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.
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.
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;
|1.3:||The dinghy seen near the Four Winds around the time the deceased was attacked was not the Four Winds’ tender.|