Sue Neill-Fraser appeal to go ahead, amidst tough questions

Andrew L. Urban.

What are the ramifications of keeping Sue Neill-Fraser in jail as a convicted murderer when the whole world has heard she is innocent of the crime? What excuse can Tasmania’s slow-lane legal system have for allowing an obviously unsafe murder conviction to loll about the courts for eight years (since first appeal)? At what cost protect the conviction? Which judges will sit on the appeal bench?

The questions posed above are just some that are foremost in the wake of today’s decision by Justice Brett of the Supreme Court to grant Neill-Fraser leave to appeal her 2010 conviction for the murder of her partner, Bob Chappell, on board their yacht, Four Winds on Australia Day 2009.

Justice Brett

THE WORLD KNOWS
The combination of media reports covering the 6-part TV series Undercurrent (Seven Network) which concluded on March 6, 2019 and the Meaghan Vass admission that she witnessed the murder – Neill-Fraser absent – on 60 Minutes (Nine Network) on March 10, 2019, which came in the wake of three books unpacking and each thoroughly discrediting the Neill-Fraser conviction, has ensured world wide acknowledgement of her innocence. The only people clinging to the notion of her guilt are those invested in protecting the conviction. Readers can imagine who they might be. (The Vass admission is only the most powerful evidence that the conviction is wrong, not the only element.)

ORIGINAL SIN
The ‘original sin’, the factor that justifies the claim that this was an obviously unsafe

Meaghan Vass (fb 2019)

conviction, was police first ignoring then fumbling the powerful evidence of a large, strong DNA sample at the crime scene – which did not match Sue Neill-Fraser’s DNA. This failure set off a chain reaction that embroiled the DPP (both Tim Ellis SC and successor Darryl Coates SC) when it came to court, where over the past eight years it was downplayed, dismissed and denigrated at every step from trial to appeal, to High Court to this most recent seeking leave to appeal. The system sought to protect the conviction, in favour of seeking the truth.

THE SLOW ASS
Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist accused the law of being an ass (donkey); it is also rather slow, as this example amply illustrates. The absence of any sense of urgency by the legal establishment has been unconscionable. A convicted person, in this case Neill-Fraser, is deprived of liberty and restricted in her ability to agitate the system for a review, both by those restrictions and by the legal framework. If there is an obviously unsafe conviction, the proper response is to fast-track the process to a judicial review, not hinder it as has been the case. In no other area of potential human suffering would this absence of compassion be tolerated – not in failures in medicine, not in safety or security. Reform is urgently needed.

Psychologist/filmmaker Eve Ash (Undercurrent, Seven Network) said the system was far too slow. “If Sue was overseas, in prison for 10 years and someone came forward and said a local criminal had done the murder – you’d have the PM, ambassadors, the AG, the whole country up in arms. It’s like leaving a wounded soldier out on a battle field while we decide who should go and rescue her!”

THE COSTS OF DENIAL
Who will reveal to the Tasmanian taxpayers the unjustifiable cost in cash and time resources of the State acting in denial, resisting this latest judicial review of the case? The costs of the DPP, his junior and several employees defending the conviction at multiple hearings in just the last three years (10 days in court alone), the costs of police raiding and seizing, the cost of transcribing 500 hours of raw tv footage, the costs of preparing charges of perverting justice against those pursuing the truth … and the costs of surveillance not disclosed.

The costs that cannot be counted in dollars are the deepening polarisation caused by the delays within the community and the loss of public confidence in the justice system.

THE JUDGES
The appeal will be heard by three judges – but which three? The following judges have sat on the Neill-Fraser trial and appeals:
Justice Blow (conviction at trial, 2010 – now Chief Justice),
Crawford CJ, Tennent and Porter JJ (appeal, 2011 – refused)
French CJ, Crennan J (High Court, 2012 – permission to appeal refused)
Justice Brett (further appeal, leave granted, 2019)

There are just 37 judges (six on the Supreme Court) and magistrates in Tasmania. All of them will have followed this case and may wish to recuse themselves. Tasmania may wish to ‘borrow’ some from the mainland.

