Friday's Quicky: Chris Dawson to stand trial, NSW bushfires contained, travel ban extended.

1. Chris Dawson to stand trial over wife’s murder.

Chris Dawson has been committed to stand trial for the murder of his wife on Sydney’s northern beaches nearly 40 years ago.

Dawson will face trial in the Supreme Court later this year after being committed by magistrate Jacqueline Trad in the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday.

The 71-year-old former teacher and Newtown Jets rugby league player has pleaded not guilty.

After Dawson was told he would face a jury over the alleged murder of Lynette Dawson in January 1982, his brother-in-law, Ross Hutcheon, told the court he saw her alive later that year.

Mr Hutcheon, giving evidence from Western Australia via video link, told the committal hearing he was driving along Victoria Road in Gladesville three to six months after Lynette’s disappearance when he saw her standing at a bus stop.

“I immediately recognised her as Lyn Dawson,” the accused’s brother-in-law said.

“I also noted at the time to my left was Gladesville Hospital. Lyn was a nurse. I put the two together. Lyn was standing outside the hospital where I assume she was working.”

lyn dawson news
Chris and Lynette. Image: Supplied.

Mr Hutcheon said he was well acquainted with Lynette Dawson after she and her husband came to live with him for three months while their house was being built.

He claimed he turned around several minutes down the road but by the time he returned to the bus stop the woman he thought was Lynette Dawson was gone.

He said he regretted not speaking with her and did not report the sighting at the time - despite knowing Lynette was listed as missing.

Mr Hutcheon did not give evidence of the sighting until two police officers came to his home in October 1999.


He also did not appear at two inquests into Lynette Dawson's disappearance.

"As far as I was concerned, police had every detail I saw at the sighting," Mr Hutcheon said.

"I thought the system knew."

Earlier this week, 101-year-old family friend Elva McBay and former Dawson neighbours Peter and Jill Breese told the court they saw Lynette Dawson alive in Sydney in the years after she went missing.

2. All NSW bushfires have been contained.

All bush and grass fires burning across NSW are contained for the first time this bushfire season, authorities say.

The NSW Rural Fire Service on Thursday afternoon announced the news while describing the season as "traumatic and exhausting".

Heavy rainfall last weekend saw parts of the state record more than 300mm within 48 hours along the coast.

The east coast low downpours, which caused widespread flash flooding and storm damage, put out 30 fires on the weekend, the RFS revealed earlier this week.

Listen: Does all this rain mean for the bushfire crisis is over? And what about the drought? The Quicky explains.

The Lindfield Road fire, which had been burning through the Port Macquarie region for 210 days, was extinguished on Wednesday after burning through 858 hectares of which 400 were peat soils underground.

The Currowan fire burning in the Shoalhaven region was extinguished on Saturday night after burning for 74 days and destroying 312 homes.

As of Thursday evening, just 24 grass fires remained burning in the state, all of which were located south of Sydney.

"All fires are contained so we can really focus on helping people rebuild," RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said.

There were more than 11,000 bush and grass fires across NSW this fire season with more than 5.4 million hectares burnt, 2400 homes destroyed and 25 lives lost.

3. Government extends ban on travellers from China.

The coronavirus-related travel ban preventing Chinese visitors and students from entering Australia, which was due to end this weekend, will be extended for a further week.

From February 15, foreign nationals who have been in mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they left.

Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members, but they must self-isolate for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.

The restrictions will be reviewed in one week.

"We did not take this decision lightly," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday, after a national security committee meeting.


"We are very mindful of the disruption and economic impacts of these arrangements, but I note Australia is one of 58 countries that has introduced some form of travel restrictions."

Image: Getty.

The Chinese embassy in Canberra responded on Thursday night to the move.

"We express our deep regret and dissatisfaction over the Australian government's announcement," a spokesman said in a statement.

"The World Health Organisation has repeatedly stressed that it does not recommend putting travel and trade restrictions on China.

"Only Australia and a small number of countries have taken such extreme measures which are an overreaction indeed.

"We urge the Australian side to... respect WHO's professional recommendations, and lift the restrictions as early as possible."

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said the key concern was the spread of the virus, officially known as COVID-19, across China.

There are now more than 60,000 confirmed cases of the virus, most of them in the province of Hubei where it was first detected, and 1357 people have died.

More than 240 deaths were reported on Wednesday alone, the highest number of fatalities on a single day since the virus was first reported in December.

Of the 15 cases in Australia, six have been cleared and the remaining nine are all stable.

No quarantined Australians at Christmas Island and Darwin have tested positive for the virus, with the first group of evacuees due to return home on Monday.

Featured image: Getty.

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