Jury retires at trial of ex-UTS professor

·2-min read

A Sydney jury has begun deliberating at the trial of a former university dean accused of faking threats against her, by mailing menacing letters, cutting up her own clothes and sending herself her own underwear.

Dianne Jolley has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of conveying information likely to make a person fear for their safety, knowing that it was misleading, over the material sent to UTS and her home between May and November 2019.

"Chop our future we chops yours," read one card. "China hating lesbian," read another.

One letter contained underwear she said was stolen from her yard.

Jolley has also pleaded not guilty to one charge of causing financial disadvantage by deception to her work.

In a NSW District Court trial spanning five weeks, the Crown argued the 51-year-old had sent herself the menacing letters to garner sympathy from the faculty as she tried to close down the university's traditional Chinese medicine course.

But the 51-year-old's legal team has argued she is the victim in her case.

The threats were real, and motivated by her controversial plan to close the Chinese medicine course, defence lawyer Leah Rowan said.

As they made their closing submissions in the NSW District Court last week, both crown prosecutor Roger Kimball and Ms Rowan argued the case could be decided by using common sense.

Jolley has admitted drafting one letter herself, after she was caught on CCTV shortly before her arrest in November 2019, and her fingerprint was found on the sticky side of a postage stamp on another containing her underwear.

The letters were all formatted similarly and Jolley had the opportunity to mail them or place them where they would be found, Mr Kimball said.

Jolley gave evidence she had deliberately been caught writing the final letter so that UTS would dismiss her, saving her a three-month notice period if she resigned.

But she denies sending the other threats.

Ms Rowan argued the jury should find Jolley not guilty, saying the allegations made no sense.

The prosecution's case comes down to the idea that a person with a reputation "of the highest level" would throw it all away to try to push through the closure of a course, which was not even her responsibility, she said.

It was "ludicrous" to suggest Jolley would expose herself to humiliation by sending her own underwear to UTS in the mail.

"She was the victim in this case," Ms Rowan concluded.

The jury retired to consider their verdict just before 1pm on Monday.

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