Then there are these other questions begging to be answered:
What are the police doing to protect Meaghan Vass and to investigate the men on the yacht with her?

The Sue Neill-Fraser Support group issued a statement immediately after the decision was announced late afternoon on 21 March, 2019:

Sue Neill-Fraser, Australia Day2009

Sue Neill-Fraser’s Support Group welcomes the decision brought down today by Justice Brett. We are immensely grateful to Justice Brett for the objectivity, professionalism and courtesy he has displayed as presiding Judge. This is the first time in ten years that Sue has been given reason for hope in her long quest for justice.

We remain deeply concerned for Sue’s well-being. An innocent woman remains in prison. Her case has highlighted the parlous state of the justice system in Tasmania – how much longer will she have to remain incarcerated while antiquated legal procedures unfold?

Currently tax-payers money is being used in a dragged-out investigation of those people who tried to speak out about the injustice. Instead of this, questions must be asked about what is being done to investigate the many issues and anomalies that have been brought to light during the Appeal application. What is being done to investigate the new evidence given by Meaghan Vass? What is being done to support and protect Meaghan Vass?

A sense of urgency is needed in dealing with this matter, to ensure that vulnerable people are afforded due process and there is a swift righting of wrongs.

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40 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser appeal to go ahead, amidst tough questions

  1. Sam Reid says:

    It is always interesting to observe others reviewing such cases and providing assured comments about what happened. There seems to be a growing trend to criticise the judicial process and those involved in the criminal justice system. It is all well and good to throw mud at those who didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. Let’s wait and see what occurs before we become so confident there was a conspiracy. We haven’t even heard the outcome of charges of the others who have allegedly attempted to pervert the course of justice yet. It seems many are quick to judge, despite accusing the authorities of doing that very thing.

    Miscarriages of justice occur – no denying that, but not everything is a conspiracy. Do a google search and see there are still people who believe Martin Bryant was framed.

    • MM says:

      I don’t believe the Port Arthur conspiracy theories but I do believe a miscarriage of Justice occurred.

      That isn’t to suggest he wouldn’t have ended up in prison had justice been carried out correctly – but the corrupt method of getting to the same outcome robbed victims of a great number of things that have been otherwise detrimental to the healing process. Such as (but not limited to):

      1) Closure – to be given the opportunity to look him in the eye and express the great pain, devastation and sadness he caused

      2) Answering questions – could the victims who were trapped at the fire exit have escaped if it weren’t locked? Why has all/any info about the Beating Retreat reenactment 3 weeks earlier either vanished or been locked down for 50 years and what role did it play in preventing victims from fleeing to safety?

      3) Easing guilt – some first hand witnesses did not think he was the shooter and would have slept more soundly had they heard the evidence such as DNA results and other witness testimonies etc. Instead they were heavily medicated, ridiculed and some even committed suicide.

      The defense lawyer blabbed all over the media how he purposely twisted a guilty plea out of a intellectually handicapped individual in order to avoid trial. And as a result the above victims didn’t their day in court.

      In hindsight, can you honestly say that sounds anything like justice?

      Watch how NZ does it by contrast…

  2. MM says:

    I already suspected if the DPP came to this application for appeal armed with “Oh but Ms Vass is not a reliable witness anymore” it would be a fatal mistake. Thank goodness for his very Honorable Justice Brett hey!?!?

    As I have already pointed out elsewhere, the defense doesn’t need to prove Ms Vass is reliable (nor does Justice Brett as he rightly recognised). The defence only needs her new statement entered into evidence so they can probe/test the DNA evidence more thoroughly and to probe the whereabouts of the missing evidence (towel).

    Or said another way: without Ms Vass’ admission of being on the yacht that night the DNA evidence is not relevant to anything else that Sue was convicted on.

