By Andrew L. Urban
Saturday, January 25, 2014: Independent MP Andrew Wilkie (Denison, Tas) became the first Tasmanian MP to speak out publicly about the controversial murder conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser, jailed in 2010 for 23 years. He spoke last Saturday morning at a protest rally outside Hobart’s Parliament House and said: “You cannot convict anyone in this country where there is any doubt. It’s as simple as that.”
Wilkie called on the Tasmanian Government to immediately order an enquiry. See Wilkie’s eight minute speech in full.
Chappell disappeared on Australia Day 2009 and in August 2009, Neill-Fraser, then 55, was charged with his murder – and (despite an unblemished record) denied bail, restricting her ability to mount a defence. At her trial in October 2010 she was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 26 years (reduced to 23 on appeal), although Chappell’s body has never been found, no murder weapon was presented in evidence, there were no witnesses and Neill-Fraser has strenuously denied her guilt.
About 300 protesters attended the 5th anniversary rally outside Hobart’s Parliament House; they also heard from Neill-Fraser’s lawyer, Barbara Etter APM, the filmmaker of Shadow of Doubt, Eve Ash, and Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles.