Teacher's Pet Hedley Thomas denies destroying vital evidence in Chris Dawson's trial.

-With AAP.

Hedley Thomas, the journalist behind The Australian’s true crime podcast The Teacher’s Pet, has denied destroying information pertinent to Chris Dawson’s murder trial.

Dawson’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, told a Sydney court significant material regarding his case may have been shredded by the host of the 2018 podcast, which investigated the disappearance of Chris’ wife, Lynette Dawson.

Dawson, 70, is accused of killing his wife on Sydney’s northern beaches 37 years ago, following Lyn Dawson’s mysterious disappearance in 1982.

The award-winning podcast reignited interest in the case against the former rugby league player and teacher Chris Dawson last year. He was subsequently arrested in December.

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Chris and Lyn Dawson. Image: Supplied.

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.

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

Walsh told the court the material that was potentially "shredded" by Thomas involved interviews with witnesses and potential witnesses.

Outside court, Walsh said Thomas had made comments about shredding information at a public event in Brisbane discussing the podcast last year.

"Mr Thomas made a representation that the material for chapter five of podcast seven must be shredded or 'otherwise we'll all go to jail'," he said.

He added that the trial had been "prejudiced" by the podcast, and the missing material would be subpoenaed, ABC reports.

"We've got to get to the bottom of this… Chris Dawson's entitlement to a fair trial, in my respectful opinion, has been seriously prejudiced by the conduct of Mr Thomas and many others."


Walsh earlier told the magistrate he'd apply to have Thomas give evidence at Dawson's committal hearing.

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Chris Dawnson's 2018 arrest. Image: AAP.

Prosecutors said they'd want to cross-examine the reporter if he did appear

This afternoon, The Australian released a statement in response to Walsh's claims, stating he was "distorting the truth" and attempting to "smear Thomas' reputation".

"In the course of creating the podcast Mr Thomas collected hundreds of hours of audio and hundreds of pages of documents. He and The Australian have already handed over about 100GB of audio and hundreds of pages of material to prosecutors. He is in the process of identifying and providing further relevant documents," the statement said.

Thomas and The Australian also addressed claims Thomas had discussed shredding the material at the event Walsh spoke of:

"At that event, held more than five months before Mr Dawson was charged, Mr Thomas told the audience that some of his draft script for part of one episode was withheld from the podcast for legal reasons. But there was never any suggestion that any underlying document had been destroyed."

Thomas said his exact words were: "The lawyers ... got back to me today and said 'We, ah, we think chapter 5 of episode 7 needs to be significantly shredded, cut out, and I was like 'Oh why?' and they said 'Well you'll go to jail if it stays'."

The Australian has removed access to The Teacher's Pet podcast at the request of prosecutors, and say they are "continuing to respond to requests to provide relevant documents".

Chris Dawson is currently on bail and was in court for today's hearing.

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