Sue Neill-Fraser case demands Royal Commission: Richter QC

Andrew L. Urban.

On Tuesday morning, August 20, 2019, Robert Richter QC joined documentary maker Eve Ash on Seven’s Sunrise program, at the Melbourne vigil marking the 10th anniversary of Sue Neill-Fraser’s arrest for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell. Richter said the controversial case demands a Royal Commission, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming appeal.

Richter has been urging for such a Commission for six years. He explained that the appeal is about the conviction, while a Commission would seek to uncover the truth about what went wrong and why in the troubled history of the case.

Eve Ash told Sunrise she was 100% confident the appeal would be successful, and Richter emphasised how Meaghan Vass’ admission of being an eye witness to the crime matches her DNA found at the crime scene on Four Winds. And Sue Neill-Fraser was not there.


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17 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser case demands Royal Commission: Richter QC

  1. Mez says:

    Perhaps it is specifically Richter that nobody wants to listen to. He certainly did himself no favours in the Pell case when he resorted to victim blaming (ie those naughty little boys) and then later claiming any kind of child sexual abuse is at the ‘lower end of offending’ (ie tantamount to a confession). It would be political suicide to get on board with him now.

  2. Williambtm says:

    This case demonstrates that a number of public officials and members of the Exclusives in Tasmania are complicit and or culpable in denying justice to persons charged with serious offenses.
    Of additional concern is that there are more cases than just the SNF case that need to be re-investigated, if only it were possible to compel the State’s past and present judiciary appointees and officials to reveal the truth of the deceptions perpetrated in this State.
    My 3 year investigation into a particular Court case going back to 2006 (commenced late 2013 satisfactorily concluded 2017) that had revealed the fierce determination of Tasmania’s State government officials to both hinder and deny the true course of justice in the State of Tasmania.

  3. Judy says:

    In reply to Keith,LB & Gruntle who question why MPs are not doing anything – at least someone in power did “rock the boat” on Saturday, when the Speaker of the House, Sue Hickey, attended the vigil in Hobart. Sue ran for Parliament on a Liberal Party ticket, but was not nominated as Speaker by the Liberals, she has shown bravery on a number of issues in the Tasmanian Parliament, hence many locals believe she will not be pre-selected by the Liberal Party for the next election, however she has gained the respect of many Tasmanians for being game enough to vote by conscience even if occasionally at odds with her “party”. Unfortunately there seems (outwardly at least) to be no support, or even interest shown by the Tasmanian Labor opposition in the Sue Neill Fraser case debacle. It would be wonderful if more MPs were prepared to open-mindedly look at the case more closely.

    • John Spoth says:

      Yes, at least someone brave did. The rest are clearly not that interested as it’s not going to be great news for Tas govt and in the end Tas taxpayers who will have to wear the mess in the end as usual. It speaks of the growing indifference shown by govts who are hoping things like this will go away and the public will stop bothering them about it. Works for a while, but then it all hits the fan when things go too far (look at Hong Kong). Wonder why we vote and what our “system” is all about, it’s hardly democratic or fair at times.

  4. While obvious miscarriage of justice cases like this are ignored by the relevant authorities, how can anyone have any faith in the justice system?

    Last night on ABC’s The Drum, there was discussion about another high profile case. The most significant aspect of the discussion to me was the complete trust and loyalty all panelists had in the courts to always get it right.

    The Sue Neill-Fraser case is only one prominent example of how that trust and loyalty is grossly misplaced.

    • andrew says:

      An excellent point. Those who trust the justice system implicitly should be better informed. And should ask why there is a need for an appellate system. And why some convictions have been overturned, no thanks to the justice system self-correcting, but to innocence projects and Criminal Cases Review Commission, etc. Perhaps Lindy Chamberlain’s case has taught them nothing.

      • John Spoth says:

        Seems like it, but at times it does work when there’s an interest in it (eg: Pell case in Melb). We are living in a time of growing indifference, fostered self interest above all else and growing corruption. Life seems to be becoming cheaper and therefore expendable. We need more ICACs with huge teeth, and perhaps an ongoing Royal Commission. Seems none of the major political parties are covering themselves in glory, only their sponsors count, not us the hapless voters! Thank goodness for this website and a fearless press, who are sadly under attack (perhaps taking advantage of their lack of impact in a go faster world).

  5. Tom Cairns says:

    Obviously there is now much more than just a groundswell of public outrage. A Royal Commission no less! I could not agree more. Only the head-in-sand desperation of the authorities in Tasmania now stands in the way of ordinary human decency at keeping Sue Neill-Fraser retained as a criminal while her family waits to have her with them again.
    What are they hoping for, these people who got it so wrong, a miracle?

