Ac­cused to plead not guilty

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - JANET FIFE-YEOMANS, SALLY COATES AND DER­RICK KRUSCHE

CHRIS Daw­son will spend at least a week be­hind bars af­ter de­cid­ing not to ap­ply for bail yes­ter­day in Syd­ney’s Cen­tral Lo­cal Court.

The 70-year-old ap­peared via vide­olink af­ter be­ing charged by homi­cide de­tec­tives with the mur­der of his first wife Lynette in 1982 when the cou­ple lived at Bayview on Syd­ney’s north­ern beaches.

Po­lice have al­leged that he mur­dered Lynette, 33, a for­mer nurse, on the night she went miss­ing. He is charged with mur­der­ing her be­tween 9pm on Jan­uary 8, 1982 and 7am on Jan­uary 9, 1982.

Daw­son’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, told the court that his client would ap­ply for bail next Fri­day, De­cem­ber 14.

The case was heard de­spite an ap­par­ent mix-up by the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions. The bar­ris­ter briefed to pros­e­cute the case was at Par­ra­matta – while the case was in the cen­tre of Syd­ney.

None of the mem­bers of ei­ther Lynette’s fam­ily or Daw­son’s fam­ily at­tended court.

Mag­is­trate Robert Wil­liams for­mally re­fused bail and ad­journed the case un­til De­cem­ber 14.

Out­side court, Mr Walsh said his in­struc­tions were that Daw­son would plead not guilty and “strongly as­serts his in­no­cence”.

Mr Walsh was hired late on Wed­nes­day evening by Daw­son’s older brother Pe­ter Daw­son, a for­mer bar­ris­ter who now prac­tises as a solic­i­tor.

Mr Walsh said it was a com­pli­cated case and he wanted to be prop­erly pre­pared when he ap­plied for bail. He said he be­lieved Daw­son had a good ba­sis to seek con­di­tional bail.

There is a pre­sump­tion against bail on mur­der charges.

Mr Walsh said he had not lis­tened to The Aus­tralian news­pa­per’s Teacher’s Pet pod­cast but he was con­cerned about the pub­lic­ity that came from an “ide­o­log­i­cal” view that Daw­son was guilty.

“That is not right,” Mr Walsh said.

“I would ask every­body to let the court do its work.”

Daw­son was for­mally charged with the mur­der af­ter be­ing ex­tra­dited from the Gold Coast.

He was ar­rested on a war­rant and hauled be­fore a Queens­land court on Wed­nes­day, al­most four decades af­ter his wife was last seen alive. Lynette went miss­ing in Jan­uary 1982, leav­ing be­hind two young daugh­ters.

Her ab­sence was not re­ported un­til the fol­low­ing month.

Daw­son, a for­mer New­town Jets rugby league player, has long de­nied in­volve­ment in her death af­ter The Aus­tralian’s pod­cast The Teacher’s Pet thrust the case back into the pub­lic spot­light.

Fresh state­ments from at least two wit­nesses led to Daw­son’s ar­rest on the Gold Coast.

The new ev­i­dence helped po­lice “tie pieces of the puz­zle to­gether”, NSW Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mick Fuller said.

De­spite the fact Ms Daw­son’s body has not been found, in­ves­ti­ga­tors are con­fi­dent of the strength of their case.

“There are other ex­am­ples in polic­ing his­tory, and his­tory of the courts, where peo­ple have been con­victed of mur­der with­out a body,” NSW De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Scott Cook told re­porters on Wed­nes­day.

I WOULD ASK EVERY­BODY TO LET THE COURT DO ITS WORK. DAW­SON’S LAWYER, GREG WALSH

Chris Daw­son with his fu­ture wife and then girl­friend Lyn­nette in an un­dated pho­to­graph.

Pic­ture: SEVEN NEWS

De­fence solic­i­tor, Greg Walsh out­side the court hear­ing for Chris Daw­son.

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