Lawyers for the man accused of killing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay are fighting to keep his police interviews a secret from the public, fearing “explosive” information contained in the recordings could have a detrimental impact on any upcoming trial.
Dermot Dann, KC, told Melbourne Magistrates’ Court pilot Gregory Lynn’s police interview, recorded at Sale police station over several days following Lynn’s arrest on November 22, 2021, should be suppressed as the contents are “explosive or may be seen as explosive in the eyes of readers or viewers”.
Russell Hill and Carol Clay.
Dann also applied to have the first statement Lynn made to police, during an hour-long initial visit to his house in July 2020, withheld from the public.
“These items of evidence are potentially game changing,” Dann said.
“There are very real, very live and very substantial issues.”
Four lawyers representing numerous media outlets opposed the application on Friday, arguing any “blanket order” suppressing the publication of the contents of two entire interviews was excessive.
Lawyer Sam White, representing the Nine Network, publisher of this masthead, argued the court should suppress the bare minimum required to ameliorate the defence’s concerns.
“We say the public has a right to know about the conduct of these proceedings,” White said.
Corey Jankie, representing the ABC, said the case was one of the most high-profile murder cases in the state’s recent history with substantial public interest in the case.
But magistrate Brett Sonnet raised concerns about the possibility that any reporting of the police interview material, which could later be ruled inadmissible ahead of a Supreme Court trial, risked delaying a trial.
He also said it was imperative the notoriety of the accused man not affect the outcome of his case.
“It’s been reported constantly, whenever there’s been any new revelation it’s been reported,” Sonnet said.
“It’s highly imperative in this case there be no delay under any possible circumstances. It’s in everyone’s interest a trial be conducted as soon as possible.”
Hill, 74, and Clay, 73, were last heard from on March 20, 2020, while camping in the Wonnangatta Valley in Victoria’s High Country.
Police allege Lynn killed the pair before burning their bodies at a second location north of Dargo.
Lynn was arrested the following year and later charged with two counts of murder.
The remains of the missing campers were located during a search of remote bushland four days later.
A court sketch of accused killer Greg Lynn.Credit:Nine News
Police revealed at the time of his death, Hill – a former logging contractor – had rekindled his relationship with Clay, his childhood sweetheart, but kept the relationship a secret from family including his wife.
Lynn, who has denied the murder charges, is currently facing a hearing before a magistrate to determine whether the case will proceed to trial.
The matter will return to court on Monday.
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