Greg Lynn: Bombshell development in secret lovers murder trial as judge rules out manslaughter charges

The jury tasked with deciding the fate of a former Jetstar pilot charged with killing two elderly campers has been told it’s murder or acquittal.

Lynn, 57, pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court of Victoria to the murders of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, in the Wonnangatta Valley, in the state’s alpine region on March 20, 2020.

On Thursday, Justice Michael Croucher told jurors manslaughter was no longer a viable alternative charge due to the lack of evidence presented during the five week trial.

Greg Lynn is facing the last full day if his murder trial 

Carol Clay was allegedly shot in the head. Police don't know how Russell Hill died

Carol Clay was allegedly shot in the head. Police don’t know how Russell Hill died 

The jury heard their decision now had to be a unanimous verdict of murder or acquittal.

‘Manslaughter will no longer be available to you as an alternative charge in this trial,’ Justice Croucher said. 

‘Now that all of the evidence has been heard counsel agree and so do I that if you were not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of murder in each case, there would be no basis for an alternative verdict of guilty to manslaughter.’

Justice Croucher said if the jury could not be satisfied of a murder conviction it could not convict on manslaughter. 

‘In those circumstances any guilty verdict of manslaughter in the alternative would be wrong both in fact and as a matter of law,’ he said. 

‘Accordingly you must put manslaughter out of your minds. Instead the only charge before you is murder and it’s for you to determine.’

The jury heard the prosecution had provided no real evidence about how or why Lynn murdered Mr Hill. 

‘The prosecution case concerning Mr Hill is that in unknown circumstances and by unknown means Mr Lynn murdered Mr Hill. The most the prosecution can say about the circumstances is that Mr Hill and Mr Lynn must have argued in some way, perhaps about the drone,’ Justice Croucher said. 

Greg Lynn removes an awning from his 4WD after seeing it the 60 Minutes program

Greg Lynn removes an awning from his 4WD after seeing it the 60 Minutes program

‘This led Mr Lynn to murdering Mr Hill in otherwise unknown circumstances by unknown means. 

‘The prosecution case concerning Ms Clay is that in unknown circumstances, but in order to eliminate her as a witness to the murder of Mr Hill, Mr Lynn murdered Ms Clay by shooting her to the head with his shotgun.’

The jury heard the Crown case hinged on Lynn’s efforts to clean up the alleged crime scene proving he had committed the murders. 

‘If committed in the belief he had murdered Mr Hill and Ms Clay, it’s conduct the law calls incriminating conduct,’ Justice Croucher said. 

Turning to the defence case, Justice Croucher told the jury Lynn claimed Ms Clay died as a result of an accidental shooting in the course of a struggle between himself and Mr Hill. 

‘The defence case in regards to Mr Hill is that he died as a result of an accidental stabbing in the course of his attack on Mr Lynn.’ 

Justice Croucher explained to the jury that Lynn had maintained that version of events both during his record of interview and while in the witness box before them last week. 

The jury heard Lynn’s barrister Dermott Dann, KC claimed his client’s account matched the evidence they had been presented at trial. 

‘In each case, submits Mr Dann, Mr Lynn’s account in relation to the killings is consistent with numerous other items of evidence, including the fire evidence, the anthropological evidence, the insect evidence, the medical evidence, the phone tower evidence, the blood splatter evidence, the DNA evidence and the firearms evidence,’ Justice Croucher said. 

Melanie Lynn and her step son Geordie sat hand-in-hand directly in front of Greg Lynn for the closing address by Justice Croucher

Melanie Lynn and her step son Geordie sat hand-in-hand directly in front of Greg Lynn for the closing address by Justice Croucher 

Justice Croucher said Mr Dann claimed the jury needed to accept Lynn’s account, accept it might be true or accept they can’t agree beyond reasonable doubt he is guilty of the murders. 

‘Mr Dann submits that other than Mr Lynn’s account and the evidence that supports it, there is a complete absence of evidence as to the means of which Mr Hill died or as to the circumstances,’ he said. 

‘While we know Ms Clay died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, other than Mr Lynn’s account there is a complete lack of evidence as to the circumstances to which Ms Clay died. 

In Mr Dann’s submission the prosecution are effectively asking you to fill in the vast gaps in their case with speculation.’ 

In closing his case on Wednesday, Mr Dann was scathing of the prosecution case. 

‘There is no factual basis on the prosecution case. They have none, nought, total blank,’ Mr Dann said.

‘There’s no evidence … you’re being asked to find a man guilty of murder.

‘On the prosecution case there is zero factual foundation, zero motive – just a complete blank.

‘Does that sit well with you? I mean how can it?’

Mr Dann said while his client admitted to the crime of disposing of evidence, he could not be found guilty of murder based on the evidence presented at his trial.

‘On the prosecution case there is zero factual foundation, zero motive – just a complete blank.

‘Does that sit well with you? I mean how can it?’

‘We’re in a murder trial. You’re trying to do your duty as jurors and being asked to convict a man. Well you just can’t say “well look we don’t have any evidence but let’s just convict him anyway”. That’s not how it works,’ Mr Dann said.

Lynn's barrister Dermott Dann KC savaged the prosecution case on Wednesday

Lynn’s barrister Dermott Dann KC savaged the prosecution case on Wednesday 

Mr Dann said Lynn had no reason to murder the elderly campers.

‘(Prosecutor) Mr Porceddu in his cross examination of Mr Lynn kept asking these questions about him being a pilot, you’re trained to stay calm and deal with stressful situations … each time he asked such a question it only made the alleged murder of Mr Hill more and more and more improbable,’ he said.

‘Why would that man you saw in the witness box, this calm, composed man, what’s he going to kill Mr Hill for when there’s no apparent reason to do so?’

Mr Dann said a prosecution theory Lynn killed the couple over a dispute about his flying of a drone had no evidence to support it.

‘That’s not a motive. That’s not being put forward as a motive. The prosecution accept they don’t know anything about the motive when it comes to Mr Hill,’ Mr Dann said.

‘So that is why we say ladies and gentleman to you that they don’t have a case. There is no meat on the bones. There’s nothing.’

Mr Dann described the prosecution case as hopeless.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Friday.  

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