A trial of Chris Dawson examining his alleged relationship with a former student has begun in Sydney on Monday afternoon.
The 74-year-old, who was last year convicted of murdering his wife Lynette Simms in January 1982, has been accused of one count of carnal knowledge as a teacher of a girl aged over 10 and under 17 years of age.
The former sports teacher and rugby league player will receive frequent breaks during the judge-alone trial in the NSW District Court due to health issues.
When he handed down his ruling last year, NSW Supreme Court Justice Ian Harrison SC found Dawson’s motivation to killing his wife was so he could continue a relationship he’d formed with a student.
Per 9News, defence barrister Claire Wasley asked Judge Sarah Huggett to put in place a non-publication order, which would restrict what the media could report on during the two-week trial.
As reported by news.com.au, Wasley argued it was an “extraordinary case” and there was a chance that witnesses yet to give evidence could be swayed by widespread media coverage.
But Judge Huggett argued that witnesses are told to ignore media reporting for that very reason.
Barrister Dauid Sibtain SC, appearing on behalf of several media organisations, said: “There is absolutely no evidence that this trial is different from any other trial, except to the extent that it will be reported upon.”
“It is a general apprehension as opposed to evidence of a risk.”
Judge Huggett did not make the orders sought by defence.
Chris Dawson, who is currently serving a 24-year jail sentence, appeared in the dock on Monday wearing a green prison tracksuit.
Prosecutors will outline their opening submissions on Tuesday morning.