Home Australia Greg Lynn: Explosive development in secret lovers murder trial as judge rules out manslaughter charges

Greg Lynn: Explosive development in secret lovers murder trial as judge rules out manslaughter charges

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Greg Lynn faces the last full day of his murder trial.

The jury tasked with deciding the fate of a former Jetstar pilot accused of killing two elderly campers has been told it’s murder or acquittal.

Lynn, 57, pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court of Victoria to the murders of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, in the Wonnanangatta Valley in the state’s Alpine region on March 20 of 2020.

On Thursday, Judge Michael Croucher told jurors that involuntary manslaughter was no longer a viable alternative charge due to a lack of evidence presented during the five-week trial.

Greg Lynn faces the last full day of his murder trial.

Carol Clay was allegedly shot in the head. Police don't know how Russell Hill died

Carol Clay was allegedly shot in the head. Police don’t know how Russell Hill died

The jury heard that their decision now had to be a unanimous verdict of murder or acquittal.

“Involuntary manslaughter will no longer be available to you as an alternative charge in this trial,” Judge Croucher said.

“Now that all the evidence has been heard, counsel and I also agree that if it were not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of murder in each case, there would be no basis for an alternative verdict of guilty to manslaughter.”

Judge Croucher said if the jury was not satisfied with a murder conviction they could not convict him of manslaughter.

“In these circumstances, any verdict of guilty for subsidiary murder would be incorrect both in fact and in law,” he said.

—Therefore, you must forget about homicide. Instead, the only charge before you is murder and it is up to you to determine that.

The jury heard that the prosecution had provided no real evidence about how or why Lynn murdered Mr Hill.

‘The allegation relating to Mr Hill is that, in unknown circumstances and by unknown means, Mr Lynn murdered Mr Hill. “The most the prosecution can say about the circumstances is that Mr Hill and Mr Lynn must have argued in some way, perhaps over the drone,” Judge Croucher said.

Greg Lynn removes an awning from his 4x4 after seeing it on 60 Minutes

Greg Lynn removes an awning from his 4×4 after seeing it on 60 Minutes

‘This led Mr Lynn to murder Mr Hill in unknown circumstances and by unknown means.

“The prosecution’s case regarding Ms. Clay is under unknown circumstances, but to eliminate her as a witness to Mr. Hill’s murder, Mr. Lynn murdered Ms. Clay by shooting her in the head with his shotgun.”

The jury heard the Crown’s case hinged on Lynn’s efforts to clean up the alleged crime scene, proving he had committed the murders.

“If it was committed in the belief that he had murdered Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay, it is conduct that the law calls incriminating conduct,” Judge Croucher said.

Turning to the defense case, Judge Croucher told the jury that Lynn claimed that Ms. Clay died as a result of being accidentally shot in the course of a fight between him and Mr. Hill.

“The defense argument regarding Mr Hill is that he died as a result of an accidental stabbing in the course of his attack on Mr Lynn.”

Judge Croucher explained to the jury that Lynn had maintained that version of events both during the recording of his interview and while on the witness stand before them last week.

The jury heard Lynn’s attorney, Dermott Dann, KC, state that his client’s account was consistent with the evidence they had presented at trial.

“In each case,” Mr. Dann states, “Mr. Lynn’s account of the murders is consistent with much other evidence, including the fire evidence, the anthropological evidence, the insect evidence, the medical evidence, the the telephone tower, the blood evidence “The splash evidence, the DNA evidence and the firearms evidence,” Judge Croucher said.

Melanie Lynn and her stepson Geordie sat hand in hand directly in front of Greg Lynn for Judge Croucher's closing speech.

Melanie Lynn and her stepson Geordie sat hand in hand directly in front of Greg Lynn for Judge Croucher’s closing speech.

Judge Croucher said Dann stated that the jury must accept Lynn’s account, accept that it could be true or accept that they cannot agree beyond a reasonable doubt about whether he is guilty of the murders.

“Mr Dann maintains that, apart from Mr Lynn’s account and the evidence supporting it, there is a complete absence of evidence as to the means by which Mr Hill died or the circumstances,” he said.

“Although we know that Ms. Clay died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, apart from Mr. Lynn’s account, there is a complete lack of evidence regarding the circumstances under which Ms. Clay died.

According to Mr. Dann, the prosecution is actually asking him to fill in the big gaps in his case with speculation.’

In closing his case Wednesday, Dann was scathing of the prosecution’s case.

‘There is no factual basis in the prosecution’s case. “They have nothing, nothing, totally blank,” said Mr. Dann.

‘There is no evidence… you are asked to find a man guilty of murder.

‘In the case of the accusation there is no factual basis, no motive, just a complete void.

Do you think it’s OK? I mean, how is that possible?

Dann said that while his client admitted the crime of disposing of evidence, he could not be found guilty of murder based on the evidence presented at his trial.

‘In the case of the accusation there is no factual basis, no motive, just a complete void.

Do you think it’s OK? I mean, how is that possible?

We are in a murder trial. You are trying to do your jury duty and you are asked to convict a man. Well, you can’t just say “well, look, we don’t have any evidence, but let’s convict him anyway.” It doesn’t work like that,” said Mr. Dann.

Lynn's attorney, Dermott Dann KC, fiercely attacked the prosecution's case on Wednesday.

Lynn’s attorney, Dermott Dann KC, fiercely attacked the prosecution’s case on Wednesday.

Dann said Lynn had no motive to murder the elderly campers.

‘(The Prosecutor) Mr. Porceddu, in his cross-examination of Mr. Lynn, kept asking these questions about him being a pilot, trained to stay calm and deal with stressful situations… every time he asked that question alone “The murder of Mr. Hill is increasingly unlikely,” he said.

“Why would this man you saw on the witness stand, this calm and collected man, kill Mr. Hill when there is no apparent reason to do so?”

Dann said the prosecution’s theory that Lynn killed the couple over a dispute over his piloting of a drone had no evidence to support it.

‘That’s not a reason. This is not presented as a reason. “The prosecution accepts that it knows nothing about motive as far as Mr Hill is concerned,” Mr Dann said.

‘That’s why we tell you, ladies and gentlemen, you have no case. There is no meat on the bones. There is nothing.’

Dann described the prosecution’s case as hopeless.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Friday.

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