Meaghan Vass told police ‘No comment’ – prosecution tells court

Andrew L. Urban.

At a hearing in Hobart today, the prosecution told the court that key murder witness in the Sue Neill-Fraser case, Meaghan Vass, had said ‘No comment’ to everything put to her by police when she was picked up for questioning on Thursday March 7. In other words, Vass did not recant.

This prosecution statement of facts appears to contradict the earlier statement issued by police after the 60 Minutes interview in which Vass admitted to being on board Four Winds and witnessing the murder of Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009. We reported it on March 12 here: 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. (emphasis added.) A close friend of Vass’ commented: “I don’t know what the cops are talking about.”

The prosecution’s statement also corrects the false impression created by the story in The Australian published on Monday, April 14, 2019 by Matthew Denholm, headlined Yacht murder witness changes her tune again – that Vass had recanted her admission to police in the previous few days.

Vass was in court today facing two charges of possession (marijuana), a result of police searching her bag when she was picked up. A conviction was recorded. She now goes back into rehab on the mainland.

TasPol was asked to comment, and replied: “…as the matter is before the courts, we are unable to comment.”

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23 Responses to Meaghan Vass told police ‘No comment’ – prosecution tells court

  1. Andrea says:

    She’s doing it tough at the moment. I feel for her and would hate to be in her position and to be mentally so traumatised is hard to watch sometimes…. She’s erratic and crying and scared. All things you’d expect I suppose. It’s tough, she’s needy and clingy and sometime ill mannered yet I just have to stop and think… Don’t take it to heart… I just hope the next 25 years of life will be better than the first. Her partner died in the same week as her dad two years ago also which is sad in itself

    • Who gives a fuck, the law is wrong on this. I know she is frightened but she has to come clean. That will be part of her own rehabilitation. Isn’t it funny, where are these so called friends now nowhere to be seen. If they are so innocent why aren’t they supporting her regardless of the time. Wake up Tasmania, this lady Innocent lady is rotting in hell Re, the accused.

      • Felix Greenwood says:


        Meaghan’s 60 Minutes story is contradicted by the high quality of the DNA deposit. In this case, it is the defence forensic expert opinion fron 2017 that you need to be aware of. The DNA was of such high quality that the defence forensic expert did not think it was more than 2 days old. The swab was taken on the 30th. Since the DNA was deposited on an external surface of the boat that was exposed to weathering effects the defence forensic expert did not think that the DNA would have been of such a high quality had it been deposited on the night of murder. If you pay attention to Mr Coates’ argument on Wednesday of this week you might pick up on the fact that he used the defence experts opinion to argue that the DNA was most likely deposited well after the murder, most probably when the boat was in Goodood,

  2. nola scheele says:

    Keystone Cops

  3. Brian Johnston says:

    Do the police, prosecution and judge still believe they have the case right?
    Do they have doubts?
    Do they care?
    Are they scheming there next move?
    Is MV a problem to them?

    • John Spoth says:

      It does seem the case is so botched nobody wants to bother with it, fearing a reprisal. Who’d be game to whip oneself? Sadly, there’s no re-start button to press, so it will eventually need to be resolved. Trust is at an all time low (worldwide it seems) in such matters, only worsening things.

  4. Gruntle Massey says:

    Going in to a police interview does not entitle them to search you or your belongings. Was that a lawful search?

    And if she is just not going to answer any questions, why even go in? Her bikie mates didn’t school her up too well. Just adopt the bikies mantra “I dont do interviews. Bye “

    • Gruntle Massey says:

      So Ristevski get 9 years for killing his wife, with parole after 6 years. He did it, interfered with and hid the dead body, put on an elaborate ruse on television, now finally pleads guilty, and his custodial time is 66% lower than that of SNF. He got manslaughter because they couldnt prove intent to murder, but somehow they ‘stitched up’ SNF for the same intent without any evidence. Astounding.

      Blows sentencing remarks – ” However I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Neill-Fraser was well aware that she would be substantially better off with the relationship ending in death rather than separation, and that she killed Mr Chappell with material gain in mind.”

      By crikey, apparently tens of thousands of people in Syd and Melb are potential murderers, because Blow would say they have a motive to kill their relatives to inherit their million dollar plus houses.

      Tasmania’s legal system has got to be the laughing stock of the first world. You’d have to laugh if it wasn’t so dangerous. Now I know why mainlanders call it Spazmania.

      • andrew says:

        Funny you should call it a laughing stock…renowned barrister, MoJ expert (and author) Chester Porter QC four years ago used that phrase about Tasmania’s legal system in the context of the Sue Neill-Fraser conviction.

      • Roscoe says:

        The “substantially-better-off” argument of the Blow sentencing remarks also did not provide any supporting evidence for it.
        I cannot find anywhere in the proceedings that itemise the benefits to SNF, or indeed her partner to substantiate the Blow claims. Itemised assets; income streams and the like. And, actuarially verified? Where were the experts in all of this, other than to accept the Blow version of financial betterment, from he, with a big pension capitalised (NPV) at millions.
        Could, in another scenerio, that Sue herself, had instead “disappeared into the dark murky waters of the Derwent”? What then?
        Dollars seem not an issue, both of them okay, although being second marriages there is always hope from certain beneficiaries, in matters like this, often themselves believing that they are left out in the cold. And, the Derwent River is very cold.
        Blow, to my reading, missed out on “murderous intent”.

      • John Spoth says:

        There are other names for Tas, some too rude for this site!

        That aside, there is plenty of injustice here on the mainland, many worse than this case.

        One could even say this case was a bad Blow for justice in Tas!

    • Andrea says:

      Her bikie mate is my best friend and one of the most level headed calm people you’ll meet. He left that club after 42 years because the others didn’t see fit to help her so…. He’s lost his life as he knew it… And she did say no comment but cops convert that to what they want

      • Gruntle Massey says:

        Would that be the guy who appeared in the Undercurrent doco giving Vass a pillion to Mclaren’s interview in the hotel suite?

        • Andy says:

          Yes but mc claren put his spin on things acting like sharkie was on their side and helping where as he is probably the only one who has never pressed her about what happened or what she should do. He is the reason that I help her…

  5. Williambtm says:

    There happens to be a number of convictions gained through Tasmania’s Supreme Court that share the same history of Ms. Sue Neill-Fraser.
    These cases were also prosecuted by the former DPP Tim Ellis.
    The DPP is entrusted with a power of discretion, that discretion has been abused here in Tasmania. I had made it my business to write to the Tasmanian Police Commissioner and advising him of the indiscreet use of that power of discretion by the former DPP.
    Interesting how my letters receive no response from the upper level of Tasmania’s Police, I would suggest this lack of response is a means of not acknowledging the controversial content of my correspondences.

  6. LB says:

    Garry you are correct. Tasmania seems to be playing a very dangerous game with people’s lives- they seem oblivious to the fact that those asking for a Royal Commission can clearly see the need. If there is absolutely no doubt as to the ethics and conduct of everyone involved, why fight so vehemently against a review of the SNF conviction? Andrea- can I please ask you to be very careful about divulging information about Meaghan and her whereabouts? It seems peculiar that Tas Pol are “concerned” now, where was that caring concern over the last decade? Be careful who you trust.

    • Andrea says:

      I don’t trust anyone. But I hate the constant lies told about her. Everything said in court is common knowledge to all that were there. She doesn’t deserve the back flip people have done since the police said she made admissions saying she lied again.

  7. Diane Kemp says:

    When will police be held accountable for continuing to try to muddy the waters???? Commander Cowling has been caught out on his response. Very glad that MV is back safely on the mainland.

    Police – “as the matter is before the courts, we are unable to comment” – what a laugh as they comment whenever it suits them.
    Push forward a Royal Commission.

  8. Andrea says:

    They don’t mind commenting when it suits

    • Garry Stannus says:

      “…𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑘𝑒𝑦 𝑚𝑢𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑆𝑢𝑒 𝑁𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑙-𝐹𝑟𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒, 𝑀𝑒𝑎𝑔ℎ𝑎𝑛 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠, ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑 ‘𝑁𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡’ 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑢𝑡 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑦 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑝𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑢𝑝 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑛 𝑇ℎ𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑐ℎ 7. ”

      This account backs up what Andrea has been telling us. Oh, what a shame. And Matthew Denholm?

      If the prosecution believes that Meaghan said ‘no comment’ to everything that was put to her, then she obviously did not repudiate her Feb25 affidavit.

      This has now got to the point of black comedy.

      • Andrea says:

        Here here… Finally… Apparently some one thinks that the recant was seperate to the interview for the drug possession…. Whatever…
        All I know is what I see and what I get told from the rehab ctr and Meaghan or what I witness

        • Garry Stannus says:

          I hope people haven’t back-flipped. I don’t think they have, I mean that if there are any ‘back-flippers’ then they are probably just those who’ve always believed Susan Neill-Fraser was guilty and that the police were always to be trusted.

          In a later comment, you referred to the suggestion that some say “… 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑒𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑟𝑢𝑔 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛…. ”.

          Their silly suggestion seems again to be the product of desperation. As you said some time ago, Meaghan, when picked up from a bus-stop, taken to Glenorchy, put in front of Damian, offered only “𝑁𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡”.

          𝗡𝗼𝘄 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘀𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗱𝗺𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝘁. There is no mention anywhere – except from the inventive pens of the trolls – that there was a 𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 interview in which Meaghan repudiated her 60Minutes interview or repudiated her associated statement.

          Yet, in a new form of confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance is taken to a new level… ‘if she didn’t say it when she was picked up … then she must have said it some other time … because we know she said it …’

          Q How do we know she said it?
          A Because the Assistant Police Commissioner, then Matthew Denholm, told us that she did’.

          So, we are invited to believe it.

          Yet when there was the opportunity in Justice Brett’s court, this supposed ‘separate interview’ information was not put before him.

          I suggest that Meaghan Vass did not repudiate her 25Feb19 statement.

          • Roscoe says:

            Agree Garry.
            Hopefully MV is okay wherever she is and the bullying will cease. I think that SNF would agree.
            Meaghan: It’s a crap situation to be in, but you now have great support. Best wishes from two ageing grandparents. xx

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