SHARON EDWARDS: Defence questions quality of evidence
THE LAWFULNESS of some evidence and the credibility of some witnesses in the trial of the man charged with the murder of missing Grafton school teacher Sharon Edwards has been called into question.
In Grafton Local Court yesterday Magistrate Karen Stafford ordered four witnesses to be called at a committal hearing on October 16 in Grafton to determine if John Wallace Edwards, 61, should stand trial for the murder of his estranged wife in March 2015.
Another witness, who was unavailable for the October date, may be called at a later date.
The magistrate said she could not accept written evidence because there were significant weaknesses in the evidence of the five witnesses the Crown relied on in its circumstantial case of murder against Edwards.
The magistrate was concerned with discrepancies in the evidence of a witness who was legally wiretapped when he spoke with Edwards.
The defence claimed this witness had misrepresented himself as a counsellor when he spoke with Edwards.
The defence said there were inconsistencies between the listening device transcript and the witness's statement to police regarding the relationship between the witness and the accused.
He said there were concerns of unlawfulness if this relationship between Edwards and the witness had been misrepresented.
The magistrate also agreed the discrepancy between the number of interviews recorded and the number of interviews which Edwards claimed to have taken place, needed further examination in the witness box.
Because of these discrepancies both the witness and the officer leading the investigation, Detective Senior Constable Doug Scott, would be called at the hearing.
Magistrate Stafford said elements of the evidence in chief of three expert witnesses also needed to be heard orally and cross-examined.
She was worried the qualifications and experience of two radiographers who examined Edwards did not qualify them to be expert witnesses.
Ms Stafford said the two witnesses had not sufficiently demonstrated how their training and experience had led them to reach the conclusions they had after examining Edwards.
She had similar concerns about the evidence of a doctor, called as a fractures expert, and wanted elements of his evidence to be further scrutinised.
The magistrate was critical of the way the evidence was presented in yesterday's hearing.
She said if the Crown had been able to present the evidence in a more consistent manner, rather than "dribs and drabs through the day" the oral presentations would not be necessary.