- Dawson found guilty of carnal knowledge with student
Chris Dawson has been found guilty of carrying on a sexual relationship with an underage student meaning he could have years added onto his jail term.
Dawson, 74, has already been told that he can expect to die in prison after he was last year sentenced to a minimum of 18 years for the murder of his wife Lynette who disappeared from their Bayview home in early 1982.
Dawson is now a two-time convicted criminal after District Court Judge Sarah Huggett on Wednesday found him guilty of one count of carnal knowledge over his sexual relationship with a then 16-year-old student, who can only be known as AB.
The former Newtown Jets back-rower fought the allegations at trial – denying the woman’s version of events that she was in his year 11 when they first engaged in sexual activities.
However, following a two-week trial earlier this month, Judge Huggett accepted AB’s testimony that they first engaged in sexual activity in his parent’s Maroubra home in about August or September 1980 when she was 16.
During her testimony, AB told the court that she engaged in sexual activities with Dawson in the back seat of his car, in his school office and in a pool.
It was not in dispute that Dawson engaged in sexual activities with his teenage student but what was in issue was the timing of the first instance.
Through his barrister, Claire Wasley, he maintained that it did not occur until she was in year 12 in 1981.
AB told Judge Huggett that they first engaged in sexual activity on his parents’ bed.
During her testimony, AB told the court that afterwards he asked if she was ok and said: ‘I hope this was helpful’, ‘it was a good start’ and ‘you did really well’.
‘I was told to keep it a secret,’ AB said.
She claimed he first came across her the year before when a topless photo of her began circulating around the school playground and he handed it back to her.
AB said that Dawson later told her that he manoeuvred so that he would teach her class the following year.
Dawson’s legal team disputed that he had any control over which students were in his class.
She also said she would see him at a northern beaches pub on Friday nights.
‘He used to sit there telling me about himself, how great he was,’ AB said during her testimony.
‘It was part of the grooming process … to get me to trust him, which I did.’
AB testified that Dawson left ‘hundreds’ of love notes in her school bag and gave her cards on special occasions.
AB said she would sometimes accompany Chris to exercise classes at Linfield school, which he taught with his twin brother Paul.
She said on one occasion she engaged in sexual activity with Dawson in the school’s pool, while at the other end Paul engaged in sexual activity with another young girl.
Paul Dawson has not been charged with any offence.
AB gave evidence that Dawson made an ‘improper’ advance to her during a driving lesson in 1980.
And on a later occasion, she engaged in sexual activity with him for the first time, she told the court.
The driving lesson emerged as a key issue during the trial as is at the heart of her timeline of events and when she says the first sexual activity occurred.
The court has heard she was not eligible to receive her learner’s permit until November 1980.
According to the indictment, Dawson was accused of engaging in sexual activities with the teen between July 1 and December 31 of 1980.
In her evidence, she later said the ‘improper’ act may have in fact occurred when they were in fact spending time in the car.
She added that he often drove her to exercise classes and other places, and it may not have been a driving lesson.
Judge Huggett accepted that the sexual activity occurred prior to AB turning 17-years-old in February 1981.
Dawson will return to court at a later date for sentencing proceedings.
Dawson has previously flagged his intention to appeal his murder conviction.