Former rugby league star Chris Dawson will have a chance to apply for bail on a charge of murdering his wife Lyn when he appears in court again next week.
Dawson appeared in court for the first time on Thursday but didn't apply for bail and it was formally refused.
The 70-year-old stared down the lens of a camera and told magistrate Robert Williams he was all right when he appeared on screen via video link in Sydney Central Local Court this afternoon. The court heard he will plead not guilty.
He was wearing the same collared shirt he was spotted in earlier today after landing in Sydney upon his extradition from Queensland.
The father-of-three has always maintained his innocence in relation to the suspected murder of Lyn Dawson in 1982. He has repeatedly claimed that she left their Bayview family home, in Sydney's northern beaches, and their two little girls on her own accord to be in a religious cult.
16-year-old Joanne Curtis moved in two days later. Lyn Dawson's body has never been found.
Outside the court today, Dawson's lawyer Greg Walsh told reporters he was aware of at least one other case when a mother went missing and was living a new life.
The case he was referring to was actually a member of Dawson's extended family - in a bizarre twist, the former mother-in-law of his brother Peter Dawson walked out on her three children in Sydney 60 years ago.
The woman secretly moved to New Zealand and remarried and died in 2002.
There is no suggestion that Chris Dawson had anything to do with the disappearance of his brother's mother-in-law.
Walsh said it showed it was possible for someone to disappear "it does happen".
"It's happened before," he said.
Peter Dawson told The Daily Telegraph at the time no passport was needed for travel to New Zealand, and suggested Lyn Dawson may have also gone there.
"We don't know where Lyn is. I hope she is living happily somewhere in the world," he said.
Walsh said there was evidence that Lyn Dawson "was observed by a number of people" after her 1982 disappearance. "Unfortunately two of those people are deceased," he said.
"One of the witnesses who died, her daughter gave evidence at the second inquest, and she said that 'my mother told me (and) if she was here today, she'd say she saw Lyn Dawson after her disappearance'.
"Another witness also gave evidence to that effect."
Two coronial inquests, between 2001 and 2003, found that Dawson was murdered by her husband, but he was not charged, with the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions ruling there was insufficient evidence.
Walsh today told reporters there was also evidence of "two very important bank card transactions (made) two or three weeks after her disappearance".
He said the alleged transactions were never investigated by police and that they "should have conducted a proper investigation at the time".
"(That) would have indicated that probably she was alive," he said.
"While it seems most unusual that a lady, with the greatest respect of Lyn Dawson, would disappear and not have any contact with her children … it has happened."
The matter was adjourned to Friday next week when Chris Dawson will apply for bail. He will remain behind bars until then.
Dawson landed in Sydney this morning for the start of what is set to become one of Australia's most sensational court cases.
Passengers on board the same flight as Dawson shared images of the high-profile accused killer gazing forlornly out of a window.
His lawyer said on Thursday his client was "naturally anxious and stressed about the situation" and that he "doesn't know" if Lyn Dawson is alive.
"He seems quite a reserved sort of man to me but he's doing his best in these circumstances (and) holding up," Walsh said.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Dawson's's family said they expected him to be found not guilty of the murder charge.
In 2015, detectives from the Homicide Squad's Unsolved Homicide Unit established Strike Force Scriven to reinvestigate the circumstances surrounding Lyn Dawson's disappearance and suspected murder.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) — has been accessing the task force's new brief of evidence since April this year. The file included two key statements obtained "by the media" from witnesses not previously interviewed, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters on Wednesday.
The commissioner said police had "dropped the ball" during the 1980s investigation but that new evidence had helped to "tie pieces of the puzzle together".
"There was additional evidence that was identified and … that has seen the DPP make a positive decision in prosecuting an individual for the murder of Lynette Dawson," Commissioner Fuller said.
The major breakthrough in the cold case follows revelations in the Teacher's Pet podcast series, which topped download charts around the world, by News Corp's The Australian's.
Investigative journalist Hedley Thomas uncovered two new witness statements, which police indicated would be part of their new brief of evidence.