    None-the-less, if the DPP wants to go to appeal with the intention of having Ms Vass’ recent statement thrown out, the onus is on them to prove that a witness they previously presented as reliable is now unreliable. It was never the defense’s contention that Ms Vass was anything but scared.

    Or the DPP can attempt to threaten the witness a third time and have her recant again… however…

    That the DNA deposit was vomit was never said or alluded to by the DNA forensic witnesses at any time. Maeghan’s admission that it WAS vomit could only be known by the person who made the deposit. So, even if she does recant again, there is now substantial evidence (possibly bile??) that she was, indeed, on the yacht.

    And THAT my friends is very compelling!

  3. Henry F. says:

    Jenny, thank you for your comments yesterday. The emotions we all share with this “entirely circumstantial” prosecution should never override the facts presented. I for one do not concede that anyone doubts what Assistant Commissioner Cowling is saying about what he is being advised. In your comments and I quote “ Wasn’t it originally planned that today was supposed to be a hearing about Meaghan’s affidavit…..”. Following Justice Bretts’ decision yesterday, 21st March, 2019 as I read it, and staying with the facts, the Assistant Commissioner made a statement saying, and I quote “ Further evidence associated with that (police) interview will be provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). I would have thought that should the ‘ evidence associated with the interview’ was to be provided to the DPP why then would this not have been prepared and presented yesterday if it was supposed to be a hearing about Meaghan’s affidavit? I believe, again in keeping with the facts, the police interview took place earlier this month. The 60 Minutes program provided for those of us watching ‘fresh and compelling evidence’ and was shown later. As I also said yesterday “ Meaghan Vass has shown such bravery”, in allowing us all to be witness to some of her interviews. We can only comment on the facts we are aware of, not any assertions that can be used to twist the course of justice. Henry

    • MM says:

      I’ll have a stab at answering that: the DPP didn’t think it was necessary. They have gone in there under the mistaken impression that the witness has proved unreliable without any effort on their part.

      Recall: the test applied by the appeals process requires (among other things) reliable, compelling evidence. The DPP hung their hats on the reliability part, but they didn’t get a judge sympathetic to their cause this time, as they clearly have in the past.

      Instead, Justice Brett reminded them it was only an application for leave – not a hearing of appeal. It’s up to the appeals court to determine what weight to give the evidence.

      I’d love to be a fly on the wall of the DPP office right now HA!

  4. Geraldine Allan says:

    MM, yes 1 below, yes 2 below, & yes 3 below.
    1″The government can lie and cover its tracks all it wants, the locals know the truth!”

    2″It was directed at anyone who thinks TAS cops are squeaky clean and don’t lie. They absolutely DO and they’ll do it under oath without blinking! Their reputations are far more important than their integrity.”

    3″I personally believe the judge made the right call. He went to great detail to explain what he considered, how he considered it and what he was comparing it with. He clearly understands the rest of the country is watching this time.

    And, in case you missed it, he didn’t grant leave to appeal on the weight of Maegan’s new statement. Have another read and see if you can pinpoint his reasoning.”

    Also, seems curious that “Jenny” remains anonymous, yet attacks you insofar as she writes, “You are hiding behind a pseudonym”? Am I missing something?

    • MM says:

      Teehee! Maybe! If so, I must be missing it too :P

      I’m old school – I never use my real name anywhere and I never let strangers know my gender or location. Raised my kids with those rules and they teach their kids the same ;)

  5. Judy says:

    How on earth can Jenny write “The DPP didn’t have an opportunity to present the recanted statement by Meaghan”???? (if there is one) Many people in the court last Thursday 14 March and again this Thursday 21 March heard Justice Brett offer the DPP the opportunity to present…. the DPP said very little on 14/3/19 other than that he wanted to see the affidavit from the affidavit taker (re the 60 minutes report). Yesterday, 21/3/19 the DPP said he had nothing to add.

