Chris Dawson’s lawyer, Greg Walsh told a Sydney court on Thursday that “vitally important” material relating to Dawson’s trial for the alleged murder of his wife Lyn Dawson has been destroyed, compromising the case.
The Downing Centre heard that journalist Hedley Thomas collected key evidence - namely interviews with witnesses and potential witnesses during the investigation of the popular podcast The Teacher’s Pet which has since been shredded.
Outside court, Walsh told reporters that 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, The 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."
"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 scripts for part of one episode were 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".