Andrew L. Urban.
Just 18 months before Sue Neill-Fraser becomes eligible for parole after 13 years in prison, her new appeal will now be heard in the first week of March 2021 – coronavirus travel restrictions permitting, it was decided at a directions hearing yesterday afternoon (Oct. 7, 2020) in Hobart’s Supreme Court before Justice Wood.
All parties agree, including Neill-Fraser herself, that this appeal needs to be held in the court room with everyone physically present. (Her pro bono legal team coming from Perth and Melbourne.) The first witness will be Meaghan Vass, whose DNA was found on For Winds at the crime scene in 2009, after Bob Chappell went missing – and was presumed murdered by, police claimed, Neill-Fraser. She was arrested in August 2009 and convicted in 2010, jailed for 23 years (on appeal), 13 years non-parole.
A tearful and remorseful Vass told 60 Minutes on March 10, 2019, that it was her vomit on the deck and she was on board with two males when a fight broke out. Chappell’s body has never been found. Depending on the Vass testimony, the appeal is scheduled for five days.