    Meaghan Vass is to be congratulated for having the courage to come forward, despite her fear of several parties, and pressures from others, over the past decade, if Jenny’s assertion that Meaghan recanted is correct then it would raise many questions about whether any pressure and/real or perceived threat influenced Meaghan.”

    She certainly needs protection – but who will protect Meaghan? – not people who would prefer her to recant if they are to save face! Sue’s supporters couldn’t provide protection or they’d risk joining the long list of those “perverting the course of justice” – its like some non-Tasmanian organisation needs to step in as saviour and look after her for whatever lengthy period this next stage is to take…

    The game playing has to end. There is still a long way to go however let us hope that eventually Justice will prevail.

  6. Geraldine Allan says:

    Andy, I had hoped that somehow or other, Meaghan Vass now knows of the “no comment” response. thanks for the reassurance and, well done MV. Please pass on my very kind thoughts and congratulations for where she is now, since you write, “I know miss vass extremely well”.
    Unsurprisingly, “lips dropped when no comment was all that she said.”. MV has come a long way with her life-skills in how to deal with Tas Police. Another “well done”.

  7. Geraldine Allan says:

    Jenny, March 21, 2019 at 8:19 pm, you ask, “… Andrew, are you seriously questioning the honesty of the Tasmanian Assistant Police Commissioner?”
    Methinks the “honesty” record of Tas Police to date in this matter (and others) is not achieving 10/10 result.
    Unless of course you have specific reliable information that confirms MV “recanted” her affidavit, to which Brett J and others have referred? If you do, please post details, otherwise the credence of your posts is open to question, and other unfavourable speculation.
    I like to be fair-minded — I am open to receiving any/all factual stuff; not red-herrings and ignorant diversions and deviant distractions.
    Yesterday, for the first time, saw a ray of light/hope in a deplorable chain of injustice, for Susan Neill-Fraser.
    My personal congratulations to all who patiently and doggedly participated in achieving this, albeit soooo belatedly.

  8. Keith Kroger says:

    Andrew,
    Now that leave to appeal has been granted, are you able to outline to us the next steps in the legal process and a possible timeline? It seems to me that if history in this matter is anything to go by, any trial that may find Sue to be innocent may well be after she is due for parole!

    • andrew says:

      I am working on the timeline but it’s not a set line; depends on many factors.

      • MM says:

        The courts will set the date according to the list of cases waiting to be heard. The last court case I was subpoena’d for was pushed over 3 times to make way for several family law cases involving kids that needed prompt attention. It was hard to be annoyed, poor lil thangs!

      • Keith says:

        Keen to read on this forum when you find out.

  9. Onesimus says:

    The appeal is a start, but how can anyone be confident of justice being the result?
    This case has continually shown that justice is in short supply.

  10. Brian Johnston says:

    The state do not intend losing this case. They had the opportunity at an early stage to correct this. They declined. Put yourself in the position of the State, police, prosecution and consider how they might go about winning this. Does MV make things difficult? Maybe not.
    You see folks Sue should not have needed to come up with new and compelling evidence considering her trial was a sham.
    Judge Brett rather than he on his own refusing Sue’s application has transferred that decision to a panel of three judges. Brett as I read it has already suggested that Sue’s ‘lies’ somehow implicate her. He also conceded that the case was circumstantial.
    Circumstantial is legal, certainly in Australia.
    Consider this. Just because MV did not see Sue on the yacht does not mean Sue was not there.
    I believe Sue is innocent and she told no lies. Confusion and trauma yes. To say she was home all night was an omission.
    I wonder how the jury feels now MV is in the open saying she was there.
    I wonder how Felicity Ogilvie feels, after an interview with Sue she tipped off the police.
    Sue is a long way from freedom.

    • marie leone says:

      Charge those who have been negligent in her case let them sit behind bars for 10 years. Like a third world country. Australian people need to lobby for serious change to our broken system. Heartbreaking that woman behind bars.

