The creator of the award-winning podcast The Teacher’s Pet has told a Sydney court that he initially thought it was “probable” that Chris Dawson killed his wife Lynette.
Most important points:
- The court heard that there had been approximately 60 million downloads of the podcast internationally
- Defense Claims Podcast Contaminated Witnesses in Case
- Chris Dawson denies murder of his first wife Lynette in 1982
Dawson is charged with murdering Lynette Dawson in 1982 so he could pursue an “untethered relationship” with the family’s 16-year-old babysitter.
The 73-year-old pleaded not guilty.
Today Pauline David, attorney for Mr Dawson, asked journalist Hedley Thomas if he thought her client was guilty of murder before starting to record the podcast.
“No,” replied Thomas.
“I thought it probably was, but I was still open to it. I wanted to learn more about it. I became more confident about it as time went on.”
Thomas told the court that he understood there were approximately 60 million downloads of the podcast internationally, but only a fraction of those would have been fully listened to.
The defense alleges that the podcast tainted witnesses in the case.
Ms David accused Thomas of “starting a campaign to foment prejudice against the accused”.
“No, I don’t agree,” he replied.
The defense also offered transcripts of television interviews in which Thomas participated, in which he described Dawson as “narcissistic” and “despicable”.
The journalist told the court that this was his personal opinion and that – despite never meeting the accused – he probably wouldn’t use such foul language when he had time again.
He said the opinion was formed based on the findings of two coronal studies and his own interviews.
“I don’t think you need to meet anyone to form an opinion about them…that was my opinion at the time, and it hasn’t changed,” Thomas told the court.
Thomas said his “sharp” descriptions of Mr Dawson only came when he was asked for his personal opinion in interviews, and his opinion was not given in the podcast.
Thomas told the court that if he had discovered information that changed the story or disputed the findings of the coronal studies, it would have become an important part of the podcast.
During the cross-examination, Thomas accepted that telling Mrs. Dawson’s family that he wanted to help them get “justice” also meant persecuting her husband.
While gathering evidence and information to create the podcast, he believed the police “didn’t investigate her disappearance properly.”
Thomas was also asked how much money he made from each download to which he replied “none, nothing.”
The trial, before Judge Ian Harrison, continues.
Posted † updated