Current track




Judge’s message to missing campers jury

Written by on May 9, 2024

An airline pilot accused of killing a couple during a remote camping trip will stand trial in Melbourne.

Police allege Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, were murdered after the pair vanished in the Wonnangatta Valley, about five hours northeast of Melbourne.

Former Jetstar captain Gregory Stuart Lynn, 57, appeared in the Victorian Supreme Court on Thursday as a jury was selected to hear his case.

Wearing a blue suit and with glasses hanging around his neck, the father of two stood to plead not guilty to both counts of murder.

Providing a brief summary of the allegations to the jury pool, Justice Michael Croucher said the Crown alleged Mr Lynn shot Ms Clay in the head and then killed Mr Hill at Bucks Camp.

He said it was alleged the pair and Mr Lynn were camping at the remote site in the Alpine Valley at the same time.

Mr Lynn was charged over the alleged murders of Mr Hill and Ms Clay in November 2021 – 20 months after they vanished.

Justice Croucher warned jurors there had been “a lot of publicity about this case” since 2020, urging anyone who felt they could not be impartial to request to be excused.

“Trial by jury represents an important contribution to our justice system,” Justice Croucher said.

“That system can’t operate unless people are prepared to put their hands up and perform the solemn duty in an impartial way.”

He further warned anyone “squeamish” to consider asking to be excused as they might have to see graphic evidence.

“You will be dealing with a case that by definition involves death,” he said.

Ahead of the jury ballot, prospective jurors were informed the trial was expected to run for the next four to six weeks.

Over the course of an hour, a pool of 74 Victorians were whittled down by ballot to the 12 jury members, and two substitutes, who will determine Mr Lynn’s guilt or innocence of the charges.

The jury is made up of six women and eight men, representing a diverse range of occupations, ages and ethnicities.

Delivering his charge to the jury, Justice Croucher said they must dispassionately assess the evidence and consider Mr Lynn to be innocent unless the prosecution is able to prove otherwise beyond reasonable doubt.

He outlined the elements of murder that must be proven, before advising the jury if they found him not guilty they would have to consider the alternative charge of manslaughter.

Mr Lynn’s defence is being led by prominent barrister Dermot Dann KC, while Daniel Porceddu will head the prosecution.

Each are expected to deliver their opening remarks to the jury on Friday, outlining the case and what they say the jury should make of it, before evidence begins next week.

Mr Lynn wrote in a yellow notepad as jury members were warned not to discuss the case outside of the jury room. 

The trial continues.

Read related topics:Melbourne