Journalist Hedley Thomas could have made inappropriate commentary about Lynette Dawson’s disappearance, court hears

A Sydney court has been told a journalist who made a podcast about the disappearance of Sydney woman Lynette Dawson has made inappropriate media commentary about the ongoing murder trial.

Former high school teacher and Newtown Jets rugby league player Chris Dawson, 73, is on trial accused of murdering his wife Lynette, who disappeared in 1982.

The crown case is that he wanted to have an “unfettered relationship” with the family’s 16-year-old babysitter, a student at Cromer High School where he taught physical education.

Mr Dawson, who was charged in 2018, has pleaded not guilty.

Mr Dawson’s barrister, Pauline David, told the Supreme Court that witness Hedley Thomas recently provided media commentary about the case.

She told the court it was inappropriate for a witness to do that while the long-running trial was still underway.

The journalist gave evidence about his award-winning podcast The Teacher’s Pet, denying that he tried to “incite prejudice against the accused”.

Justice Ian Harrison noted that it was a judge-alone trial, and he would prefer to focus on the trial evidence now rather than any inappropriate commentary allegations.

“If anyone wants to deal with that in due course or raise it again with me later, that can happen,” the judge said.

A man wearing a blazer and a woman wearing a rosette smile for the camera.
Chris and Lynette Dawson pictured together in 1966.(Supplied.)

Ms David has tendered dozens of Mr Dawson’s phone calls that were recorded by police from 1999 to around 2018.

In calls played to the court today, Mr Dawson referred to media reports about his wife’s disappearance as “bullshit” and alleged Mr Thomas made “a f***ing fortune” out of the podcast.

Mr Dawson said in another call that 2GB broadcaster Chris Smith had no right to criticise him, because Mr Smith had been “accused of exposing himself at a Christmas party”.

Calls between Mr Dawson and his identical twin brother Paul Dawson on the night of September 9, 2018, were also tendered on Wednesday.

The calls were made after Mr Thomas appeared on 60 Minutes, talking about Ms Dawson’s disappearance.

Mr Dawson told his brother that Mr Thomas was a wanker, trying to be “prosecutor, judge and jury”.

“The guy has never met me,” he said.

Crown Prosecutor Craig Everson SC today told Justice Harrison he had finished his evidence.

The trial continues.

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