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Rayney ordered to pay $14,000 court costs

Former Perth barrister argues he has 'no means' to cover Commonwealth's legal bill.

CHRIS THOMSON

Onetime Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney was today ordered to pay almost $14,000 in court costs relating to phone tapping charges of which he was recently acquitted.

Mr Rayney had tried to get the Commonwealth legal action permanently stopped by asserting that negative publicity about him meant he could not get a fair trial by jury.

A jury had to be empanelled for the case, because the two phone tapping charges were laid under Commonwealth law, which does not permit trial by judge only.

Earlier this month, Mr Rayney was found not guilty of the charges which related to alleged events before the 2007 death of his wife, Corryn – who Mr Rayney was found not guilty of murdering in 2012.

Commonwealth prosecutors had alleged the Rayneys were undergoing a bitter separation and that he wanted to learn what she was saying about him.

In March, Supreme Court judge John Chaney dismissed Mr Rayney’s appeal of the District Court decision not to grant him a permanent stay on the phone tapping charges, of which he was found not guilty last month.

But today, in response to an application by the Commwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Chaney ordered Mr Rayney to pay $13,957.97 – the amount charged by a Senior Counsel who appeared for the Commonwealth at the hearing of the Supreme Court appeal application.

Justice Chaney noted the appeal arose “in a context where a right of appeal in relation to the decision to refuse a permanent stay of proceeding would have been available after trial in the event of conviction”.

“Rather than wait to avail himself of that opportunity if the need arose, [Mr Rayney] chose to make the application in this court’s civil jurisdiction to undertake judicial review,” Justice Chaney continued.

“The application was made … in an attempt to circumvent the statutory regime applicable to interlocutory decisions made in criminal proceedings.

“That choice carried with it the risk of an adverse costs order.”

Counsel for Mr Rayney submitted that all legal work on the District Court phone tap proceedings, and for the Supreme Court appeal, was done either on modest grants of legal aid or on a pro bono basis, and that Mr Rayney did not have the means to meet a costs order.

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