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UTS professor accused of sending letters to herself ‘not a drama queen’, court told

A former professor at the University of Technology Sydney accused of sending threatening letters to herself is not a “drama queen” or “Machiavellian creature” and had no motive to perpetrate the threats, a jury has been told.

Dianne Jolley, 51, is on trial in the NSW District Court after she allegedly sent ten letters to herself in 2019 containing underwear, photographs of herself, and threats about a course closure including “I know where you live” and “racist bitch, China-hating lesbian, I watch you, I see what you do, you’re not safe”.

Dianne Jolley arrives at court on Wednesday.

Dianne Jolley arrives at court on Wednesday.Credit:Rhett Wyman

As a result of the letters, and clothing found cut up at Ms Jolley’s home, the university spent $127,586.93 on security measures for the former dean of science including CCTV, private security guards and a duress alarm.

Ms Jolley has pleaded not guilty to one count of causing financial disadvantage by deception, and 10 counts of conveying information she knew to be false or misleading to make a person fear for their safety. She has admitted to writing one of the letters, in an attempt to get fired due to the stress, but denies writing the rest.

On Wednesday, Ms Jolley’s barrister Leah Rowan said in closing remarks that her client has a reputation at the highest level, and the suggestion she would send threatening letters to herself defies common sense.

“[The Crown] gave you a motive that just doesn’t make any sense and isn’t backed up by any evidence,” Ms Rowan said.

“The ultimate proposition is Professor Jolley is some kind of drama queen, despite the fact that she has never shown any sort of behaviour that would be consistent with that. I don’t know if [the Crown] is suggesting she’s some sort of Machiavellian creature who’s using counter-intuitive behaviour.

Some of the letters were sent to the University of Technology, Sydney.

Some of the letters were sent to the University of Technology, Sydney. Credit:Steven Siewert

“You might think, based on her reputation, based on the CV you’ve got, she’s not either of those things. What she is, is a person who’s the face of the closure of the Traditional Chinese Medicine course, and is the subject of increasingly – to use her word – creepy behaviour.”

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