Sofia trial video in doubt

A police video interview with Dante Wyndham Arthurs, who is soon to face charges of raping and strangling eight-year-old Perth Catholic schoolgirl Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia, could be thrown out of court owing to alleged questionable police tactics.

The Australian says it believes that Arthurs' lawyers, plan to argue in court that the police record-of-interview video is inadmissible and should not be shown to a jury because they say police did not provide Mr Arthurs access to a lawyer, despite him asking for one at the beginning of the interview.

West Australian Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock declined to comment on the matter yesterday.

But The Australian says it understands that while the police case against Mr Arthurs could be weakened if the video is deemed inadmissible, the forensic evidence to be presented to court is believed to be strong.

Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia Shu's murder stunned the close-knit Perth Catholic community and received significant national coverage.

Her body was found in a disabled toilet cubicle, just minutes after she went to go to the toilet in the busy suburban centre on a Monday afternoon, in June last year.

Mater Christi Primary School principal Greg Stinton declined to comment on behalf of Sofia's family.

He said construction had begun on a chapel being built in Sofia's honour.

While the chapel would not be finished in time to commemorate the first anniversary of Sofia's death on 26 June, a memorial would be held in conjunction with the family, he said.


SOURCE
Kill-accused video in question (The Australian, 17/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Mater Christi school, Yangebup
Sofia Memorial Website

ARCHIVE
Sofia's parents thank God for sharing "angel" (CathNews, 4/7/06)
Sofia's family ask for prayers (CathNews, 28/6/06)

18 May 2007