Lynn to stand trial in Supreme Court

Ongoing: Investigations into the alleged murders of Carol Clay and Russell Hill continue. file photograph




CAROLINE Springs man and former Jetstar pilot Gregory Lynn will stand trial for the alleged murders of campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay, in the Supreme Court.


Magistrate Brett Sonnet used the committal hearing – which began last week at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and ended on Wednesday afternoon – to determine whether there was enough evidence for the accused to go to trial.


Lynn had been charged with two counts of murder.


On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Sonnet said that after looking at “the totality of evidence”, he believed that the evidence had “sufficient weight to support a conviction”.


Present in court was Lynn, 56, who has maintained his innocence throughout.


As expected, he formally pleaded not guilty to the charges. He did not apply for bail.


A directions hearing at the Supreme Court will take place on February 9, 2023.


Police allege that on Friday, March 20, 2020, Lynn killed 75-year-old Russell Hill and 73-year-old Carol Clay.


Mr Hill and Ms Clay vanished from their campsite in the Wonnangatta Valley in March 2020. Lynn was arrested on November 22, 2021. Human remains found near Dargo later that month were confirmed by Victoria Police to be that of Ms Clay and Mr Hill. On Monday, information shared in court and released to the media revealed that more than 5000 covert audio recordings of Lynn were made by investigators, which led to his arrest after police believed he would take his own life.


Monday’s hearing began with Mr Sonnett approving a requested suppression order into evidence previously described as “explosive” or “game-changing” for the potential criminal trial.

The prosecution did not oppose the application for the suppression order.


First was Leading Senior Constable and ballistics expert, Paul Griffiths.


Constable Griffiths told the court about a possible scenario he tested on request of investigators, which was whether Lynn and Mr Hill had a physical altercation over Lynn’s gun, which may have gone off accidently, hitting one of the mirrors on Lynn’s Toyota Land Cruiser, and then hitting Ms Clay, who was near the back of the vehicle.


Constable Griffiths tested three scenarios based on if Ms Clay, who was about 160 centimetres, was standing, “semi-crouching” (or stooping), or crouching. This scenario forms part of a police theory that Lynn got into a dispute with Mr Hill over a drone he was flying.


The court heard that based on the testing he conducted, this scenario was plausible if Ms Clay was standing, while the other two scenarios were much less likely, but couldn’t be ruled out.


Constable Griffith conducted two trajectory determination exercises to test this scenario. These tests were based on a number of assumptions and variables. They were also limited by a lack of physical evidence from the alleged crime.


Lynn’s lawyer, Dermot Dann KC, questioned the first test, saying that it was conducted with a different firearm to the one that Lynn has been accused of using.


Constable Griffith said the exercises he conducted didn’t require the exact same weapon – the first tests he conducted on February 23, 2022 were with a 12-gauge shotgun.


A second test on May 11, 2022 saw shots fired through vehicle mirrors at two different angles – 75 and 47 degrees – to test for projectile deflection. Thirteen of the 14 shots showed no deflection. Constable Griffiths said this testing did not change his conclusions from the previous tests.


Detective Leading Senior Constable, Daniel Passingham, was the next witness, and told the court that on September 28, 2021, a listening device was played in Lynn’s home. A listening device had also been placed in Lynn’s vehicle, and his phone was tapped.


More than 5000 recordings had been saved to the database.


Before Lynn’s arrest, Constable Passingham said he’d listened to about 3150 recordings, which ranged from one-minute to half an hour in length. Police have alleged that Lynn spoke to himself in the recordings, and had made reference to Mr Hill and Ms Clay.


Documents released to the media on Monday contain statements by Constable Passingham, where he said he heard Lynn talking to himself in “what sounded like a depressed state” on the day of his arrest, which was November 22, 2021. Having listened to thousands of recordings prior. Constable Passingham was concerned that Lynn would kill himself, and brought it up with his colleagues. Lynn was arrested without incident later that day.

The court also heard that police intend to return to Mount Hotham to do a search, which hadn’t been done at that point due to weather. The search is expected to be the end of the investigation before the trial.


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