Teacher’s Pet podcast acknowledged by family after Chris Dawson guilty verdict

“Audio has a powerful influence on us,” according to Teachers Pet podcast producer Hedley Thomas.

Thomas has spoken about his podcast after Christopher Dawson was found guilty of murdering his former wife Lynette four decades ago on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Delivering his verdict, New South Wales supreme court Justice Ian Harrison said: “None of the circumstances considered alone can establish Mr Dawson’s guilt… but when regard is had to their combined force, I am left in no doubt… The only rational inference [is that] Lynette Dawson died on or about 8 January 1982 as a result of a conscious or voluntary act committed by Christopher Dawson.”

Lynette Dawson’s family has credited Hedley Thomas and the Teacher’s Pet podcast for the renewed interest in the case that led to yesterday’s guilty verdict in the judge only trial.

Speaking to James Valentine on ABC Radio Sydney this morning, Hedley Thomas discussed the power of audio to “take people into a place that allows them to focus and be immersed in the story.”

He made the point that a written newspaper feature story is usually about 2000 words, but a podcast like The Teacher’s Pet has about 10,000 words in each episode, so there is much more content and depth in an investigative podcast than can be put into a written article.

The original investigative podcast became a controversial part of the trial when the court suppressed references that linked the podcast to coverage of the trial, those suppression orders were later lifted. Many media outlets, including Radio Today, were the subject of the non-publication orders. The Teachers Pet podcast was taken off line while the trial was in progress.

After The Teacher’s Pet was taken offline, The Australian newspaper and News Limited’s podcast division Newscast began a new podcast, called The Teachers Trail to cover the new proceedings without linking it to the original podcast series. The company had to separate Hedley Thomas from many parts of the production because he was called to appear during the trial.

Lynette Dawson’s family thanked the podcast and the media for their continued coverage of the case that has now led to the guilty verdict.

Speaking on today’s episode of The Front podcast, Hedley Thomas said:

“Even a 40 years old crime can be solved… how many other crimes might actually be the subject of renewed scrutiny so that killers can be put behind bars…

“The other issue that came out for me… was the idea that judges could tell journalists how to practice journalism. That for me was completely unacceptable… judges and defence lawyers need to stay in their lane… don’t intrude in our space.”



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A Fan
31 Aug 2022 - 4:32 pm

Hedley Thomas one of the best journos in the country!
To keep the narration of this story engaging audiences from episode to episode is an achievement in itself.
Now the accolade of all accolades – a guilty verdict and justice for the victims family.
I can see a Netflix series coming out of this very soon!


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