Tuesday 4.43pm: KEY details surrounding the alleged murder of Grafton primary school teacher Sharon Edwards have been aired in Lismore Local Court in a bail hearing for the missing woman's husband and murder accused John Wallace Edwards.
Edwards, who turned 61 today, appeared via video link from Cessnock Correctional Centre for the hearing and was represented by Lismore barrister Peter O'Connor.
The hearing was also attended by several of the missing woman's close friends from the Grafton area including Coutts Crossing Public School where she worked.
In arguing for bail Mr O'Connor said Edwards had volunteered detailed statements to police following his wife's disappearance and made no attempt to flee or conceal his whereabouts in the two years since.
He argued the case was heavily circumstantial and it was "unlikely" that Mr Edwards' location could be "definitively established" on the night in question.
Edwards had also been assaulted in prison and "terrorized" by threats from inmates since his arrest in June, prompting his relocation to a high care cell with limited access to exercise or sunshine.
He had several medical conditions including a "pre-cancer" growth and chronic emphysema which were being aggravated by his remand in custody.
Magistrate David Heilpern acknowledged the prosecution case was circumstantial but said a number of matters in the police statement of facts were "beyond simple suspicion".
He said there were discrepancies between between Edwards' first and second interviews with police, which he described as "lies and misrepresentations".
He said an injury to Edwards' hand around the time of Sharon Edwards' disappearance was also "unlikely to have occurred in the manner he described".
Magistrate Heilpern said statements made by Edwards to the police and to the media about the nature of his relationship with his estranged wife were "entirely different" to statements made by other witnesses, indicating their relationship was not as healthy as Edwards made out.
He added that mobile phone records indicating Edwards' movements around the time of his wife's disappearance could prove decisive.
"It is a circumstantial case, but not a weak one," Magistrate Heilpern declared.
Edwards appeared shocked, opening his mouth several times and waving his hands in the air when Magistrate Heilpern refused bail.
He said he had a 60-page document to prove his innocence.
The matter was adjourned to Grafton Local Court on September 5.
Tuesday 1.50pm: JOHN Edwards, the man accused of killing his estranged wife Sharon Edwards and then hiding her body, is expected to apply for bail in Lismore Local Court after lunch.
Several close friends of the missing 55-year-old are in court to watch the matter from the public gallery. They include colleagues from Coutts Crossing Public School, where she worked as a teacher.
Mr Edwards is being represented by barrister Peter O'Connor.
Just before noon the prosecution lodged a 19-page statement of facts with Magistrate David Heilpern outlining the substance of the allegations against Mr Edwards.
Magistrate Heilpern said he would read the document over lunch before returning to hear the bail application.
More to come at 3pm.
Tuesday 9.26am: THE estranged husband of missing Grafton primary school teacher Sharon Edwards will appear before Lismore Local Court today charged with his wife's murder.
John Edwards was arrested in June in Queensland where he was extradited to NSW and subsequently appeared in Tweed Heads Local Court, where the matter was adjourned. He was remanded in custody.
Coincidentally the father of three turns 62 today.
The disappearance of Mrs Edwards has baffled police and her family since she went missing in 2015.
The much loved primary school teacher was last seen leaving Grafton's Good Intent Hotel at about 10.30pm on March 14 2015 after a night out with friends.
Her body has never been found despite several searches.
Police will allege that an altercation between Mrs Edwards and her husband led to her murder.
More information to come.
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