Sue Neill-Fraser appeal papers lodged

Andrew L. Urban

Lawyers for Sue Neill-Fraser have today (August 2, 2019) lodged paperwork in the Hobart Supreme Court to start the long awaited process for her new appeal against the murder conviction which saw her sentenced to 23 years in prison at the end of the 2010 trial. Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, but Meaghan Vass, the witness whose DNA was found at the crime scene, has recently (March 10, 2019) stated on 60 Minutes and to the court that Neill-Fraser was not the killer.

Sue Neill-Fraser, Australia Day 2009

Justice Brett granted Neill-Fraser leave to appeal on March 21, 2019, some three years after she began the process, in the wake of new Tasmanian legislation that provides a further right to appeal on the strength of fresh new evidence.

Neill-Fraser has consistently denied killing Chappell, her partner for 18 years, and many in the legal profession have considered the conviction manifestly unsafe. Chappell’s body has never been found, no credible motive nor a murder weapon was presented in evidence, while the prosecutor speculated that she must have hit him on the head from behind, probably with a wrench, while he worked below decks on their new yacht, Four Winds.ย 

Lawyer Paul Galbally of Galbally O’Bryan is acting (pro bono) for Neill-Fraser.

The Notice of Appeal published in The Mercury includes the following:

There is fresh and compelling evidence that:

1.1: Meaghan Vass had boarded the Four Winds, and the deceased was attacked while she was on board.
1.2: Evidence led by the prosecution at trial in relation to:

1.2.1: the results of, and inferences that could be drawn from, DNA testing;
1.2.2: the results of, and inferences that could be drawn from, Luminol testing;
1.2.3: a winching reconstruction of the Four Winds was misleading.

1.3: The dinghy seen near the Four Winds around the time the deceased was attacked was not the Four Winds’ tender.
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23 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser appeal papers lodged

  1. Garry Stannus says:

    The appeal – in my own words:

    ๐’๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฅ๐ž ๐†๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐€๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐ฅ:
    1 Fresh and compelling evidence establishes that there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice.

    There is fresh and compelling evidence that…

    a) Meaghan Vass had boarded the Four Winds, and the deceased was attacked while she was on board, and thatโ€ฆ

    b) Evidence led by the prosecution at trial [๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘ก๐‘  ๐‘œ๐‘“, ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘“๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘‘ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘ค๐‘› ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘š ๐ท๐‘๐ด ๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”, ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘š ๐ฟ๐‘ข๐‘š๐‘–๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘™ ๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘š ๐‘Ž ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘›๐‘โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘ข๐‘๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›] …was misleading and that…

    c) The dinghy seen near the Four Winds around the time the deceased was attacked was not the Four Winds’ tender.

    COMMENT: I felt that section 1.2: of the formal notice which is reproduced accurately in Andrew’s article was poorly drafted and did not fit together grammatically. In particular, the words “was misleading” as they appear in 1.2.3 leave 1.2.1: and 1.2.2: unsupported by a verb. To make sense of those 1.2.1, 1.2.2 & 1.2.3 sections, I would remove the words “was misleading” from 1.2.3, then add a clear paragraph break and insert them in their own new line. In this way they would read sensibly as part of the section 1.2’s beginning sentence … thus:

    1.2: ‘Evidence led by the prosecution at trial in relation to: [1.2.1, 1.2.2 & 1.2.3] was misleading.’

    Clear as mud? Have a good week everybody! – Garry.

  2. J.R says:

    no weapon, no motive, no body, no witnesses, NO JUSTICE!!!!!
    shameful..disgraceful, at best we have a failure of a legal system and not a justice system, corporations…at work , its against the rule of Law..INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY!! Sue should be released immediately until the retrial..everyone involved with the prosecution and police etc should be held accountable for their misguided actions and choices.

  3. PeterR says:

    Come on all Tasmanians! Where is your compassion and support of Sue and a trustworthy Tasmania? If the boot was on the other foot and you had been convicted on flimsy fabricated evidence with make-believe legal conclusions, you wouldn’t be happy. Please (re-)consider signing the petition!
    I hope justice comes to Sue soon.
    Stay strong Sue.

