Men Charged A Second Time Over the Death of Lynette Daley

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Footprint on the beach

On the day after Australia Day in 2011, Paramedics were called to a remote area of Ten Mile Beach in Northern New South Wales. On the sand, a woman lay dead. Two men were with her when she died.

For the past five years, the family and friends of 33-year-old mother Lynette Daley have been campaigning for justice, and last week, those two men were charged in relation to her death.

Ms Daley’s alleged boyfriend at the time, 42-year-old Adrian Attwater, who is now living in Townsville, has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault.

His friend, 46-year-old Paul Maris, of Wauchope in northern New South Wales, has been charged with accessory after the fact to manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault.

DPP Review

The charges come after increased pressure from several quarters, including the media, which led to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) reviewing the case.

The Coroner’s report originally found that Lynette died from violent sexual acts performed on her when she was drunk.

Adrain Attwater and Paul Maris both admitted to police that they had sex with Lynette in the back of a 4WD while camping on the beach on 27 January, 2011, but the pair claimed it was consensual.

Both men were initially charged in relation to Ms Daley’s death after State Coroner Michael Barnes found there was sufficient evidence to prosecute and for a jury to convict the men. However, the proceedings were later discontinued due to a lack of evidence.

At the time of the inquest, the Coroner described the men’s behaviour as callous. He found they had burned a blood-soaked mattress and some of Ms Daley’s clothes before seeking help. The Coroner also found Ms Daley was so intoxicated – having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.352 -that she could not have consented to sex.

As community frustration mounted in ensuing years, the Director of Public Prosecutions Lloyd Babb SC agreed to review the decision to drop the charges.

“Recent media reports have raised questions about my office’s decision not to prosecute following the tragic death of Lynette Daley. I acknowledge the understandable distress of the family and the community,” Mr Babb said in a statement.

“It is appropriate that I review the matter to determine whether the correct decision was made.

“Given the importance of maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice, I have taken the unusual step of seeking advice from independent counsel, Philip Strickland SC and Belinda Baker.

“These two very experienced and highly regarded barristers from the private bar will review all the material and provide their advice to me.”

Family Hopeful

The family and friends of Ms Daley hope the proceedings will finally bring justice and closure to a tragedy which has tormented them for the past five years.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ms Daley’s stepfather, Gordon Davis said this was the outcome the family had been fighting for.

“We’re still emotionally drained but when we heard the news we all just cried, because the long wait is over to see if we can get any justice for Lynette,” he said.

“We fought long and hard and with every bit of strength and last breath we’ve got and something’s eventuated, so it makes it all worthwhile never to give up.

“Persistence paid off in the end.”

The defendants are due to appear in Grafton Local Court next month.

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Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and owner of 'Woman with Words'. She has a strong interest in social justice and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team. Sonia is the winner of the Mondaq Thought Leadership Awards, Spring 2022.

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