Dawson applies for stay of trial over podcast ‘impact’
Accused wife killer Christopher Dawson has applied to have his trial permanently halted arguing he won't be able to fairly defend himself before a jury.
A court also heard the Teacher's Pet podcast, which focused national attention on the case, could be one of the reasons Dawson avoids trial.
Dawson, last week, formally pleaded not guilty to murdering his then-wife Lynette Dawson on Sydney's northern beaches nearly 40 years ago.
The retired teacher and Newtown Jets rugby league player has repeatedly claimed that Mrs Dawson is alive and several people have seen her since her disappearance in January 1982.
On Wednesday the court heard Dawson's legal team wanted a stay of proceedings because of "delays", "contamination and collusion" from the podcast interviews and "incompetence" in the police investigation.
His lawyers argue the combination of delays as well as contamination and collusion mean Dawson "cannot adequately defend himself against the charges".
Further, they argue, he won't get a fair trial before a jury "because of the way in which the investigation was conducted by the police and the way a de facto investigation was undertaken by members of the media".
Crown prosecutors told the court there was debate between the parties about the "significant impact" of Hedley Thomas' podcast and the work of author Rebecca Hazel because they had interviewed witnesses.
The court will hold hearings in July to decide whether to continue with the trial.
Justice Fullerton heard Dawson's legal team would rely on the transcripts of Thomas' podcast and likely some of the audio files in the coming hearings.
The judge said she hoped the COVID-19 crisis, which has severely degraded the court's capacity in recent weeks, will have resolved to the point witnesses can be called by July.
It's expected the July hearings will again hear from witnesses who, in February, testified they had seen Ms Dawson in the months and years since she disappeared.
Dawson's brother-in-law, Ross Hutcheon, told the court he saw Ms Dawson alive three-to-six months after her disappearance on the side of Victoria Road in Gladesville standing outside a hospital.
A family friend, 101-year-old Elva McBay, said she spotted Ms Dawson at a public reception for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Sydney's CBD in March 1983.
Two former neighbours, Peter and Jill Breese, claimed they independently saw Ms Dawson working at a northern beaches hospital two years after she went missing.
Originally published as Dawson applies for stay of trial over podcast 'impact'