Chris Dawson grabbed and threatened a trolley boy and told him to ‘stay away’ from a teenage student he is alleged to have engaged in sexual activities with, a court has heard.
Dawson is standing trial in the NSW District Court over allegations he carried on a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student during his time as a teacher at a Sydney high school.
The former Newtown Jets player, 74, has pleaded not guilty to one count of carnal knowledge and has claimed that he did not engage in sexual activities with the young girl until she was 17 years old in 1981.
The woman, who can only be known by the pseudonym AB, has told the judge-alone trial that she first engaged in sexual activities with Dawson in about August or September 1980 at a time when she was a 16-year-old student in his class.
The timing of their first sexual activity is the central issue at the trial.
A court had heard Chris Dawson (pictured) threatened a Coles trolley boy to ‘stay away’ from a teenage student he allegedly had a sexual relationship with
A man – who was 16 years old at the time – told the court on Tuesday that he was grabbed and threatened by Dawson during an incident in 1980 and told to stay away from AB.
Dawson, through his defence, has denied that he grabbed the boy.
The man, who cannot be identified, told the court on Tuesday that he had worked at a northern beaches Coles with AB in the early 1980s.
He described her as ‘attractive’ and said he asked her out on several occasions.
He said AB knocked back all of his advances before he was confronted by a man, who he identified as Chris Dawson, during a Saturday morning shift while collecting trolleys in the supermarket’s car park.
‘A man I now know as Mr Dawson came out from near a car, out of the shadows, there was light streaming in, there are slits in the wall that let in the sunlight in,’ he said during his evidence on Tuesday.
‘He said ‘hey you’ or words to that effect.’
The man said he had been coached in rugby union by Dawson’s twin Paul and it took a moment to dawn on him who he has.
He told the court that Dawson backed him up against a concrete ramp.
‘He was pushing my chest, not really aggressively, more in just a threatening way, I guess you could say,’ the man told the court.
‘Then he backed me up against that wall, around my chest or lower throat, he wasn’t strangling me or anything like that, he was pushing and holding me.
‘He was a very large man. Both the Dawson brothers looked like Chesty Bonds, that’s how we described them back then, very muscular, blond, played for Newtown. So I knew about them from football.
‘And it took a minute to clock who it was because I’d never met him before.’
Chris Dawson is standing trial in the NSW District Court. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of carnal knowledge
Dawson was last year convicted and sentenced to 24 years jail for the murder of his wife Lynette Simms (left)
The man told the court that Dawson said words to the effect of: ‘Stay away from her, don’t go near her.’
‘I was completely perplexed about what was going on and probably pretty scared,’ the man said.
‘I said: ‘Who?’ He said: ‘(AB)’ … And all of a sudden the pieces fell together.’
He said he ‘hightailed it’ up the ramp back to the store and that was the only time he interacted with Dawson.
He told the court the event happened in 1980 and was able to place the date given he did not have his learner’s permit or a car at the time.
Under cross examination from defence barrister Claire Wasley, he denied suggestions that he was not threatened by Chris Dawson.
‘What I’d suggest is that Mr Dawson didn’t touch you and wasn’t threatening in any way,’ Ms Wasley asked.
‘Disagree,’ the man said.
Dawson was last year convicted and sentenced to 24 years jail for the murder of his wife Lynette Simms, who disappeared from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches in January 1982.
He has maintained his innocence and has lodged a notice of intention to appeal.
Following a complaint in 1997, the Department of Education began investigating Dawson over the carnal knowledge allegations.
The following year, department investigators spoke to AB, who provided a statement.
The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Sergeant Laura Beacroft (pictured) told the court that a strikeforce was set up following the publication of the Teacher’s Pet podcast
A letter was sent to Dawson’s Queensland home in June 1998 about an allegation of ‘improper conduct of a sexual nature’ with a female student.
He was later asked to respond to the allegations seeking cause as to why his name shouldn’t be included on the ‘not to be employed’ list.
Dawson called Department of Education investigator Pat Clear in July 1998.
According to a file note read to the court: ‘Mr Dawson stated he did not intend to respond to the letters in writing and he did not want his non-response read as an admission to anything’.
‘He stated he does not intend to return to NSW and for that reason he does intend to go to the trouble of responding.’
The court heard on Tuesday that in 2018, NSW Police launched Strike Force Southwood, to investigate allegations of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students at schools on Sydney’s northern beaches in the late 1970s and 1980s.
The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Sergeant Laura Beacroft, told the court that they set up the strikeforce following the publication of the Teacher’s Pet podcast.
Police took statements from AB in September 2018 and April 2019.
He was arrested and charged with carnal knowledge at Surry Hills police station in June 2019.
Dawson’s carnal knowledge trial is due to conclude this week, with Judge Huggett to hand down her judgment at a to-be-determined later date.