on March 14, 1997.
Her body was found in bush in Eglinton 20 days later.
Mr Edwards has denied all the charges against him. He only spoke today to confirm he could hear the court via a video link from Casuarina prison.
He was moved there after an apparent self-harm incident – where authorities believe he stabbed himself in the ear with a pencil – on the scheduled first morning of the pre-trial directions hearing last month.
He will appear in court again next month.