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

Greg Lynn faces the final days of his murder trial
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The jury tasked with deciding the fate of a former Jetstar pilot accused of murdering two elderly campers has been told it will be a case of 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, mountain region of the state on March 20, 2020.

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

Greg Lynn faces the final days of his murder trial

Greg Lynn faces the final days of his murder trial

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

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

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

The jury heard that their decision must now be a unanimous verdict of murder or acquittal.

“Manslaughter will no longer be available to you as an alternative charge at this trial,” Judge Croucher said.

‘Having heard all the evidence, counsel agrees, as do I, that if you were not convinced beyond reasonable doubt of murder in any case, there would be no basis for an alternative verdict of guilty of manslaughter. ‘

Judge Croucher said if the jury could not be satisfied with a murder conviction, it could not convict of manslaughter.

“In these circumstances, any guilty verdict for manslaughter in the alternative would be incorrect both in fact and in law,” he said.

“Accordingly, you must put manslaughter out of your thoughts. Instead, the only charge before you is murder, and that is up to you to decide.”

The jury heard that the prosecution had not provided any real precise evidence as to how and why Lynn killed Mr Hill.

“The prosecution case against Mr Hill is that Mr Lynn murdered Mr Hill under unknown circumstances and by unknown means. “The only thing the prosecution can say about the circumstances is that Mr Hill and Mr Lynn must have had an argument in some way, perhaps over the drone,” Judge Croucher said.

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

“The prosecution case against Ms. Clay is that under 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 in the head with his shotgun.”

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

“If it is committed in the belief that he murdered Mr Hill and Ms Clay, it is conduct that is incriminating conduct under the law,” Judge Croucher said.

Turning to the defence, Judge Croucher told the jury that Lynn claimed Ms Clay died as a result of an accidental shooting during a fight between himself and Mr Hill.

‘The defense in relation to Mr Hill is that he died as a result of an accidental stabbing during his attack on Mr Lynn.’

Judge Croucher explained to the jury that Lynn had maintained this version of events, both during his account of the interview and when he was in the witness box last week.

The jury heard from Lynn’s attorney Dermott Dann. KC claimed that his client’s story matched the evidence presented at trial.

“In any event, Mr. Dann argues, Mr. Lynn’s account of the murders is consistent with numerous other pieces of evidence, including the fire evidence, the anthropological evidence, the insect evidence, the medical evidence, the telephone tower evidence, the blood splatter evidence, the DNA evidence and the firearms evidence,” Judge Croucher said.

Judge Croucher said Mr Dann argued the jury had to accept Lynn’s story, accept that it could be true, or accept that they cannot agree beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty of the murders.

“Mr Dann claims that, apart from Mr Lynn’s story and the evidence supporting it, there is a complete lack of evidence as to how Mr Hill died or the circumstances,” he said.

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

According to Mr. Dann, the prosecutor is essentially asking you to fill in the huge gaps in their case with speculation.”

Closing his case on Wednesday, Mr Dann was scathing about the prosecution case.

‘There is no factual basis for the prosecution case. They have nothing, nothing, completely blank,” Mr Dann said.

‘There is no evidence… you are being asked to find a man guilty of murder.

‘In the prosecution case there is no factual basis whatsoever, no motive, there is just a completely blank story.

‘Are you okay with that? I mean, how is that possible?’

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

‘In the prosecution case there is no factual basis whatsoever, no motive, there is just a completely blank story.

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‘Are you okay with that? I mean, how is that possible?’

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

Lynn's lawyer Dermott Dann KC blasted the prosecution case on Wednesday

Lynn's lawyer Dermott Dann KC blasted the prosecution case on Wednesday

Lynn’s lawyer Dermott Dann KC blasted the prosecution case on Wednesday

Mr Dann said Lynn had no reason to kill the older campers.

‘(Prosecutor) Mr Porceddu during his cross-examination of Mr Lynn kept asking these questions about the fact that he is a pilot, you are trained to stay calm and deal with stressful situations… every time he had such question only made Mr Hill’s alleged murder increasingly unlikely,” he said.

“Why would that man you saw on the witness stand, this calm, collected man, what is he going to kill Mr. Hill for if there’s no apparent reason to do so?”

Mr Dann said the prosecution’s theory that Lynn killed the couple over a dispute over flying a drone had no evidence to support it.

‘That’s not a motive. That is not presented as a motive. The prosecution accepts that they know nothing about the motive when it comes to Mr Hill,” Dann said.

“So that’s why we say, ladies and gentlemen, that they have no case. There is no meat on the bones. There is nothing.’

Mr Dann described the prosecution case as hopeless.

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

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