The Australian today revealed key witnesses that formed part of the police case included a former northern beaches schoolgirl who kept diaries from the time she knew Curtis and Dawson. The unnamed woman reportedly met with detectives in recent weeks.
Curtis, now 54, who shares an adult child with Dawson, has given new information to investigators that led directly to his arrest.
Their daughter, Kristen Dawson, told the Daily Mail "It's a really hard time for us at the moment" but would not comment further.
It also emerged last night that another former babysitter for the Dawsons, Bev McNally, may be called to give evidence as a new witness.
McNally told The Manly Daily that Chris and Lyn Dawson's eldest daughter Shanelle had tried to brace herself for the charges against her father and was "coping".
"She was trying to prepare herself but nothing prepares you for this," she said.
In September, police dug up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple had shared but didn't find remains or items of interest.
During the 1970s, Chris Dawson was a professional footy player with the Newtown Jets in the NSW Rugby League, playing alongside his twin brother, Paul.
He became a teacher at Cromer High School when he retired from the sport. Curtis was a student at the school and when Dawson noticed her in Year 10 he fixed the roll to ensure she would be in his class the following year.
Soon after becoming her teacher, Dawson invited Curtis to be a babysitter for his two young daughters. The teenager — who came from a broken home with an abusive stepfather — accepted the offer.
Towards the end of the year, Dawson and Curtis started a secret affair which saw Dawson regularly make his wife a drink to ensure she went to bed early so he could have sex with Curtis.
A coronial inquest was later told the couple started a sexual relationship when Curtis was 16 and Mr Dawson 32.
In 2003, Curtis told the coroner that Dawson invited her to move into his family home while she was studying for her HSC, in October 1981.
"I had nowhere else to go," she said.
At the inquest, Curtis described Dawson as "very cold" towards his wife.
"(He) used to sing songs to her that had double meanings, that he didn't care about her and that she was physically unattractive," she said.
"Just digging away at her. Just singing songs that were to wear her down, just upset her."
Dawson, who was a nurse, has previously been remembered by friends and family as a kind and generous soul.
During the inquest, police advocate assisting the coroner Matt Fordham told the court that on several occasions from 1980 onwards, Dawson placed love letters in Curtis' schoolbag, and "invited her to marry him".
It's unknown if Lyn Dawson was aware of the affair but it was no secret at Cromer High.
Neighbours of the Dawsons also claimed to have seen the schoolgirl swimming topless in the family's pool.
Curtis previously told the court that Lyn Dawson had confronted her about the schoolgirl's relationship with her husband.
"(She) said to me: 'You've been taking liberties with my husband'," Curtis said.
"I didn't know what to say." It was the last time Curtis ever spoke to Lyn Dawson.
Just two days after his wife went missing, Dawson moved Curtis into his family home in Bayview, about one year after their affair started. It's believed Curtis slept in the couple's bed and wore Dawson's clothing. She also took on the role of stepmother to the Dawsons' girls although she was still legally a child herself.
Curtis said years later in her police statement: "All I know was she'd gone."
"Maybe that (the possibility Chris had killed his wife) was always in the back of my mind …" she said.
In 1984, two years after his wife's disappearance, Dawson and Curtis wed at their home on January 15. He was 35 and she was 19. In a bizarre symbol of his commitment to his teen lover, Dawson gave Curtis one of his missing wife's rings to wear at the ceremony.
They went on to have a daughter together but Dawson allegedly resented the child because he wanted Curtis to himself. The couple split in 1990 and Ms Curtis soon went to police and urged them to search the property for a body.
Curtis told police in 1998 the situation was "very strange for everyone".
"I mean I tried to leave on a number of occasions because I didn't want, I didn't want to be in that situation with him," she said.
"I didn't want to be in a relationship with him. I wanted to get away … because I was just a kid.
"I was kept right in the dark and I was quite oblivious to, to lots of things, I was just under this sort of spell, I suppose."
Asked if Dawson had been "distressed" by the disappearance of his wife, Curtis told police: "No, I don't think he was distressed."
"I think he was, you know, he had what he wanted," she said.
"That was what he wanted, that was his, his goal was to have me and have the children and have the house and have no Lyn … He was ecstatic, as far as I am concerned."