Chris Dawson will spend the next week behind bars and has asked his lawyer to enter a plea of not guilty to allegations he murdered his wife, Lynette, as detectives revealed they believed he killed her between 9pm and 7am on the night she went missing in 1982.
The 70-year-old faced a NSW court for the first time yesterday, sitting, arms crossed, on an audiovisual screen before magistrate Robert Williams in Sydney’s Central Local Court.
He had been charged earlier in the day by homicide investigators with Lyn’s murder, after being flown from the Gold Coast in Queensland where he was arrested on Wednesday morning.
Court documents reveal police will allege Mr Dawson murdered the 33-year-old nurse and mother on the night of Friday, January 8, or the morning of Saturday, January 9, 1982, at Bayview on Sydney’s northern beaches, where they lived.
Mr Dawson said little during court. He answered, “Yes, yes I am, sir”, when asked if he was Christopher Dawson, and said, “Thank you”, when the matter finished.
Mr Dawson’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, told the court his client would apply for bail next Friday and there was a lot of material to include.
“I think it’s the sort of case Your Honour will need some assistance,” he said. “Given the complexity of the background of it.”
The Director of Public Prosecution’s lawyer, Daniel Noll, asked for more time given “the amount of material” and the Christmas holidays. Mr Williams ordered the brief of evidence against Mr Dawson be filed by February 14, when the case will return to court. “Bail not applied for, refused,” he said.
Mr Walsh said outside court he had been contacted by Mr Dawson’s brother, Peter Dawson, about 6pm on Wednesday and had spent the night reading part of a large volume of material.
“My instructions are that on the next occasion he will be entering a plea of not guilty, and he will be strenuously defending the allegations,” Mr Walsh said.
“This man, Chris Dawson, is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
“He will plead not guilty, he strenuously asserts his innocence. He should be afforded that fundamental right.”
Mr Walsh described The Aus- tralian’s The Teacher’s Pet podcast as coming from “a particular ideological view” that his client was guilty, and said there was evidence Lyn was seen after January 9, 1982. He said he had not listened to the podcast.
“There are also two very important bank card transactions some weeks after, two or three weeks, approximately, after her disappearance and in those days they didn’t have the electronic means they have today in operating electronic credit cards,” Mr Walsh said.
“Those transactions, regrettably, were never investigated by the police.”
One journalist asked Mr Walsh, “So does Mr Dawson believe his wife is still alive?”
Mr Walsh: “I haven’t particularly asked him that question and he doesn’t know. He honestly doesn’t know.”
Mr Dawson was “anxious and stressed about the situation”.
Lyn disappeared leaving behind two daughters.
Her body has never been found, though investigators said they were confident of a successful prosecution.
‘This man, Chris Dawson, is entitled to the presumption of innocence’ GREG WALSH LAWYER
Chris Dawson arrives in Sydney after being extradited from Queensland