  6. I fail to see a Royal Commission happening as there has been too many cover ups.
    Can you imagine how many heads would roll. Too many have friends in higher places to prevent this from going further.

  7. Henry Gerard Fitzsimmons (Jerry) says:

    Keith, Robin, Di and LB, Sandra and Gruntle – your comments are inspiring to read. I hope you all keep
    speaking out, keep writing to those who have ‘selective hearing’ and keep taking the actions to call out those who really should be doing what you are all doing.
    I too, like you ponder and wait to see how long it will be before many of those ‘selective hearing’ representatives come on board when the work that you are all doing and I would like to include the work those who have spoken out over the past ten years have done, when all this dedicated belief in justice begins to sway publicly in Sue’s favour.
    That’s when we will all see and hear all the ‘fence sitters’ who could make such a difference now, yet, if only they could be true to themselves and those whom they supposedly represent then Sue’s ongoing miscarriage of justice could have an honest and fair outcome. Thank you also Andrew.

  8. sandra duncan says:

    David Walsh has done more to bring Tasmania into international attention than anyone else in the last few decades . Initially he was an outsider ( class wise to the old Tasmanian ruling hierarchy ). I wonder if he still has the courage to confront the local hegemony about this hideous violation of one woman’s human rights ? He could have the power to bring it to an international arena whilst bypassing the cultish almost incestuous but corrupt silencing power of the local ruling powers ? David Walsh you could become such a moral hero as well as an artistic icon !

  9. Keith says:

    This should be manna from heaven for the Opposition but where have they been? The silence is deafening.
    I’m a Liberal man but ashamed of the performance of the Tasmanian Government in this instance.
    An embarrassment indeed. A Royal Commisdion is the only answer.

  10. Robinbowles says:

    Too much skin in the game for all the people mentioned to initiate a Royal Commission. They are all afraid of what would emerge. Shame on the lot of them!

  11. Di Kemp says:

    I received no response from the Tasmanian Governor, the Attorney General cannot comment because it is before the court, the previous Governor General said the same and the Prime Minister did not respond. I have again sent a letter to the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, Tasmania Attorney General but so far no response has been received. I have been requesting that Sue be placed in home detention until her appeal has been held based on the evidence that Meaghan has stated she was not present and has provided names of those who were and that a Royal Commission occur to look into this whole mess and hold people accountable for their actions.

    These are all public servants – the title says it all – who have failed to respond to a member of the public and have failed to act honestly and ethically for Sue. It makes me ashamed to be an Australian.

    Shame on them all !!!

  12. LB says:

    Just how long will Tasmania ignore calls for a review of this tragic case? Why is nobody in Tasmania listening to the advice of Robert Richter QC ? (among others – he is not the only experienced lawyer publicly expressing concerns) It is simply unacceptable.

    It is a fob off to say “it’s all before the courts” and I find that behaviour morally reprehensible. Suppression of the truth, failure to investigate, and ignoring concerns from eminent lawyers are all very bright red flags that themselves warrant another review.

    Public vigils highlight the concerns of everyday citizens, perhaps now we need a group of lawyers to combine and seriously lobby the seemingly disinterested and inactive Tasmanian Premier, Attorney General and Governor. These people are public servants, who are not serving the public at all in this matter, in my view. This case must be circulated internationally as it highlights Tasmania as a complete backwater that needs to swiftly lift its game if it wants to be considered part of Australia. How can they just sit back and ignore the calls for review? Australia is meant to be a fair minded, friendly and democratic nation – it is difficult to believe this is happening here.

    I have read where others have said the wrong people are in prison – Tasmanians need to stand up and demand action.

    I am at a complete loss as to why there is nobody in power in Tasmania willing to stand up and right this wrong, gaining considerable kudos in doing so !

    • Gruntle Massey says:

      Realise that the executive(parliament), the judiciary(courts), and the administrative( police et al) arms of the public service are all intimately linked. Corruption or at least a little back sctaching goes on a numerous levels, and anyone who whislte blows or otherwise upsets the apple cart can find their tenure becoming precarious with strings being pulled in the background. It takes a very brave, resilient, impartial and unvested soul to stand up and make things uncomfortable for those presiding over this potentially damning mess. Rocking the boat will pretty well make you an outcast. If this appeal is successful, its going to cast media scrutiny on quite a few people , and I doubt they will be happy about it.

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