Andrew L. Urban.
The petition calling for a Royal Commission or a judicial enquiry into the conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser for the 2009 murder of her partner Bob Chappell continues to attract signatures and is now close to 15,000.
On August 20, 2019, it will be 10 years since Neill-Fraser’s arrest and incarceration in Hobart, and almost nine years since her trial. We have published nearly 70 articles on the case (see index at right) and identified the many flaws in the prosecution’s case.
Most recently (60 Minutes, Channel 9, March 10, 2019) the then homeless 15 year old Meaghan Vass, whose DNA was found on the yacht, has publicly admitted to being at the scene of the crime and witnessing the murder. Her sworn statement was a key element in a further appeal being allowed, expected to be heard later this year.
But in the meantime, Neill-Fraser is still in Risdon prison. The petition calls for an enquiry irrespective of the outcome of this new appeal, on the grounds that the case was riddled with errors from the investigation, through the trial to the appeals. It is regarded by many as the worst miscarriage of justice since the case of Lindy Chamberlain over 30 years ago.
What a miscarriage of justice! How disgraceful this is happening in Australia, I thought we were better than this. Free Sue!!
Tas govt doesn’t need to wait for appeal papers to do the ‘right thing’- there is overwhelming doubt about Sue’s guilt & she’s likely to be set free, hopefully by year’s end. She could be freed today on a type of parole.
Compo is inevitable & Tas govt can stump up the $, they should be covered for such events (eg – liability for injuries caused by govt run entities).
Tas govt is less resourced than mainland & struggles with quality staff. Mainland (I call meanland) is sometimes little better.
Part of the prob is what to do with Police investigators involved. They should of course be investigated & dealt with appropriately, perhaps involving criminal charges.
Judiciary has much to answer for as well. They are not above the law either and therefore should not be above scrutiny. It’s not good enough for them to hide behind the cloak of secrecy and unquestioned authority on the basis of being ‘untouchable’.
We’re no longer a properly functioning democracy, becoming a police state. The excuse of ‘for the public good’ is being used too often to justify abuses of authority. We don’t have a human rights charter and yet it’s clear why we now need one.
I have relatives that lived in totalitarian countries, the stories they tell resemble what we’re becoming here in Australia, and it starts with things like this, and police raids, people held without trial on the basis of ‘national security’, our phone calls and e-mails being screened and our phones being used to track us constantly. Sound like China or Russia, no it’s here folks!
John I would suggest that those involved could face charges of perverting the course of justice let alone failure in their duty of care to Sue in not providing a response to the decision of Justice Brett that an appeal is warranted.
That appeal decision is now over 90 days ago – time that Sue has continued to be incarcerated.
Justice delayed is justice denied!!!!!
Royal Commission required to clean out the systems.
Fully agree. Public scrutiny and public pressure is what’s required to keep the focus on her plight in the face of wrongdoing by corrupt and inept officials involved. The wheels of justice turn a little quicker and better when they know we care and are watching. The inertia is all to do with no one wanting to put their heads on the chopping block (couldn’t blame them – heads should roll – hopefully the right ones). Also, I reckon there are those who’d hope she might die in jail or (if she lives long enough) get paroled out and ease the need to release her now. It’s just human nature to cover up when things are messy. Keep up the fight!
If Sue Neil’s case is being held up through lack of funds for the court case and she is relying on Pro Brono lawyers then please …LET SET UP SOME CROWD FUNDING . Maybe there is a wealthy millionaire out there who will find it in his heart to fund her legal fees.
I’m sure once she has received compensation she would happily reimburse.
I tend to think the Tasmanian Jurisdicial system wants to bury any action this case ..one because it will cost the poor economical Tasmanian Government a very large compensation for wrongful imprisonment ..secondly they tend to consider themselves being isolated from Australia mainland as their own entity and are tanned slow at doing anything..The other is the embarrassment of red faces as yet another murder case not handled professionally instead creating a red herring and pursuing it blindly .So many flaws and stupid blunders in this case and leaving her in jail still after what been revealed is absolutely disgusting and unethical.
