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NSW to introduce ‘no body no parole’ law after Chris Dawson conviction

Convicted murderers in NSW will be denied parole unless they reveal the location of their victim’s body, under new legislation to be introduced to parliament.

September 20, 2022
By Maureen Dettre
20 September 2022

‘No body no parole’ laws will be strengthened in NSW to motivate convicted killers to reveal the whereabouts of their victim’s body.

Premier Dominic Perrottet says legislation will be introduced into parliament this week, meaning convicted murderers will be denied any chance of parole unless they disclose the location of their victim’s remains.

The new laws would affect about six prisoners in NSW jails.

MISSING WOMAN LYNETTE DAWSON Lynette Dawson is alleged to have been murdered in Sydney's north in January 1982.
Lynette Dawson is alleged to have been murdered in Sydney’s north in January 1982. (Supplied Image)

“We will make it impossible for offenders who wilfully and deliberately refuse to disclose information about their victims’ remains to be granted parole,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The bill has been dubbed “Lyn’s law” after former Sydney teacher Chris Dawson was convicted last month of murdering his 33-year-old wife Lynette, who disappeared from their northern beaches home more than 40 years ago.

The body of the mother of two has never been found and a petition has been launched lobbying for the reform.

The premier said he hoped the legislation would comfort grieving families.

“Being unable to locate a loved one’s body is extremely distressing and traumatic for the families and friends of victims and it denies a victim the dignity of being laid to rest appropriately,” he said.

“These laws are to stop inmates convicted of murder or homicide offences from getting parole unless they co-operate with police to end the torment of families and return to them the remains of their loved ones.”

Lyn Dawson’s family, including brother Greg Simms (centre) led the push for changes to the law. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

The reform will mean the State Parole Authority (SPA) cannot grant parole unless it concludes the offender has co-operated satisfactorily in identifying the victim’s location.

The SPA will rely on written advice from the police commissioner and other relevant information to determine whether the offender has co-operated satisfactorily to identify a victim’s location.

Corrections Minister Geoff Lee said the reforms were modelled on laws in other jurisdictions and would apply to all current and future inmates in NSW to capture convicted offenders who have not yet been considered for parole.

“Any offender in prison coming up for parole should really think hard about maintaining their refusal to co-operate with police if they want to retain their prospects of getting parole,” Dr Lee said.

The legislation will bring NSW into line with laws in Queensland, WA, SA, Victoria and the Northern Territory, where offenders can be refused parole if they refuse to disclose the whereabouts of victims’ remains.

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