Andrew L. Urban.
In the wake of Meaghan Vass admitting her presence at the murder of Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, during her interview on 60 Minutes (Sunday, March 10, 2019) – contradicting the murder conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser – police have interviewed her, but no further action is foreseen.
The police continue to have full confidence in their investigations into the case.
The Advocate reported March 11, 2019:
Tasmania Police said it was aware of the contents of the 60 Minutes story.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling said police re-interviewed Ms Vass last week when the program’s promotional material suggested a new version of events.
“The version of events given by Ms Vass on 60 Minutes is contrary to her previous police interview, contrary to her sworn evidence in court and contrary to last week’s police interview,” Commander Cowling said.
In her interview on 60 Minutes, Vass had said she wouldn’t tell the police what she was revealing on air – but was prepared to say it under oath in court.
“We continue to have full confidence in both the original and current police investigators and reiterate that Sue Neill-Fraser stood trial and was convicted by a jury.”
“Well of course it is true that most wrongful conviction cases involve people who have been convicted by a jury,” responds Dr Bob Moles, legal academic and author on miscarriages of justice.
“It is also true that sometimes juries get it wrong or are misinformed … The question here is not whether the Assistant Commissioner has confidence in the police investigation or in Ms Vass but whether her recent statement if known to the jury at the time of the trial would have influenced their verdict. If so the conviction must be overturned. The police must be expected to apply the correct legal test.”
There is ample history on convictions being found wrongful, Dr Moles points out. “It should be borne in mind that the UK’s Criminal Cases Review Commission has identified 430 cases where those convicted by a jury subsequently had their convictions overturned.”
NEWSFLASH: When requested earlier today, Tasmania Police have declined to provide further particulars about their latest interview with Vass, which they claim “is contrary to” her statements on 60 Minutes.