Put the poor woman out on bail conditions even house arrest with ankle bracelets whilst this debacle travesty of justice is sorted humanely and professionally.I find the Tasmanian Government absolutely disgusting and hate to say they are acting exactly like their ancestors with the lack of compassion and justice handed out to those poor convicts.
Stop torturing this woman any longer …release her .Australia support this case and stop being so selfishly complacent .
This poor woman deserves what time she has left on this planet in her late twilight years to be with her family and have some freedom .
The whole scenario is downright disgusting and more so in light of the latest developments with Meghan the key witness .
Get off your behinds and go find the 2 culprits who murdered this woman’s husband..It’s totally appalling .
Is the delay in the process of getting a date for this new trial a result of Sue’s lawyers not lodging the appeal documents ? I am confused about this situation. Please explain !
I wish I COULD explain, Dixie.
It is possible to expedite an appeal process. In Victoria, when a young man called Farah Jama was wrongfully arrested and charged, police realised they’d made a mistake with a mix up of DNA and a court was rapidly convened, the DPP dropped charges and Farah Jama was freed. A journo wrote a really good book about the case. It can be done. Why don’t the police etc just admit they got it wrong and FIX IT!
Unfortunately this case is one of a number of others that concerns the former DPP primarily, then the State’s Judiciary and the Tasmanian Establishment cohorts having shared the same degree of indifference to the fate of Tasmania’s dubiously convicted unfortunates.
Notwithstanding prior State Supreme Court decisions that were discharged in favour of various accused individuals.
One must include a goodly number of Tasmania’s government departments that have been reluctant to answer for their maladministration and their extreme bias, yet fail to be held to account for their lack of piety and fidelity.
Andrew, it is clear that many people are still seriously concerned about the validity of the Neill Fraser conviction, and now the inertia in the current appeal process. Can someone please explain why an expedited appeal process has not been implemented? Surely this case would satisfy any criteria for the need to sort out this mess as quickly as possible? Watching Australian Story on Monday 27 May 2019 about the Andrew Mallard tragedy in WA, I could not help but see a number of parallels to Sue’s case – what are the lawyers and courts waiting for? Everyone should be asking why there is there no desire in Tasmania to act with urgency? What is Tas Pol doing about investgating the alleged murderers? Who will instigate an independent enquiry into the conduct of the case? Lots of questions – with a distressing absence of any, let alone satisfactory answers. Forget the legal process which itself is questionable, the inhumanity is staggering.
I understood the current delay in the process was due to waiting for Sue’s lawyers to lodge the appeal – why is it taking so long if they had to prepare that information to ask for the right to appeal?
My understanding is that the barristers/lawyers acting on behalf of SN-F are for the most part working pro-bono, thus their work on her appeal of necessity fits in between their other work, which I assume pays their bills.
On the fight to free Sue Neill-Fraser – how will she ever be compensated for the life she has lost. It’s just too unreal to imagine what the Tasmanian Judiciary has inflicted on a wrongly convicted woman and after 10 years in Risdon Prison, they need to find a way to admit that they were terribly wrong with their verdict.
Dictionary meaning – miscarriage of justice – a failure of a court or judicial system to attain the ends of justice, especially one which results in the conviction of an innocent person.
If Sue is freed after her appeal she will not be compensated in any way. The years of prison, the money spent defending her, her health, the deliberate destruction of the loving relationship between Sue and Bob’s families – these things are collateral damage. To be free to live her life outside prison walls is the only thing Sue will be rewarded with for being innocent.
Who will be the next victim of this terrible system? You had better pray it isn’t you.
To whom is the petition being sent? The Attorney General and the Premier have both treated all approaches from concerned members of the legal profession and the public with disdain. Maybe it should go to the Governor of Tasmania, for her to provoke some action? Maybe the Governor can use her Special Powers to encourage the government to get Sue out of jail on house arrest pending the further (agonisingly slow) legal process? As Sue is still a convicted murderer before her new appeal, there is not a great deal of precedent to free her from prison. But this case has been so badly botched, the power brokers in the Tasmanian Establishment should consider taking some radical action to partially rectify this disgraceful situation.
