The Teacher's Pet: Chris Dawson has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife Lynette.

-With AAP.

Chris Dawson, the former husband of Sydney woman Lynette Dawson, has formally pleaded not guilty to her murder.

The former rugby league player and teacher was charged in December over the disappearance of his then-wife Lynette on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1982.

His lawyer Greg Walsh formally entered a not guilty plea at Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday.

Mia Freedman speaks to Hedley Thomas, the host of The Teacher’s Pet. Post continues after audio. 

The matter is due back before the same court on August 8.

Lynette Dawson’s disappearance was the subject of highly popular investigative podcast series The Teacher’s Pet before her former husband was charged.

Two separate coronial inquests in 2001 and 2003 found that Lyn Dawson was likely murdered. The State Coroner ruled that Chris Dawson was most probably responsible, but he was not charged until December 2018.

Lynette disappeared in early January 1982, when she was 33 years old.

teachers pet podcast
Lyn and Chris Dawson, with their daughter. Image supplied.

At the time, her husband insisted she had left on her own accord, to join a “religious group” on the north coast.

But 36 years later, no one has seen or heard from Lynette, including her two daughters Shanelle and Sherryn. It has also emerged that Chris was, in fact, engaged in a secret sexual relationship with one of his students, Joanne Curtis, who he married after Lynette's disappearance.

Joanne Curtis with Chris and Lyn Dawson's daughters, Shanelle and Sherryn. Image: The Australian.

In April, The Australian announced that episodes of The Teacher's Pet would be "temporarily unavailable in Australia, pending Chris Dawson’s trial for the murder of his wife, Lyn".

The decision was made in the interests of having a fair trial.

According to The Australian, who produced the 16-episode podcast, a letter was sent from the Office of the New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions requesting that the episodes be taken down.

Christopher Dore, the Editor In Chief of The Australian said the publication is “committed to ensuring a fair trial for Mr Dawson. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence".

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