News State NSW News COVID-19 delays Chris Dawson murder trial
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COVID-19 delays Chris Dawson murder trial

Chris Dawson
Chris Dawson's murder trial has heard a third version of events where he allegedly sought a hitman. Photo: AAP
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The murder trial of teacher Chris Dawson has been put on hold for a week after the crown prosecutor contracted COVID-19.

Justice Ian Harrison agreed to delay the trial on Tuesday after being told barrister Craig Everson SC had returned a positive test for the virus.

The hearing will continue next Tuesday.

Dawson, 73, is accused of killing his wife Lynette Dawson and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with one of his former students, known as JC, while holding onto assets including the family home in Bayview, Sydney.

He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

The crown’s witnesses have attempted to paint Dawson as a violent, controlling and abusive husband, with testimony emerging that Mrs Dawson had been seen variously with a black eye, and bruises around her throat and on her arms and thigh.

Witnesses have said they saw him shove his wife’s face into the dirt, swing her into a doorframe, and demean her with insults such as ‘fatso’.

Speaking from the witness box, JC claimed she drove with Dawson to a building somewhere south of the Sydney Harbour Bridge where he tried to hire a hitman to get rid of his wife.

She said she was moved into the Dawson family home in January 1982 where she was treated as a housekeeper, babysitter and sex slave.

JC and Dawson married in 1984 and separated in 1990.

The court has also heard Dawson allegedly threatened a high school student who asked JC out, and had told conflicting stories about his wife’s whereabouts after her disappearance.

Dawson’s legal team has argued the witnesses’ testimony has been contaminated because they had talked about the case with each other and had listened to The Teacher’s Pet podcast about the mystery surrounding Mrs Dawson, arguing it was broadcast with an assumption that her husband was guilty.

They have also argued that because these events happened four decades ago and memories have faded over time, the testimony given now is not an accurate portrayal of what happened.

Dawson claims JC’s allegations are lies spurred by a bitter custody battle which occurred after their 1990 break-up.