News State NSW News Officer tells trial of accused professor’s cut-up clothes

Officer tells trial of accused professor’s cut-up clothes

Dianne Jolley allegedly destroyed her own property and sent herself and others threatening letters. Photo: AAP
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A late-night backyard intruder allegedly slashed jumpers, cut up formal dresses, and stole the underwear of a former University of Technology Sydney professor, a jury has heard.

But when Constable Liam Harris canvassed the surrounding area of Dianne Jolley’s home on September 16, 2019, nobody nearby had heard or seen anything.

Ms Jolley has since been accused of destroying her own property along with sending herself and colleagues 19 threatening letters purporting to be from an unknown figure.

The 51-year-old orchestrated the scam to garner support in closing down the “uneconomic” traditional Chinese medicine course, as the board did not originally back this decision, the Crown says.

UTS security services manager Shaun O’Mara was also at the academic’s home when Const Harris arrived and was told a person had accessed the rear of her home and left a note on her car windscreen.

In large, bold black font the message read: “I know where you live”.

Ms Jolley initially thought the note had been an advertisement but when she realised it was related to “ongoing issues at work,” placed it into a plastic sleeve to preserve fingerprints and other DNA, Mr Harris told the Sydney District Court on Tuesday.

The accused also explained to him she was an employee at UTS and had recently closed down part of the science department, and that people were unhappy with her for losing their jobs.

“I have been receiving threatening letters at work but this is the first time I have received them at home,” his statement says Ms Jolley told him.

CCTV cameras had not been recording at the time of the incident.

Const Harris returned to the crime scene in the afternoon with another officer to collect the damaged clothing items as evidence.

These included a bra cut in half, a shredded black puffer jacket “with feathers everywhere”, a green dress, a grey overcoat, a purple jumper with a hole directly through the middle, and a black dress.

Ms Jolley has pleaded not guilty to 20 charges relating to the fake letters she allegedly sent between 2019 and 2020.

Some 16 charges are for conveying information likely to make a person fear for their safety, and three for sending a letter with the intention of inducing a false belief that it would endanger someone’s safety.

An additional charge for causing financial disadvantage by deception relates to UTS spending more than $127,000 in security measures to protect her.

Defence lawyer Leah Rowan questioned the police officer’s recollection of this conversation two years prior, and suggested Jolley had used different words.

“I suggest she said the Chinese medicine course was being discontinued and people were upset about that,” Ms Rowan said.

But Mr Harris denied hearing this, or that she said there had been “disgruntled staff” due to structural changes in the workplace she was managing.

The trial continues.