Robert Richter QC to lead Sue Neill-Fraser appeal team

One of the prominent barristers who has always maintained that Sue Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction is unsustainable, Melbourne based Robert Richter QC, has announced in the Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal today via videolink from Melbourne that he will lead her appeal team at the hearing starting on Monday, March 1, 2021. 

Richter is acting pro bono and will be working alongside fellow appeal barristers Paul Smallwood and Chris Carr SC, and with instructing solicitor Paul Galbally, also Melbourne based.

Chief witness, Meaghan Vass, will be giving evidence from a remote witness room and will not be physically present in court.

Justice Wood also announced the court had decided not to stream or video record proceedings.

She said counsel from both sides had expressed concerns about prejudice should the appeal result in a retrial, “which may arise from wide exposure of evidence and witnesses”.

wrongfulconvictionreport.org editor Andrew L. Urban will be in Hobart at the court to cover the appeal – subject to seat availability in the covid-restricted court.

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14 Responses to Robert Richter QC to lead Sue Neill-Fraser appeal team

  1. Peter Leslie Martin says:

    Will the Tasmanian Prosecutors dig a bigger hole for themselves starting Monday?

  2. Rosemary says:

    the original delay from March 2020 to May 2020 before the covid delay seems to have been due to Mr Percy Schedule. But we are here now and Mr Richter should sort it out. However, as Tony says earlier, ‘a drovers dog could win it’, (on the Vass new evidence alone);with the persistence of the state to hang on to their conviction no matter what, expect an epic battle. Yes it is great it is pro bono but that only affects the legal representation fees, there is always a high cost of travel, accommodation etc over the years takes its toll to deplete the family resources against the bottomless pit of the state resources being thrown at it. Not to mention the emotional toll as well. Let this finally be over so that Sue can be free and her name cleared asap.

  3. Tom Cairns says:

    I am not a religious man but I pray to God that all goes well for Sue. Whatever happens the authorities in Tasmania have made history albeit the kind they could well do without
    And is anyone surprised that there will be no live-streaming? They have refused to broadcast the Undercurrent docos, they have vilely raided lawyers and private investigators and confiscated their records the way they do in any Fascist regime.
    The only person who successfully interviewed Meaghan Vass was Liam Bartlett who ought to be in that separate room giving her the moral support she needs.
    Some hope.
    And yes, thank you Robert Richter. We will need all your help.

    • Diane Kemp says:

      I agree Tom, I am not a religious person but pray that all goes well for Sue. No tricks this time, no false story, no biased judge just hearing the new evidence. No pressure on the 3 judges from behind the scenes, no wrench lying on the DPP table, just clear and concise evidence – something that was lacking before.

      Thank you Robert Richter – your stepping in is greatly appreciated. The outcome must be exoneration not retrial but hey, this is Tasmania.

  4. Robert Greenshields says:

    Monday March 1 2021 will be the day recognised as when the failed policing and judicial system that infests Tasmania (along with most other states), will again be bought to heel, and effectively shackled to the railway lines of honest transparent progress, awaiting its inevitable fate. Best wishes to Susan, her true supporters, and the legal active team.

  5. Tony Brownlee says:

    No offence to RR QC I know him, his reputation proceeds him and how good is the bloke to run the appeal for “nicks”, with the greatest respect to Bob a drovers dog should be able to win it with Vass’s evidence!

  6. LizP says:

    It’s great that Robert Richter will lead Sue Neill-Fraser’s appeal team.

  7. owen allen says:

    Go Robert Richter. I am on your team.
    Godspeed. And for the team and Sue, keep the faith.

  8. Anne Keller says:

    It seems incredible to me that, given the interest this case has generated over the years, that the proceedings will not be live-streamed.
    I, for one, am very disappointed and wonder why that decision was made.
    Let’s hope that after all this time, justice is served and Sue will be able to go home to her family.

    • Ross says:

      I tend to agree with your comments, however both sides have agreed.
      That said, we should be guided by the folk in Sue’s court, most of her supporters who agreed upon them as her representatives.

  9. Garry Stannus says:

    It’s disappointing that the court has decided not to live-stream or video record the proceedings. The Mercury has published an article on this matter: “Prominent silk Robert Richter QC announces he will lead Sue Neill-Fraser’s appeal hearing next week.”

    It makes no mention of Mr Percy QC, Sue Neill-Fraser’s former pro bono lawyer from WA. It was Mr Percy, who pulled the plug on the first appeal date (this was well before Covid reared its ugly head). At the time I felt he should have honoured the original date. There was no explanation given publicly at the time, just as now.

    From the New Daily (24/2/2021):
    Final preparations begin to hear ‘fresh and compelling’ evidence at Susan Neill-Fraser appeal
    [https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2021/02/24/susan-neill-fraser-appeal/]

    “The court was told key witness Meaghan Vass, whose DNA was found on the yacht, will give evidence at the hearing via video link from another room in the court.

    “Director of Public Prosecutions Daryl Coates said it is vital Ms Vass is in the court building so she can be given documents.

    “Neill-Fraser claims there is new evidence that Ms Vass, who was homeless at the time, was aboard the yacht the night of the murder and Mr Chappell was attacked while Ms Vass was there.”

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