Importing judges to avoid conflict of interest

Andrew L. Urban.

February 4, 2020: Further to our February 3 report on the former judge who has called for the Sue Neill-Fraser new appeal in Tasmania’s Supreme Court to be heard by mainland judges, we report on other such judge importations. Continue reading

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Sue Neill-Fraser appeal should be heard by mainland judges – says judge

Andrew L. Urban.

February 3, 2020: The three Tasmanian judges set to hear Sue Neill-Fraser’s new appeal in May 2020 against her 2010 conviction for the 2009 murder of her partner Bob Chappell should disqualify themselves and be replaced by interstate judges, says a former State and Federal court judge thoroughly familiar with the case. Continue reading

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Sue Neill-Fraser’s bitter sweet Australia Day

Andrew L. Urban.

January 26, 2009 was the last Australia Day that Sue Neill-Fraser enjoyed in the true spirit of Australia, with a blustery, crowded and celebratory Hobart full of young and old, her partner Bob Chappell tinkering aboard their marvellous new yacht, Four Winds, anchored in the Derwent River at Sandy Bay. She never saw him again. That August, she was charged and a year later convicted of his murder. She is still in prison, victim many believe, of a decidedly un-Australian spirit in the process that fused a deficient police investigation with a flawed prosecution and miserably unjust trial. Celebrate not, Australia, in her name.  Continue reading

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Australia “limping behind UK, NZ, Canada” in appeal laws – Kirby

“In Australia, two of the states and both mainland territories have not yet even decided to permit a second criminal appeal by leave on compelling evidence. And no jurisdiction has yet resolved to establish a Review Commission. What is it about our country that always sees us limping behind [UK, NZ and Canada] where justice is at stake, whereas we can move with astonishing speed to diminish civil liberties, increase official powers and raise levels of incarceration, with no parliamentarian raising a murmur,” writes The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG* in Criminal Law Journal, discussing right of appeal provisions.  Continue reading

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Blueprint for a fairer system

Andrew L. Urban.

Before Walkley Award winning journalist and legal historian Evan Whitton died (5 March 1928 – 16 July 2018), I had the good fortune to exchange a few notes with him about miscarriages of justice. He had written the acerbic book, Our Corrupt Legal System, whose title reflects his views about it. So we ask, How would we design a better, fairer legal system?  Continue reading

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Justice derailed – Part 1

Andrew L. Urban.

As 2020 begins, we look forward to Tasmania’s Supreme Court finally hearing Sue Neill-Fraser’s new appeal against her 2010 murder conviction in May. Also during the year, the NSW the Supreme Court is expected to hear Robert Xie’s appeal against his 2017 multiple murder conviction. In Part 1 of this series we examine these two cases where tunnel vision was a key element in securing unsafe convictions. Continue reading

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Hobart vigil for Bob Chappell & Sue Neill-Fraser

The support group for Sue Neill-Fraser, convicted of the murder of her partner Bob Chappell on Australia Day, 2009, is organising a vigil on the Parliament Lawns in Hobart. “The vigil is to remember Bob Chappell and to show our ongoing support for Sue Neill Fraser,” the Support Group said in a statement.

SATURDAY 25 JANUARY 2020
11am – 1pm
Parliament Lawns, Hobart

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Missed clues in Sue Neill-Fraser’s Statutory Declaration

Andrew L. Urban.

Eleven years ago this month, at 12.10pm on Friday, January 28, 2009, a day after her partner Bob Chappell had disappeared from their yacht, Four Winds, Sue Neill-Fraser began making a Statutory Declaration at her Allison Street home in Hobart. It contained information – clues – that would have been useful to the police investigation, but were ignored. Read it below. Continue reading

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Khashoggi murder convictions but no transparency

After a trial conducted behind closed doors, a criminal court in Riyadh on Monday (23/12/19) sentenced five ­people to death for the murder in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018; three others were sentenced to a total of 24 years. Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cen­giz (pictured) has condemned the process and wants the world to demand full transparency as to who ordered the murder. Continue reading

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NSW rape trial judge calls for reform of s293

Andrew L. Urban.

A man accused of rape has evidence of 12 incidents in which his alleged victim had made previous false claims about sexual abuse – but the court cannot allow that evidence to be heard, due to the catch-all nature of section 293 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The judge is calling for the section to be amended.  Continue reading

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