Computers and other electronic equipment seized from Erin Patterson’s home will be relied upon by the prosecution, a court has heard.
After a night in the police cells, Patterson appeared in the LaTrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Friday where she heard she will be kept behind bars until at least May next year.
Patterson, 48, was arrested at her home in Leongatha, eastern Victoria, and charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder on Thursday.
The court heard much of the case will centre on the alleged killer’s computer data, with specialised dogs used in a search on her property this week.
Erin Patterson appeared in court on Friday for the first time after being charged with murder and attempted murder
Patterson made no attempt at bail, with Magistrate Tim Walsh telling the alleged killer he had no power to grant it even if she had applied.
Her lawyer, Bill Doogue, approached his client shortly before the hearing began to explain her immediate fate.
The experienced lawyer is expected to make an application for bail over the coming weeks.
Patterson appeared disheveled as she appeared in court for the very first time.
Dressed in a beige jumper and wearing tortoise shell coloured glasses, Patterson’s hair appeared matted and untidy as she sat behind bullet proof glass in the prison dock.
Flanked by two burly guards, who wore bulletproof vests and protective glasses, Patterson looked uneasy as she watched the short filing hearing.
Patterson spoke quietly when address by the magistrate, nodding and forcing an uncomfortable smile.
Homicide squad detectives asked the court for a whopping 20 weeks to compile their brief of evidence against the alleged triple murderer.
A police prosecutor said the time was needed to allow police to forensically analyse new evidence they retrieved from her home on Thursday.
A specialist police team of investigators on Thursday searched Ms Patterson’s home where the fatal family lunch took place on July 29.
Forensic experts were spotted rifling through a crowded garage attached to the home and combing through the interior of her red MG ZS SUV in the property’s driveway.
Detectives also employed specially trained ‘technology detector dogs’ that can sniff out USB memory keys and sim cards to help scour the property.
Homicide squad detectives enter the court on Friday
Patterson’s lawyer Bill Doogue outside court on Friday
Erin Patterson enters the Wonthaggi police station where she was charged with three murders on Thursday
The request by prosecutors came as some concern to Mr Walsh, who questioned the length of time needed.
’20 weeks to analyse computer equipment in a triple murder?’ he asked.
‘Where the informant (the chief police officer) is confident he had enough evidence to charge this lady yesterday?’
The court heard detectives planned to file a ‘voluminous’ brief of evidence against Patterson.
Mr Doogue told the court his client was aware the case against her was likely to include a wealth of material.
Much of it, he revealed, had not even been presented to him due to it not being analysed by police yet.
Mr Walsh took a moment to explain the situation to Patterson. She smiled and thanked him.
‘The important thing is this matter progress through the system as quickly as is reasonably possible,’ he said.
Mr Doogue said it was ‘unfortunate’ he could not make an application for bail.
No supporters of the accused murderer could be seen in the packed courtroom, as dozens of other observers watched the five-minute proceeding on the video link.
Media converged on the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Friday
Television crews prepare for a live cross outside the court
It is understood Patterson will be held behind bars until her next court appearance on May 3, where she is expected to appear in court via video link.
However, a bail application could be made at any point, which would see Patterson need to prove to the court why she was not a risk to the community while awaiting trial.
Her next court appearance is likely to revolve around what witnesses might be called at a preliminary hearing.
The end of that hearing will determine when and if her case is pushed into the Supreme Court of Victoria where she would go on trial.
That trial is not expected to go ahead until late next year at its best due to Victoria’s clogged court lists.
Patterson also faces five attempted murder charges, including two over the lunch.
They relate to Ian Wilkinson and her ex-husband Simon Patterson, who was understood to have pulled out of the deadly gathering last minute.
Three other attempted murder charges also relate to Simon, 48, after he became sick following meals on three occasions between 2021 and 2022.
Pastor Ian Wilkinson was the only one to survive the deadly lunch, which claimed the life of his wife Heather Wilkinson, 66.
Gail Patterson and brother-in-law Don Patterson, both 70, also perished.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk