Lawyers for Chris Dawson say he will strenuously fight allegations that he killed his wife Lynette in 1982.
The revelation comes as a bizarre new detail emerged about another missing relative in the Dawson family.
On Thursday Dawson’s lawyer Greg Walsh said the defence will argue Lynette Dawson could still be alive.
“It has happened,” Mr Walsh said. “I am aware of another case where a woman disappeared for 60 years.”
In a bizarre twist, the woman Mr Walsh was referring to was related to the Dawsons.
She was the mother-in-law of Chris Dawson’s older brother Peter.
The lawyer admitted it was an unusual coincidence, but said Peter and his mother-in-law got on well and it was “solid proof” that someone can go missing without the circumstances being suspicious.
Chris Dawson, 70, was extradited from Queensland to New South Wales and charged with murder on Thursday morning.
In T-shirt and thongs, he could have been any other traveller, but flanking him at all times were plain clothes detectives at Coolangatta Airport.
In Sydney, he was driven directly to the Sydney Police Centre where he was detained, interviewed, and charged.
A Magistrate confirmed he would be held until a bail hearing next Friday.
“This man, Chris Dawson, is entitled to the presumption of innocence, he will plead not guilty, he strenuously asserts his innocence,” solicitor Greg Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said he believed he had a strong defence.
“There’s been inadequacies in the investigation by the police,” he said.
He also argued the staggering interest in this case, led by a podcast called Teacher’s Pet that has been downloaded 27 million times, is impacting the chance of a fair trial.
“The fact of the podcast and particularly the way it was done probably is going to make the prosecution’s task quite difficult,” Melbourne Law School Professor Jeremy Gans agreed.
It was a warning echoed by former Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, who has led some of Sydney’s highest profile cases including Ivan Milat and Victor Chang.
“The amount of publicity that the Chris Dawson matter has got creates a real challenge for the criminal justice system to ensure a fair trial for Mr Dawson,” he said.
On Thursday police revealed they had narrowed down the time of the alleged murder.
Court documents reveal they believe it happened in Bayview on January 8 between 9pm and 7am the next day.
But police say their brief of evident won’t be ready until next February and the trial itself is unlikely to happen before late next year.