January 1982 – Lynette ‘Lyn’ Dawson, 33, disappears from her home in Bayview, on Sydney’s northern beaches, leaving behind two young daughters. The family’s babysitter, a schoolgirl who can only be identified as JC, moves into the house within a few days.
FEBRUARY – Chris Dawson, teacher and former Newtown Jets rugby league player, reports his wife disappeared about six weeks after he reported her missing.
2001 – An inquest recommended a “known person” be charged with Ms Dawson’s murder, but the Director of Public Prosecutions later said the evidence was not tested because no witnesses were called.
2003 – A second investigation calls for witnesses and recommends that a known person be charged with murder, referring the matter to the DPP. Again, no charges are filed.
2010 – NSW Police announce $100,000 reward for information leading to conviction.
2014 – The reward is doubled to $200,000.
2015 – Strikeforce Scriven is established and the entire Bayview block of the Dawsons is mapped.
April 2018 – Scriven detectives ask DPP to review their evidence file.
Can – The Australian newspaper publishes The Teacher’s Pet podcast on the disappearance of Mrs Dawson. It was ultimately downloaded 60 million times worldwide.
July – NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller admits police “dropped the ball” during 1980s investigation.
September – Police searched the backyard of the Bayview home the couple shared at the time of Ms. Dawson’s disappearance, but found no remains or items of interest.
December 5 – Chris Dawson is arrested on the Gold Coast and spends the night in a guard house.
December 6 – Dressed in a polo shirt, shorts and flip-flops, the then 70-year-old man was extradited to Sydney, where he was charged with the murder of his first wife and appeared in court via video link. His lawyer, Greg Walsh, says he “vigorously maintains his innocence.”
December 17 – Dawson is released on bail to return to his home in Queensland.
August 8, 2019 – Magistrate Michael Allen warns some reporting on the case could harm a fair trial, saying: ‘It would take someone living in a cave or being extremely naive to perhaps ignore the potential for injustice to a person who receives this level of justice.” media monitoring.
February 11-13, 2020 – Magistrate Jacqueline Trad hears the evidence before sending Dawson to stand trial for murder.
April 3 – Dawson formally pleads not guilty to murder and his lawyers file a request for a permanent stay of proceedings.
September 25 – Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton grants Dawson only a nine-month reprieve to allow “frantic and loud” public comments about his wife’s disappearance to die down before his trial.
June 11, 2021 – The Court of Criminal Appeal refuses the final cessation of the proceedings.
April 8, 2022 – The High Court supports the decisions of the lower courts not to permanently interrupt the proceedings.
May 2nd – Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones orders the trial to proceed before a judge alone following a request from Dawson.
May 9-July 11 – The trial is being heard by Judge Ian Harrison, with prosecutors alleging Dawson was violent and abusive towards his wife and killed her to have an unfettered relationship with JC. Dawson’s lawyers called various witnesses who claimed to have seen Ms. Dawson alive and well after January 1982.
August 30 – Dawson is found guilty of murder.
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Source: Australian Associated Press