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Chris Dawson refused High Court leave to appeal for a permanent stay

Former high school teacher and rugby league player Chris Dawson yesterday was refused leave to appeal against the NSW Court of Appeal’s refusal to grant a permanent stay of his murder charge.

Dawson is accused of having murdered his wife Lynette Dawson 40 years ago. Lynette, 33, disappeared from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches in January 1982, leaving behind their two young daughters Shanelle and Sherryn, then aged four and two.

In February 2020, Dawson  was committed to stand trial for murder of his wife.

In June last year, the NSW Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, Justice Christine Adamson and Justice Geoffrey Bellew accepted the prejudice to Dawson caused by the pre-trial publicity and delay in this case was “very serious”, but said that could be “remedied or sufficiently ameliorated by careful directions which the judge at the trial will give to the jury”.

Earlier this month, his lawyers lodged a special leave application in the High Court for a permanent stay on the charge.

In a brief judgment, High Court Justices Stephen Gageler and Michelle Gordon upheld the rulings made by the NSW ­Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal, which had previously rejected his application to strike the case out.

Justice Gageler said there was no sufficient reason to doubt the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Dawson, who has now exhausted the appeals process in respect of whether he should stand trial, was represented by Philip Boulton SC, while NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Sally Dowling SC represented the crown.

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