  11. tony says:

    jenny are you part of the dpp? regardless of the Megan Vass statement the people who have spoken out or tried to help in this matter have been vigorously pursued or jailed by the DPP very strange indeed for the Tasmanian police force, if their case was bullet proof what have they got to hide or better still why are they not pursuing the two men named are they a protected species also the the dna on the boat which was neatly swept under the carpet by the DPP and the presiding judge so that the jury did not get to hear about it also who was the copper whose name was called out by Megan Vass in the courtroom to me she was being intimidated by this person

    • Jenny says:

      “jenny are you part of the dpp?”

      The answer is no. I am a 3rd year student of forensic science. (EDITED)

      • MM says:

        In that case Jenny, let’s hope you come out the other end of your degree with as much integrity as Justice Brett. Australia needs more like him.

        As a forensic scientist, you’re meant to present the scientific facts not a version of pseudoscience or opinion that suits the state. The Police Commissioner has nothing to base his opinion on regarding a ‘false statement’. It is simply an opinion that he has to stick to because his department presented the first statement as reliably true.

        Forget the nature of the witness vs the nature of police and focus on what was finally admitted – as I believe Justice Brett has.

        The witness has disclosed intimate knowledge of the crime scene that the DPP and defense did not disclose via forensic evidence at trial. The forensic witnesses gave a list of DNA source possibilities including “Bodily fluids, blood, saliva, nasal secretion and semen”, they never said vomit.

        It is true, others entertained the idea that it could have been vomit, but the fact remains that possibility was not probed at trial. This scenario meets the criteria of fresh evidence since the presence of bile was not presented/tested at trial.

        Evidence consisting of “Lies as consciousness of guilt” applies equally to witnesses as it does to the defendant. This part of evidence law provides that a potential lie can be admitted as hearsay evidence if it reveals something about the crime scene that could only be known by a person present at the crime – thus lending an element of truth to it.

        Whether it’s the original witness statement or the newer version, it’s fair to presume one of them was fabricated. The Police Commissioner cannot know one way or the other without being privy to bile tests. If his department WAS privy to such tests and withheld them – then a mistrial will result.

        It is now up to an appeal process to establish the falseness or truthfulness of both statements when the presence of bile is raised – that is not up to Justice Brett to determine as he is only processing an application.

        If you want Sue to stay in prison then you better hope bile tests were not previously done and purposely withheld.

  12. Henry F. says:

    Andrew, your commentary is excellent and it spells out the many reasons why this matter has been upheld in the Hobart Supreme Court today as a result of evidence not before presented. I like many others remain concerned that Sue is not released to be with her family as it is clear that she is innocent. However as you point out, there is much at stake, particularly for Meaghan Vass who has shown such bravery to admit what she witnessed. Both women, who appear to be innocent of the disappearance of Bob Chappell should be entitled to equal freedom to meet under a contemporary restorative justice model/system with someone outside Tasmania facilitating. Such a meeting may allow both these women the right to the freedom that has eluded them both. They may have the answers to resolve this unsolved disappearance because no one else has for approximately ten years.

    • Jenny says:

      Henry,
      Are you forgetting that Meaghan’s affidavit that was provided to Justice Brett recently was recanted by Meaghan about the 12 days ago when she was re-interviewed by the police? Where does that now leave Sue and her legal team, and her forthcoming
      Appeal?

      • andrew says:

        If that were so, the DPP would have presented it to the court today, I think.

        • Jenny says:

          Wasn’t it originally planned that today was supposed to be a hearing about Meaghan’s latest affidavit but Justice Brett announced yesterday that he will instead announce his decision today. The DPP didn’t have an opportunity to present the recanted statement by Meaghan.

