Teacher’s Pet reporter Hedley Thomas denies using Hollywood to induce witnesses

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“Ms. David, in a joking way,” Thomas said. “The answer is yes.”

David: “Did you offer shares to any of the people [who] testified in this court?

Thomas: “I don’t have any pieces to offer, no.”

He said he had no “agreements” but there was a publishing deal and the proposed miniseries.

In an audio clip of a conversation, played in court, Thomas had informed Lynette’s sister, Patricia Jenkins, that Jason Blum and actor Joel Edgerton were to announce that they intended to develop a television series from his podcast.

Thomas said he didn’t want audiences to “get the wrong idea” and would ensure it was a “tasteful depiction of the events and life of Lyn…and everyone’s attempt to shed some light on what happened”.

He said Jenkins’ scripts would be developed and then shown to “actors and big companies like HBO.”

Thomas was brought to another recording in which he brought up a “hypothetical” scenario that the writers “could make Chris a really cruel person to animals as a child”.

Asked by David about his “completely inhumane” remark, Thomas said he explained the dramatization that can occur and “it was just something I pulled out of thin air”.

“That’s how you talked to all the witnesses [about Chris Dawson]”David said.

“That’s wrong,” Thomas replied.

He said Dawson and his family rejected repeated requests to “say anything” on the podcast.

The Crown alleges Dawson was motivated by a desire to have an unfettered relationship with the couple’s babysitter and former student, known as JC.

David asked Thomas if his reference in a phone call to hearing Australian actor Hugh Jackman was to induce a particular witness to become involved in The teacher’s pet.

Thomas said he would need to see the transcript of the conversation, but the witness – who was a teenager in 1982 and had worked with JC – had contacted him “no doubt before he knew of anything involving Hugh Jackman.”

Meanwhile, Detective Poole testified about a search of the Dawsons’ former home in Bayview, where police ‘removed the concrete and dug up the dirt until we hit bedrock’.

Nothing was located after an inspection of the septic tank, and there were “no findings” when certain areas inside the home were examined after a dog indicated potential blood, a he declared.

Senior Detective Daniel Poole with Chris Dawson after his extradition from Queensland.Credit:James Brickwood

Crown Attorney Craig Everson, SC, asked: “In light of investigations into databases of unidentified human remains in the State of New South Wales and all other states and territories in ‘Australia, Have Lynette Joy Dawson’s Remains Been Identified?

“No,” Poole replied.

He heard a wiretap months before Dawson’s arrest in which the defendant said he “still had contact with Lyn for about six or eight weeks” and that “you couldn’t report a missing person as long as you still had contacts”.

Poole said he did not recall any reference to a specific time limit in the relevant missing persons proceedings.

Dawson claims he dropped Lynette off at a Mona Vale bus stop on January 9, 1982 and she called him at Northbridge Baths to tell him she “needed some time”. He reported her missing on February 18.

Asked by Everson if he had found any evidence that the defendant was in contact with Lynette for “about six to eight weeks”, Poole replied “outside his [Dawson’s] background report and information in his interviews, there is no other independent evidence in relation to a contact”.

Dawson’s judge-alone trial before Judge Ian Harrison continues.

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