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Police witness is accused of lying and plotting to disrupt double murder trial of Jetstar pilot alleged to have killed secret lovers

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A police witness has been accused of lying and plotting to disrupt the double-murder trial of former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn with a ‘half-baked’ theory.

During cross-examination of Victoria Police forensic officer Mark Gellatly on Thursday, defence barrister Dermot Dann KC suggested Mr Gellatly’s evidence the previous day was a ‘flagrant breach’ of his duty as an expert to give impartial evidence.

On Wednesday, the jury heard the DNA expert had been asked to test Lynn’s Barathrum Arms SP-12 shotgun for blood in March 2022.

Lynn, 57, is facing trial in Victoria's Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to allegations he murdered Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73

Lynn, 57, is facing trial in Victoria’s Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to allegations he murdered Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73

Mr Gellatly said there were no traces of blood on the external surface, but ‘red-brown staining’ was swabbed from inside the barrel.

‘We have a theory, or there’s a known phenomenon with firearms – when they’re fired, there’s a vacuum that’s created in the barrel and blood can be drawn back in,’ he said.

Mr Gellatly said a ‘very partial’ single-source DNA profile was obtained, but it was insufficient to compare to existing profiles for Russell Hill, Carol Clay or Lynn.

The officer was questioned at length by Mr Dann about this, who noted in Mr Gellatly’s statements and 360 pages of notes he had not mentioned the ‘vacuum theory’, nor given the defence notice of his intention to mention it.

‘Can’t you see coming up with that three weeks into a murder trial is totally inconsistent with your obligations as an expert witness?’ He questioned.

‘It looks like half-baked theories that end up going nowhere.’

Mr Gellatly responded that he had made it clear he was not a ballistic expert, and claimed he mentioned the theory only to explain why he had sampled the barrel of the gun.

The jury was told only one out of 42 DNA sites was present in the shotgun’s barrel, and the officer now agrees it’s ‘possible’ the staining could have been gun oil.

Mr Dann suggested he had discussed this with prosecutors earlier in the week.

The jury heard the officer had initially denied it was ever discussed when questioned in the morning, but now said he can’t recall if the subject was broached.

‘I’m saying you’re lying,’ Mr Dann retorted.

‘You think if you admit discussing it, it looks bad on the prosecutors.’

‘No,’ the officer said.

Russell Hill

Carol Clay

Russell Hill and Carol Clay were both killed

Mr Gellatly had ‘zero’ training in the vacuum theory other than knowing of the theory’s existence, the jury heard.

Mr Dann suggested the theory had ‘absolutely no relevance’ to this case, where Lynn had given an account of the gun accidentally misfiring and killing Ms Clay from 3-4m away.

‘Whose idea was it to float up a theory of which you had no expertise?’ he said.

Mr Gellatly responded with: ‘I have no idea.’

Earlier, during his examination-in-chief, the forensic officer told the jury he was asked to examine inside the canopy of Mr Hill’s Toyota LandCruiser for the ‘possible presence of blood’ in February 2022.

In a compartment on the passenger side, he said he located six small ‘apparent’ blood stains and three ‘jelly-like’ fatty deposits.

He told the jury testing could not confirm the stains were blood, but his conclusion was it ‘most likely was blood, noting testing can return a false negative when heat-affected.

Testing of one stain and one fatty deposit returned DNA samples with ‘extremely strong support’ for the proposition it originated from Ms Clay.

Mr Gellatly said splatter analysis indicated ‘some sort of forceful event’ had occurred, but there wasn’t enough information to make a finding on the mechanism.

‘Excluding a freak gust of wind … my best possible guess is the event occurred forward of this,’ he said.

Lynn, 57, is facing trial in Victoria’s Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to allegations he murdered Mr Hill, 74, and Mrs Clay, 73, in the evening of March 20, 2020.

The elderly couple vanished while on a camping trip in the remote Wonnangatta Valley, with their remains discovered more than 20 months later under a felled tree in bushland, the jury was told.

The jury were shown pictures of the stain on the internal divider. Picture: Supplied/ Supreme Court of Victoria

The jury were shown pictures of the stain on the internal divider. Picture: Supplied/ Supreme Court of Victoria

Prosecutors allege Lynn killed the pair, likely after a confrontation with Mr Hill, while the former pilot has asked the jury to accept they both died in tragic accidents.

At the start of the trial, Mr Dann told the jury his client had given an account of Ms Clay being accidentally shot in the head as the two men wrestled over the gun.

He said Lynn told police after his arrest that Mr Hill had come at him with a knife soon after, but fell on the blade and died.

Jurors were sent home shortly after 3.30pm for a ‘long weekend’, as Justice Michael Croucher said there were no more witnesses available this week.

He said the next witness the prosecution had intended to call was the informant, Detective Sergeant Brett Florence, but he was ‘crook’.

‘You may have noticed Detective Florence was not here this week,’ Justice Croucher said.

‘He is in the process of getting over his illness and was given a medical certificate until the weekend. We expect he’ll be here on Monday.’

Justice Croucher told jurors the trial, estimated to run for up to six weeks, remained ‘ahead of schedule’.

The trial continues. 



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