Lloyd Rayney: Truth or Lies? Are his Words and Behaviours Aligned?
Last week a client asked me if I'd ever blogged about Lloyd Rayney, a prominent Perth Barrister, who in 2010 was charged with the murder of his wife (2007). He was found 'not guilty' in 2012. I'm not too familiar with the case as I didn't pay much attention to it at the time; back then I lived in the UK and later, on the other side of Australia, in Sydney. From what little I had heard, since moving to Perth a year ago, I assumed Lloyd Rayney was guilty. This was largely based on public consensus in Perth, though I don't directly recall any conversations about the case, so most likely I've been swayed by the media. It's also based on a lack of footage of Lloyd Rayney talking to the media, based on a quick online search last year. An avoidance of talking to the media could be interpreted as the suspect having something to hide. I wonder whether public consensus would differ, had Lloyd Rayney been more vocal. Though this is not a criticism, personally I'm sure, I too would avoid the media in similar circumstances. My reply to my client, semi-jokingly, was that I would be steering clear of auditing Lloyd Rayney, since he's currently suing the state of WA for defamation. But my client had lit a spark, and so, I went on a mission to seek the truth!
What did I find?
First of all, I found that Lloyd Rayney had indeed spoken out, albeit in 2014, in an Artemis International documentary called The Lloyd Rayney Story / Prime Murder Suspect. This is the footage I used to conduct my audit. It's available to rent (3 days) at $5.99AUD. I should mention that the documentary is biased in favour of Lloyd Rayney. I believe the prosecution were invited to participate, however, at the time they were not able to disclose details, so declined. It's also important to mention that bias, in either direction, is irrelevant when it comes to auditing nonverbal behaviour because the behaviour comes directly from the subject. Of course, bias from the auditor can play a role, if it prevents an objective audit. Those that excel in finding the truth are those that can remove their own emotion from the case.
The second thing I found, was that Lloyd Rayney is a 'shrugger'. If you know me, or are familiar with my work, you'll know that my favourite nonverbal gesture is a shoulder shrug, in its two forms:
A full shrug (both shoulders), which indicates confidence in the words it accompanies.
A one-sided shrug (one shoulder), which indicates a lack of confidence in the words it accompanies.
The shoulder shrug is an involuntary gesture that is an extremely reliable nonverbal cue. Its significance is based entirely on the words spoken at the time, for example, a one-sided shrug with the words, "I did not kill him", would raise a red flag (to say the least), whereas the same shrug with the words, "I prefer the brown shoes" holds nowhere near as much significance in the grand scheme of things.
Some people barely shrug and others shrug often–I refer to them as 'shruggers'. I get secretly excited when I meet one because understanding their true feelings is effortless. And when you have a better understanding of the true feelings of others, you can respond more appropriately and improve interactions and relationships. So when I saw Lloyd Rayney shrugging as he talked, I got a little excited and assumed, given my assumption of him being guilty, that I would find a mismatch of words and behaviour in the form of a one-sided shrug/s.
The third thing I found, was that I believe I was wrong in my assumption that he was guilty. I started off expecting to see some discrepancies between words and behaviour but found nothing of significance. There were plenty of nonverbal cues, both positive (e.g. genuine happiness in recalling meeting his wife Corryn) and negative (e.g. eyelid flutters– inner turmoil- when recalling explaining to his children what had happened), but these were in alignment, of context, emotion and words, so they are significant in that nonverbal cues and words matched.
I usually point out discrepancies between words and behaviours and that's what I set out to do in this post because that's what I expected to find. Equally important are the cues that point towards innocence. Though I don't want to give as much description as I usually do because I can't supply free access to the footage, I'll give you one example of nonverbal cues being in alignment with words:
Describing what had happened Lloyd Rayney stated, " The next morning we went into Corryn's bedroom and she wasn't there. The bed was made and we thought she'd gone to work early. It was her turn to take the children to school (affirmative nodding) and that's what should have happened (full shoulder shrug– confident in words). So from my perspective, I was annoyed (anger microexpression)."
This suggests that Lloyd Rayney's story (this part of the story– which is significant) is true as behaviour and words match.
We can never definitively say whether a person is lying or not, regardless of what they have been charged or convicted of. Only they themselves know the truth. So although I can't definitively say that Lloyd Rayney is innocent, what I can say, is that from what I've seen, his nonverbal cues are pointing towards innocence.
Had specific and direct questions been asked, such as, "Did you kill your wife?", I would have more certainty in my opinion of innocence (or guilt), based on the nonverbal cues at that time and the significance of the words, as nonverbal cues are always in response to direct stimulus.
If you have any footage that you'd like me to take a look at, let me know.