Chris Dawson makes surprise court appearance


Accused Sunshine Coast wife killer Chris Dawson made a surprise visit to the Downing Centre this morning flanked by his brother and lawyer for a court hearing over the murder of his first wife Lyn.

Dressed in a suit and aviator sunglasses, the 70-year-old, who intends to plead not guilty, was not required to be at the brief hearing where Magistrate Megan Greenwood agreed to make changes to his strict bail conditions to allow him to drive past an airport near his house without being arrested.

Dawson has been living at his Coolum home with his third wife Sue after he was charged in December with the murder of Lyn, who disappeared from Sydney's northern beaches in 1982.

The mother of two's body has never been found.

Dawson's lawyer, Greg Walsh, told reporters his client had chosen to travel to Sydney for the mention.

"He wanted to come down, I like clients to be here in these committal proceedings. I think they should be here to assist the court," Mr Walsh said.

In the courtroom, prosecutor Craig Everson said police were "struggling" to convert more than 100 gigabytes of evidence "into a form" that could be properly scrutinised by Dawson's lawyer before the case proceeds to a trial.

Mr Walsh also asked for changes to Dawson's strict bail conditions so he could travel to Sydney to meet with his legal team and be allowed to drive past Maroochydore airport given he has to report to a police station in the town daily.

Under the previous conditions, Dawson was forbidden to approach an international point of departure.

Also in the public gallery of the courtroom was homicide investigator Detective Senior Constable Daniel Poole, who sat next to Dawson on a plane when he was extradited from Queensland to NSW.

Detective Senior Constable Poole was said to be instrumental in building the police case against Dawson before charges were laid.

Outside court, Mr Walsh told reporters part of the evidence in the murder case would include Lyn's mother's diary.

"There's been already been disclosure, for instance, of the diary of Mrs Simms - Lynette Dawson's mother - we've never seen that before," he said.

"In both inquests there was an edited transcript, but we've now been provided, after all these years, with the actual handwritten copies of the diary.

"They've very significant … that type of evidence is critical in an historical case like this. I think it helps (Dawson) significantly."


Lynette Dawson went missing in 1982.
Lynette Dawson went missing in 1982.

Mr Walsh said Dawson was feeling overwhelmed almost three months after being charged and spending two weeks inside Silverwater prison before he was released on bail on Christmas Eve.

"He's very apprehensive at times, he's a quiet man, a very reserved man, a good family man," he said.

"I think he's now coming to realise, when I had a long conference with him yesterday, just with him, some of the practical difficulties in a case like this. In the sense of investigating it, how big the case is, how much material there is. It's a very daunting thing to know that you've got a huge team of investigators and crown prosecutors and solicitors against you. I think he's a bit overwhelmed by that."

Mr Walsh said he was staying "positive" when asked if him and Dawson could win the case.

"I'm always positive in a case, I try to be positive, my client is adamant that he is innocent so I have a strong belief in his innocence and I'm determined to achieve justice for him consistent with my duty to him and the law, I'll do my very best," he said.