          If you read the news from 11th March you will find that Meaghan was re-interviewed on Thursday or Friday before the 60 Minutes show. Meaghan re-canted. This is what the Assistant Police Commissioner said on 11th March:

          “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.”

          https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/5948663/high-profile-murder-case-interview-restricted-because-of-neill-fraser-appeal/

          Andrew, are you seriously questioning the honesty of the Tasmanian Assistant Police Commissioner?

          This was reported today:

          “Tasmania Police said they have reinterviewed Meaghan Vass following her interview with 60 Minutes earlier this month.

          Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling issued a statement this evening following Justice Michael Brett’s decision to allow Susan Neill-Fraser to appeal her murder conviction for a second time.

          “Tasmania Police fully supports the legal process and remains confident in the integrity and thoroughness of the original and subsequent investigation teams,” Assistant Commissioner Cowling.

          Police reinterviewed Ms Vass earlier this month after 60 Minutespromotional material suggested a new version of events.

          “Further evidence associated with that interview will be provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

          “As the matter is now confirmed to proceed to appeal, it would be inappropriate to make further comment.”

          Check the news here

          https://www.themercury.com.au/news/scales-of-justice/decision-imminent-in-sue-neillfrasers-application-to-appeal-murder-conviction/news-story/bd9809fb79dfb2f55c2a8a542d0fe4e1

          • andrew says:

            I look forward to the appeal. We can all agree that the desirable end result is fairness in justice.

          • Andy says:

            I am questioning it if Andrew won’t. I know miss vass extremely well and no interview regarding the four winds etc took place. Actually lips dropped when no comment was all that she said. Anyway she got charged with a bud. No right to even mention the boat debacle to her

          • Diane Kemp says:

            I cannot believe there are people who still believe the police information. Ms Vass allegedly changing what she said does not surprise me given she was interviewed by the very people she is afraid of and who continue to try to obstruct justice occurring.
            Check the views of people objective around this case.

          • Helen Adkins says:

            Do you really believe everything the police say or for that matter the Police here. You need to read what the report of the Australian Institute a think tank that conducts public policy research found the Tasmanian Integrity Commission had never fully investigated any matter never had anyone charged and never held an independent commission of inquiry. Other state integrity commissions were making huge strides in stemming corruption across Australia. Remember this is a “penal colony mentality” without the convicts. Island mentality

        • MM says:

          Too right the police and government officials lie AND cover their tracks!

          I have just finished researching and writing a report on the board of inquiry into the horrific abuses to mental health patients at Tasmania’s Lachlan Park and Millbrook Rise Hospitals, which later merged into the Royal Derwent Hospital and Willow Court facility.

          Tasmania has a rampant culture of coverup that, even after numerous PUBLIC inquiries, still persists today.

          The 2003 Ombudsman Inquiry into the “Tasmanian Review of Claims of Abuse from Adults in State Care as Children” involved as many as 2500 cases which have still not been made public.

          Even the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has only fingered church abuse – the government institutions involved have been kept secret.

          We keep paying for public inquiries and get NOTHING! We have no idea whether they are behaving constitutionally or not and THAT’s the way they like it. They’ve stunk of corruption for at least 50+ years!

          You’re an uneducated fool if you believe a word the Tasmanian authorities say. They’re not the least bit interested in protecting anyone but themselves!

          • MM says:

            The thing about Willow Court is all the locals know EXACTLY what kind of horrors went down there and it wasn’t limited treating patients badly. Not so long ago there were ghost tours of the facility because EVERYONE knows people were brutally murdered there.

            The government can lie and cover its tracks all it wants, the locals know the truth!

          • jenny says:

            “You’re an uneducated fool if you believe a word the Tasmanian authorities say.”

            You are hiding behind a pseudonym and are expressing a ridiculous opinion about my level of education on the basis that I trust the validity of what the Assistant Police Commissioner said on 11th March and then what he said again yesterday after Justice Brett announced his decision. There are some very educated people who have expressed opinion that a Miscarriage of Justice occurred yesterday because the Court used a false affidavit to grant the Appeal.