Robin – from my last letters sent, the AG’s belated reply was that the matter is before the court so no comment can be made. I did not receive any reply from Tasmania Governor. It actually is NOT before the court but is waiting to come before the court. I am about to send off another round of letters asking for home detention until the matter is before the court. There does not appear to be any reason that the appeal could not be heard asap apart from the bloody mindedness of everyone involved. I suspect they are worried about any impact on themselves and I for one, certainly hope the impact will be severe.
I am again asking for a Royal Commission to be convened to look at Tasmania’s justice and legal system. I don’t know what else to do as the Governor General’s response was – çan’t get involved as blah blah blah. If everyone reading this website could also send letters then just maybe someone might listen!!! I continue to hope that somewhere there is someone who has a conscience and is not afraid to act!!!
Diane, unfortunately this course of action is one of the hoops you have to contend with.
The Parliament for a variety of reassons with be happy to fall back on Letters Patent. The Governor General can, and should, in my opinion invoke those powers bestowed upon that office.
I understand your frustrations. This I understand is what you could achieve, as you are seeking, if the Governor granted, under its powers, a RC. I understand that the Governor is not inhibited to perform such duties, if and when called upon.
In Commonwealth Realms, Letters Patent Are Issued Under The Prerogative Powers Of The Head Of State, As An Executive Or Royal Prerogative. They Are A Rare, Though Significant, Form Of Legislation Which Does Not Require The Consent Of Parliament. Letters Patent May Also Be Used To Grant Royal Assent To Legislation.
Though ‘convicted’ of her husband’s murder, she’s clearly wrongly convicted and should therefore be released on bail pending a new trial, precedent or not. Justice delayed is justice denied and only makes the Tas gov look worse for delaying, and perhaps the compo claim stronger.
One could speculate that they’re hoping it will go away, or happen on the next govt’s watch, or she’ll die before being released. Her next of kin should still pursue justice and compo, for her loss as well as wrongful conviction if need be. The Tas govt are suffering from incompetence as well as perhaps corruption. It’s a matter of her today, the rest of us tomorrow if we keep letting this continue. I suggest a letter writing campaign to: the print media, Premier & A-G, Tas Opp leader, our new G-G, the Governor and even using social media to protest. Any other ideas? Tas having an older pop, many still read papers, & FB too.
I know of a woman (now sadly dead) who was wrongly accused of murdering her husband (who committed suicide). She was put through the wringer for his death (but found not guilty), adding to the pain of losing him in the first place! Oddly, he killed himself believing he was making things better for her (he was ill and felt he was a burden) !
One can only imagine the pain and suffering caused by the murder of Sue’s husband, only being worsened by the miscarriage of justice, and the delay in overturning her conviction. More compo perhaps!?
Have just e-mailed Andrew Wilkie & Jacqui Lambie about it. Encourage others to do same.
Good luck with that one Robin.
To change the migration of QC’s, OPP’s etc, to then be Magistrates, Judges and then to Governor is wishful thinking, within the Tasmanian “establishment”. That is why certain legal folk are sent across Bass Strait, from the mainland, to satisfy “independence”. And be richly rewarded; silver passing palms, and or, promotion.
So, your comment, ” the power brokers in the Tasmanian Establishment should consider taking some radical action to partially rectify this disgraceful situation”
Sadly Robin, that continues to remain a major part of the problem. The foxes, “the establishment” continue to look after the chickens.
But the Hunt continues and the hounds are still chasing. Let’s hope and pray for justice for Sue.
My understanding is that when a citizen approaches the Office of Governor seeking remedy, that Office if satisfied that the subject matter requires further attention, passes the matter to her Minister-in-Council, requesting it receive “appropriate attention”.
In this instance that is the Attorney-General, thus the circuitous nature of matters transpires. Was it not ever thus? Need I write more?
BTW, I once asked what is “appropriate attention”?
The Governor’s then Secretary told me “whatever the Minister thinks/chooses”. Oh dear!!!