Greg Lynn to stand trial over alleged murders of Victorian campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay

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Former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn is on trial for the alleged murders of campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court completed a hearing on Wednesday to test whether there was sufficient evidence to take the case to court.

Magistrate Brett Sonnet told the court today that he had “considered the totality of the evidence” and believed the evidence presented to the court had “sufficient weight to support a conviction”.

Mr. Lynn formally pleaded not guilty to both charges and did not apply for bail.

Magistrate Sonnet also praised the dignity shown by the families of Mr Hill and Mrs Clay, some of whom had been at the trial.

“I understand that would have been a very difficult experience,” he said of attending the hearing.

Mr Lynn is accused of murdering the couple on March 20, 2020 in the Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Highlands.

First important hearing in high-profile case

During the hearing, spanning more than a week, Mr. Lynn sat quietly in the courtroom, listening intently to witnesses, often taking notes.

He was dressed in a dark suit, with a checked shirt and glasses.

His voice was loud and clear on the rare occasions when he addressed Magistrate Sonnet.

The hearing to review the evidence against Greg Lynn has come to an end.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

Mr Lynn was charged with the murders of campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay in November 2021, but this was the first significant hearing in his case.

The case has been in the public eye for years.

In March 2020, the public first learned of the disappearance of two pensioners in the Wonnangatta Valley, in Victoria’s picturesque High Country.

It is one of Victoria’s most remote regions, six hours from Melbourne.

A four-wheel drive is required to reach the valley, and in winter it can be inaccessible if there are road closures.

It was here that police began an extensive search in the rugged bushland after the pair were reported missing.

Their burned-out campsite and Mr. Hill’s white Landcruiser were found, but the retirees were not.

A policeman putting up a police tape to block a road, with a road closed sign, surrounded by trees, fog.
The remains of Russell Hill and Carol Clay were found in November 2021.(ABC News: Nicole Asher)

It wasn’t until November 2021 that police arrested then-Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn at Arbuckle Junction – a tiny spot on the map in Victoria’s High Country.

He was questioned at Sale police station in Gippsland for four days before being charged with two counts of murder.

The bodies of Mr. Hill and Mrs. Clay were found shortly afterwards.

The hearing provided a window into the police case against Mr Lynn

Although the case has been in the media for a long time, it was only in a small courtroom at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court that a public record of the Victoria Police’s allegations was heard for the first time.

Here Magistrate Sonnet sat elevated above the courtroom.

On the left sat Attorney-at-law John Dickie facing the Magistrate and to his right was Attorney Dermot Dann KC, representing Mr Lynn.

A huge pile of fallen trees and branches blocks part of a small river.  The scene is shrouded in fog.
The Wonnangatta Valley, where Russell Hill and Carol Clay camped, is one of Victoria’s most remote areas.(ABC News: Tim Bates)

Mr. Dickie’s job was to convince the court that the case should go to trial, while Mr. Dann’s job was to defend his client.

In the public gallery, a large media contingent, as well as the police and families of the victims, watched the hearing every day.

During this hearing, the police released a summary of their allegations.

The court heard Mr Lynn intended to plead not guilty and contest the charges.

While Mr Dickie stressed that this summary does not contain all the evidence that police will rely on, it did provide a first real glimpse of what exactly police say happened.

Police alleged that Mr Lynn killed both campers at their campsite and used a trailer to move their bodies to bushland outside Dargo.

In the summary document, police alleged that Mr Lynn later returned to burn their bodies.

Woman in white hat and blue uniform with forensic tag looks down with silver prospecting pan underneath.
Forensic teams sifted through plants and debris as they searched for the campers.(Supplied: Jason Edwards, Herald Sun)

The police letter also claimed Mr Lynn was captured the following day by Mount Hotham Alpine Resort security cameras driving out of the area. Data captured by a cell phone mast showed Mr. Hill’s phone in the same location.

The police case was also based on more than 5,000 secret recordings of Mr Lynn made using listening devices in his home, car and recording his telephone conversations.

Police claimed those recordings included Mr Lynn having conversations with himself about the deaths of Mrs Clay and Mr Hill.

Police had ‘genuine concern’ for Mr Lynn’s mental health

On the final day of the hearing, Chief Investigator Detective Brett Florence also told the court that on the morning of Mr Lynn’s arrest, police had “genuine concern” about his mental health.

But under questioning by Mr Dann, the detective said no medical assessment or assistance had been given to Mr Lynn at Sale police station where he was being questioned.

He later told the court that Mr Lynn had not been arrested until that night, when he no longer had the same concern.

Mr Lynn’s questioning with the police and an earlier statement to the police are part of the case against him but cannot be reported due to a suppression order issued by Magistrate Sonnet.

That suppression order will remain in effect until a trial begins in the Supreme Court.

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