            Are you on here arguing that the Tasmanian Assistant Police Commissioner isn’t to be trusted but that a homeless drug addict who changed her story several times is to be trusted. Is she consistent in what she said between the 2017 and the 2019 affidavits? Compare what she said to Colin with what she is saying now. Compare what Karen Keefe told Colin with what Meaghan said in her 2017 affidavit, her testimony in Court in 2017, her statements on Undercurrent, her statements on 60 Minutes, her statement in her recent affidavit? And you still believe her over the people who are charged with looking after the safety of Tasmanian citizens, the police.

          • MM says:

            That wasn’t directed at you personally Jenny. If it were I’d have typed your name.

            It was directed at anyone who thinks TAS cops are squeaky clean and don’t lie. They absolutely DO and they’ll do it under oath without blinking! Their reputations are far more important than their integrity.

            Educated folk research. They don’t just read the news headlines and take it on face value.

          • MM says:

            I personally believe the judge made the right call. He went to great detail to explain what he considered, how he considered it and what he was comparing it with. He clearly understands the rest of the country is watching this time.

            And, in case you missed it, he didn’t grant leave to appeal on the weight of Maegan’s new statement. Have another read and see if you can pinpoint his reasoning.

          • Sam Reid says:

            MM – ‘And, in case you missed it, he didn’t grant leave to appeal on the weight of Maegan’s new statement. Have another read and see if you can pinpoint his reasoning.’ ??

            Justice Brett – ‘The fresh and compelling evidence to which this decision refers is the evidence of the out of court representations of Ms Vass.’

          • MM says:

            @Sam only in so far as it supports other evidence that was not adduced at the trial.

            Paragraph 19: The applicant now presents a number of pieces of evidence relevant to specific “strands” of the prosecution case, and also relevant to what the applicant claims are reasonable hypotheses consistent with innocence. It is impossible to assess the probative value of each piece of evidence without considering its effect in combination with all of the other evidence.

            Paragraph 36: The effect of Mr Jones’ evidence, its variance from the opinions expressed by Mr Grosser, and whether his evidence was properly described as fresh and compelling, was the subject of considerable debate in the hearing before me. In view of my ultimate conclusion, it is neither necessary nor desirable for me to determine these questions. However, his evidence is relevant to the assessment of the effect of other evidence concerning Ms Vass. In particular, I refer to the evidence that since the trial she has made a number of representations admitting knowledge of the relevant events.

            Paragraph 52: … In particular, the facts asserted by Ms Vass in each representation support the applicant’s hypothesis that Mr Chappell died because of the actions of persons other than her. Such evidence is clearly directly relevant to an important issue at the trial, and, if accepted, would be highly probative of the applicant’s case.

            Paragraph 55: In forming this conclusion, I have had regard to Ms Vass’s representations within the context provided by some of the other evidence presented by the applicant on this application. The principal piece of evidence providing such context, of course, is the location of Ms Vass’s DNA on the yacht, and what Mr Jones has now had to say about that DNA. Other evidence to a greater or lesser extent may also have some relevance in this respect.

            See my comment in the main thread.

          • MM says:

            ie: without Ms Vass’ admission of being on the yacht that night the DNA evidence is not relevant to anything else that Sue was convicted on. Justice Brett is suggesting the fresh statement is only useful to open the door for probative value on the DNA evidence. That is was vomit is the compelling part – only the DNA depositor could know that

  13. Geraldine Allan says:
  14. LB says:

    Thank you Andrew for another well – written piece…..surely now the truth must surface? As said before, the longer this travesty goes on, the worse it will be, for everyone! For the sake of trust, transparency and credibility, surely legal practitioners from outside Tasmania must now be appointed? There is ample information in the public domain for just about anyone to form the view that Susan Neill -Fraser was not convicted beyond reasonable doubt. Enough is enough……

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