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January 1982 – Lynette ‘Lyn’ Dawson, 33, disappears from her Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches, leaving behind two young daughters. The family’s babysitter, a schoolgirl who can only be identified as JC, takes over the house within days.
February – Chris Dawson, a teacher and former Newtown Jets rugby player, reports that his wife has gone missing six weeks after he claims to have disappeared.
2001 – An inquest recommends that a “known person” be charged in the murder of Ms Dawson, but the director of the prosecution later says the evidence has not been tested because no witnesses have been called.
2003 – A second inquest calls witnesses and recommends that a known person be charged with murder, with the case referred to the DPP. Again, no charges are being filed.
2010 – The NSW Police Department announces a $100,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction.
2014 – The reward is doubled to $200,000.
2015 – Strikeforce Scriven is founded and the entire Bayview block of the Dawsons is mapped.
April 2018 – Scriven detectives ask the DPP to review their evidence.
May – The Australian newspaper releases The Teacher’s Pet podcast about Mrs Dawson’s disappearance. It ends up being downloaded 60 million times worldwide.
July – NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller admits police ‘dropped the ball’ in the 1980s investigation.
September – Police excavate the backyard of the Bayview home the couple shared at the time of Mrs. Dawson’s disappearance, but find no remains or objects of interest.
December 5 – Chris Dawson is arrested on the Gold Coast and spends the night in a guardhouse.
December 6 – Dressed in a polo shirt, shorts and thong, the then 70-year-old is extradited to Sydney, where he is charged with the murder of his first wife and appears in court via a video link. His lawyer, Greg Walsh, says he “firmly asserts his innocence.”
December 17 – Dawson is released on bail to return to his home in Queensland.
August 8, 2019 – Magistrate Michael Allen warns that some reporting of the case could affect due process, saying ‘One would have to live in a cave or be extremely naive to perhaps ignore the potential for dishonesty towards a person who gets to this level of media supervision.’
February 11-13, 2020 – Magistrate Jacqueline Trad hears evidence before Dawson is tried for murder.
April 3 – Dawson formally pleads not guilty to murder, with his lawyers flagging an application for a permanent stay of proceedings.
September 25 – Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton grants Dawson just a nine-month suspension to ease the “rampant and vociferous” public commentary about his wife’s disappearance before his trial.
June 11, 2021 – The appeals court refuses a permanent halt to the proceedings.
April 8, 2022 – The Supreme Court backs lower courts’ decisions not to permanently halt the proceedings.
May 2 – Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones orders the trial to be held in front of a judge only after a request from Dawson.
May 9 – July 11 – The trial is heard by Judge Ian Harrison, with prosecutors alleging that Dawson was violent and abusive towards his wife, killing her in order to have an unfettered relationship with JC. Dawson’s attorneys pointed to several witnesses who claimed to have seen Mrs. Dawson alive and well after January 1982.
August 30 – Dawson is found guilty of murder.
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By Australian Associated Press