Sue Neill-Fraser case media frenzy coming

Andrew L. Urban.

A veritable frenzy of media investigations into the Sue Neill-Fraser conviction is due to reach the public beginning on Australia Day, the 10th Anniversary of Bob Chappell’s disappearance, of whose murder she was convicted in 2010. And in the middle of it all, the February 5 Supreme Court hearing of her seeking leave to appeal …

It all begins on Saturday, 26 January, 2019, here at :-

26 January:we mark the 10th anniversary of Bob Chappell’s disappearance with a flashback 

27 January:we publish an investigation into why the Tasmanian DPP’s office is trying to paint investigative author and former detective Colin McLaren as an unregistered private investigator – a crime. 

29 January: Colin McLaren’s new book, Southern Justice (Hachette) is published; McLaren spends two and a half years researching his book to discover what really happened to Bob Chappell 10 years ago. It’s shattering on several levels. We publish our review of the book, the first of a short series on its contents.

29 January:  McLaren interviewed on national television about the book (TBC)

30 January: Channel 7 launch (except in Tasmania) the 6 x 1 hour TV series, Undercurrent, a deep dive investigation into the case by filmmaker Eve Ash (Shadow of Doubt, 2013) Missing Man and CJZ Productions; McLaren was involved as investigative reporter. This bombshell series reveals all the flaws of the police investigation, all the evidence and all witnesses that were missed, and more – the result is the truth of what really happened. This will not be news to TasPol: they seized and viewed the 500 hours of raw footage, believing there was a plan to pervert the course of justice. We publish our review of the series.

2 February: major newspaper feature on McLaren’s book (TBC)

5 February:Supreme Court of Tasmania, in front of Justice Brett. McLaren cross examined by video link from Melbourne over his affidavit concerning a sworn statement by Meaghan Vass which he helped her draft. References to the Undercurrent footage …

6 February: we and othermedia report on the hearing and any orders made by Justice Brett

7 February: we publish our investigation into the dangers to free speech and free press posed by responses to media about the Sue Neill-Fraser case

9 February: review of McLaren’s book Southern Justice published in The Spectator Australia

12 February: we publish an exploration of the missing evidence in the case

19 February: the third book investigating the Neill-Fraser case is published: Death on the Derwent(Scribe) is by crime writing veteran Robin Bowles. Her highly readable book confirms that much was wrong with the investigation and trial and sheds new light on what happened behind the scenes. The first book was Murder by the Prosecution (Wilkinson Publishing), by this writer, published in September 2018. We review the book.

Date TBA February:we publish snapshots about a key aspect of the original police investigation and the mysterious detective involved

Date TBA February:in the wake of the hearings seeking leave to appeal – is there a case for a Royal Commission into how this case has been handled?

This is not a complete list of media breaks expected.

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6 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser case media frenzy coming

  1. Helen Adkins says:

    Firstly this case has gone world-wide and makes Tasmania look “silly” This was purely a “stitch-up” – another Chamberlain case where the “big wigs” won’t admit they got it so wrong. This is a blot on Tasmania’s justice system. This needs investigating at the highest government level – namely the Royal Commission.
    The criminal appeal system in Tasmania is in breach of International human rights obligations – and has been for over 30 years as stated by Dr. Bob Moles former Associate Professor of Law who has investigated alleged miscarriages of justice for 14 years.

    Primarily the scene of the supposed “murder” should have been cordoned off until everything had been properly examined and recorded by Forensic Scientists, not by the police.

    It is quite clear there is not a scintilla of evidence which implicates Ms Neill-Fraser in the murder of her partner or no evidence to show that he has in fact been murdered. Afterall each year 35,000 people are reported missing in Australia.

    Worst case of injustice since the Lindy Chamberlain case.

    • andrew says:

      Helen, you can sign the petition for a Royal Commission at

    • Tony says:

      I believe Susan Neill-Fraser is innocent as well as the lack of hard evidence presented in this case is dismal. I disagree that that it is the worst case of injustice since the Lindy Chamberlain case. Martin Bryant’s stitch up by the Tassie police for the Port Arthur massacre would have to fill that bill.

      I would love to see Colin McLaren powers of investigation look into the many inconsistencies and injustices of this conviction. The only way they could get a conviction was to wait 7 months for his corrupt solicitor to get a confession from this poor boy who had an IQ of a 13 year old.

  2. Garry Stannus says:

    Thank you for this update, Andrew. And behind all of this activity, Susan Neill-Fraser is still imprisoned for a crime for which – one must now conclude – she should not have been convicted. I agree with Rodger Warren’s call for a Royal Commission. Regardless of the outcome of SN-F’s application for leave to make a second appeal, there will remain too many unanswered questions.

    In my opinion, the Tasmanian Police are irretrievably committed to a ‘She Dun It’ scenario. They do not appear to be able to help in finding out what happened to Bob Chappell. In my opinion, we need an inquisitorial process, but the appeal process as conducted is adversarial.

    Unfortunately yet also fortuitously, this case has become ‘bigger than Ben Hur’. We await the 5th Feb when Colin McLaren will give evidence (via video from Melbourne). I expect this will be pivotal in what has taken place so far in the quest for a 2nd appeal. Despite what is viewed as a concerted police attack-by-arrest of those associated with the 2nd appeal attempt, McLaren remains free and able to speak. I fear that DPP Coates will seek to associate him with the ‘perversion of justice’ smears rather than to honestly cross-examine the witness in order to find the facts. Such is our adversarial system of justice.

    Incidentally, I’ve recently listened to two very interesting radio programs which, for those who have time, have much to contribute to the understanding of aspects of Sue Neill-Fraser’s conviction and application for a 2nd appeal:
    Law Report / Damian Carrick Pixilated prisoners: Having your day in court via audio visual link
    [ ]
    Conversations / Hamish Macdonald: How ‘the man in the hat’ walked free
    [ ]

  3. Andy says:

    Or 60 minutes I hear.

  4. Rodger Warren says:

    It appears only a Royal Commission can get to the truth in the disappearance of Bob Chappell.

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