  4. Geoff says:

    This is a very unsafe conviction and there appears to be no evidence of guilt. She should be released from prison and I commend those who have been working to secure that outcome.

  5. Sue Neill Fraser’s treatment by the Tasmanian Attorney General, police and “justice” system and political system is a disgrace. All Australians should be ashamed that something like this can be allowed to happen in plain sight in our country, while we stand by apathetically. I hope that everyone involved is held to account for their actions and inaction. Perhaps when they are finally punished they will have a tiny bit of empathy and remorse for the treatment they’ve so callously meted out to Sue. No-one can give her back all these years in gaol away from her family, but I want to believe that this appalling case will finally exposed for what it is – initial police incompetence and then a deliberate decision by ALL those involved to keep her incarated to save their reputations.

  6. Christine D says:

    Sorry Andrew but I wasn’t aware that this blog is for people who only express their disgust at the police and the legal system. I can now see that your contributors will ignore the reported fact that Meaghan recanted to authorities in 2017 and had thus recanted again to the police in March of this year, and is very likely to recant in the court if she gets called up again.

    I won’t be submitting further.

    • andrew says:

      Contrary to your assertion ….You have had your say on the Vass recanting matter – three times – and I have said I donโ€™t wish to go round in circles. Try another topic. Or not.

  7. Jelena Rosic says:

    The Tasmanian justice system failed Susan-Neil Fraser profoundly by convicting her on evdence that was fundamentally flawed (i.e
    by a derelict police investigation) and consequently, a jury fnding that was not beyond reasonable doubt.
    IT MUST NOW CORRECT A PROFOUND MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE & bear the cost of an inevitable civil lawsuit. (i.e MALICIOUS PROSECUTION)

  8. Sue Neill Fraser should be released immediately
    Tasmania. What a disgrace your police, supreme court and all involved are
    An overhaul in your system is way
    over due these people need to be held accountable for an innocent women wasting away in goal

  9. Nola Rae Scheele says:

    It is so long overdue to hear Sue Neil-Fraser’s appeal.

  10. LB says:

    Di Kemp you are correct in saying that the Tasmanian Attorney General and Governor can (and should) act. So the question remains why is there prolonged and ongoing inertia? People can only assume that nobody wants to start the ball of accountability rolling as Tasmania is a small place and the fallout from this case is going to be massive. I have always said and still say that the longer the inaction continues the worse the Police, the Courts, the Premier, the Attorney General and the Governor will look – all of these people involved in maintaining this clearly unsafe conviction in my view are quite simply complicit in failing to act and I sincerely hope they are all dealt with accordingly. I view Tasmania as a national disgrace.

  11. Peter Robertson says:

    I am impressed by the casual callousness of the Tas justice system in disregarding the Vass evidence and standing by while the appeals process takes its plodding good time. At very least we now have obvious reasonable doubt. The system so strident in keeping Sue in prison has now folded its hands in complete denial of facts that replace the bizarre fictions concocted by the original prosecutor. Is there a case here for official malfeasance? It now appears way beyond simple incompetence.

  12. Chris D says:

    It is surprising that Sue’s solicitor hasn’t said anything about whether or not Meaghan recanted when she was interviewed by police in March.

  13. Di Kemp says:

    Sue should be released even if it is on home detention until her case comes before the court. It is manifestly unjust to hold her behind bars until then and the Attorney General and Governor have the capacity to do this – no more waiting!!!!
    Anyone in Tasmania who wishes to show support for Sue, there are plans to demonstrate that support on 16 and 17 August. I am flying down and would encourage others to attend.

  14. Gruntle Massey says:

    It’s a shame for SN Fraser it is taking so long.

    It is also a shame that there is not a mechanism to further exploit the veracity of Vass’s evidence and if it is strongly efficacious in signalling her innocence, use that as a lever to remove SNF from the prison system. Surely she could be put under house arrest with an electronic bracelet? At her age. Come on Tasmania, lift your game and change the system to be more compassionate.

  15. Rodger Warren says:

    Sue Neil-Fraser should be immediately released into the care of her family until her Appeal is heard.
    I refuse to visit Tasmania again until Sue is released.

  16. Wendy cameron says:

    Sue Neill Fraser should be Released.
    It is clear even to a layman that her conviction is unsafe.

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