When Chris Dawson was convicted for the murder of his wife Lynette in August 2022, the world breathed a sigh of relief. Bringing some sense of justice and closure, Lynette’s loved ones could finally rest with the knowledge that her killer would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That being said, there was still a vital piece of missing information — where is her body?
The ‘no body, no parole’ law has been introduced into Parliament this week, meaning that convicted murderers will be denied any chance of parole unless they disclose the location of their victim’s remains. It is hoped that the legislation could provide some sort of motivation for these killers to reveal the final resting places of their victims, bringing further closure to these cases.
Dubbed ‘Lyn’s Law’, in honour of Lynette Dawson, it is hoped that the reform will aid in ending some of the torment experienced by families whose loved ones’ lives have been cut short unjustly. The petition for Lyn’s law was launched by the Dawson’s former family babysitter, (known only as BM for legal reasons), on September 12 2022 and reached almost 30,000 signatures in seven days.
“While justice has finally been served and Lyn’s truth has been heard there is one more puzzle left to this heart-wrenching story. Where is Lyn?” the petition read.
“Lyn’s family have battled for years to clear her name and have her truth told, but the closure they need would come from being able to put her to rest properly, and they are not alone.”
“We will make it impossible for offenders who wilfully and deliberately refuse to disclose information about their victims’ remains to be granted parole,” NSW State Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a statement.
The reform will mean the State Parole Authority (SPA) cannot grant parole unless it concludes that the offender has cooperated in identifying the victim’s location. It will rely on written advice from the police commissioner and other relevant information to determine whether the offender has done so.
NSW corrections minister, Geoff Lee, said that the reforms were modelled on laws in other jurisdictions and would apply to all current and future inmates in NSW, meaning it will impact convicted offenders who have not yet been considered for parole.
“Any offender in prison coming up for parole should really think hard about maintaining their refusal to co-operate with police if they want to retain their prospects of getting parole,” he said.
There are estimated to be six convicted murderers in NSW prison who could be affected by the proposed changes.
If passed, the legislation will bring NSW up to speed with the laws already in place across Queensland, WA, SA, Victoria and the Northern Territory, where offenders can be refused parole if they refuse to disclose the whereabouts of their victims remains.