Judge Alone Trial For Claremont Serial Murders
The man accused of the Claremont serial killings will face a lengthy trial before a judge sitting without a jury and has fronted court in person for the first time as the fathers of two victims watched on.
Bradley Robert Edwards, 49, has pleaded not guilty to all charges including the murders of 23-year-old Jane Rimmer, 27-year-old Ciara Glennon and Sarah Spiers, 18, in 1996 and 1997.
Edwards has previously appeared in court via video link from jail, where he been since he was charged with the murders of Ms Glennon and Ms Rimmer in December 2016.
But when he appeared in person in the WA Supreme Court on Thursday, his prison greens were replaced with a collared shirt and striped blue tie.
Ms Spiers' father Don and Ms Glennon's father Denis have previously attended Edwards' court appearances and were again in the public gallery, this time seeing him in the dock.
Prosecutors applied for a judge-alone trial last month, which was expected considering the huge amount of media coverage about the case over the past 22 years.
Edwards, who was a Little Athletics coach and reportedly an electrical engineer, did not oppose the application.
"It is in the interests of justice to grant the state's application," Justice Michael Corboy said.
The judge said he would publish further reasons for his decision at a later date.
It is yet to be determined if Justice Corboy or another judge will preside over the trial.
"One judge, he or she, should see the matter through from beginning to end," prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo argued.
The trial judge will be determined by WA's Chief Justice Peter Quinlan, who Justice Corboy expects will make a quick decision.
Ms Barbagallo also revealed the prosecution intended to lead "propensity evidence", which involves evidence of similar conduct, tendencies, character or reputation of the accused person.
Whether that is admissible will be determined before the trial.
Trial dates, starting May 1, have been set aside but Edwards' lawyer Paul Yovich has indicated that may not be feasible.
The bodies of Ms Rimmer, a childcare worker, and Ms Glennon, a lawyer, were discovered in bushland weeks after they were killed, but the body of Ms Spiers, a secretary, has never been found.
All three women were last seen in the Claremont entertainment strip in Perth's affluent western suburbs after a night out.
Edwards, who was charged with Ms Spiers' murder in February, is also accused of attacking an 18-year-old woman in her Huntingdale home in 1988 and raping a 17-year-old girl in Karrakatta in 1995.