Sue Neill-Fraser was not at crime scene

Andrew L. Urban

When At 11.50 am on Monday March 1, 2021, at the Sue Neill-Fraser appeal in Hobart, Meaghan Vass replied ‘Yes’ to the first question put to her by Robert Richter QC, the pent up anticipation of a five year wait since the appeal process began, was released. Richter had asked her to confirm that she was indeed on board the Four Winds, as her DNA showed, when and where Neill-Fraser was alleged to have murdered Bob Chappell.

Vass thus confirmed what she had said in her latest sworn statement of 25 February, 2017  as she had promised on 60 Minutes in March 2019.

Giving evidence via a videolink from a nearby room, Vass also provided other details of the confrontation that ended in the death of Bob Chappell, the alleged victim of Sue Neill-Fraser, who Vass stated was not there.

In the covid restricted court 1 (and by CCTV in court 2) of the Supreme Court in Salamanca, family and supporters of Neill-Fraser strained to hear the hushed words of the lawyers … strained in more ways than one.

After her evidence in chief, Vass was extensively cross examined by the DPP, Daryl Coates SC, who probed her memory, her testimony and her reliability to such an extent the court had to allow Vass to leave early due to her stressed state.

The case continues on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at 9.30am and is expected to last five days.

Fuller reporting of the hearing will follow.

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25 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser was not at crime scene

  1. Cheryl Dooley says:

    I really cannot understand the injustice to all in this case, it should have been solved immediately, these two women have been crucified with the inuendos and their treatment during this process. I wish Sue her precious family and Meaghan Cass a bette life in the very near future.

  2. This whole matter astounds me? We are now looking at the Folbigg case; my thoughts at the time(i am not a legal person just experienced with women escaping violence)were if one child could die of ‘cot death’ why not others? Whereas the powers that be immediately considered Folbigg a murderer. Also I find disturbing the intensity and persistence in the endeavours to prove these women, Chamberlain, Folbigg and Neill-Fraser guilty and at the same time almost causing Vass to collapse; is there raging a hate of women?

  3. Peter says:

    It has been reported that (Tuesday’s, not Monday’s) evidence included the following three lines, which will be in the transcript:

    “You can’t remember being on that boat can you?” director of public
    prosecutions Daryl Coates SC asked.

    “No,” Vass replied.

    My interpretation is …. if I am asked a question “you can’t remember ….” and I answer “yes”, I’m agreeing that … yes, I can’t remember.

    Vass’s answer of No must therefore mean she can remember. She therefore said she was on the boat, when asked by Daryl Coates SC. It should be in the transcript.

  4. Ben Dean says:

    ‘Sue Neill-Fraser was not at crime scene’ – certainty at the 2010 trial there was no compelling evidence to place Sue was on the Four Winds yacht, on the night of Australia Day 2009. A necessary Fact needing to be established for validly arguing guilt, since a perpetrator would have to be at the crime scene, and necessary for recognizing the Innocent. Since all those not a crime scene is compelling evidence for innocence. And the Onus on the State is the burden to prove in evidence who in Fact was at a crime scene, necessary to upholding human rights by recognizing and therefore protecting the innocent. But no, not in Tasmania.

  5. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Day 2 and Meaghan cannot recall the events she put forward yesterday, never mind her DNA or when it was possibly deposited on the yacht!!! Thank God this young woman is still alive to appear a second day. Well,Well,Well. “I can’t recall”!!!
    It all began to make sense that there was more than one person eg Sue Neil-Fraser, on the yacht to dispose of another persons body, according to Day 1’s admissions/evidence.
    Now we are informed “I can’t recall”. Plus, I believe we have names of others who were present. Question is: Will these people be called in for questioning about their alibis for that time?
    More importantly, we all hope Meaghan Vass is being properly protected for publicly naming those people.
    This young woman is is under so much pressure and according to her public statement I seriously hope the justice system in Tasmania is on top of this very dangerous situation for a woman who, for whatever reason, has had a troublesome night.

  6. Keith says:

    Who got to Meaghan overnight, Devine or the police? It’s a disgrace. What is undeniable is that her DNA was on the boat. If it was a trial to convict, it would be an open and shut case. That it is for an acquittal shouldn’t make any difference.

  7. Tom Cairns says:

    It is inevitable that the ‘powers that be’ will have their backs to the wall and are desperate to save face. Or put another way they have been in that position from the start and have resorted to some very questionable actions like raiding private property and literally committing common robbery.
    So it is not surprising that they are still playing dirty and intimidating Meaghan the way they did Susan Neill-Fraser all those years ago.
    Meaghan does indeed deserve not only praise but much material contribution and support from everyone so as to stablize her future. She is still only young and has time to rebuilt and this is an excellent start.
    On behalf of all those on this side Meaghan take deep breaths and feel proud of your self. You are surrounded by friends supporters and admirers and you can start getting used to it.

  8. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    A great day for all who have waited sooooo long for this day- day1 of the appeal. However, this is not yet over. We are after all hearing of a much twisted wrongful conviction in Tasmania!!!
    So much being said about Meaghan Vass and why it took her so long to come forward.
    We must remember, she was fifteen and I question if at that age she could be charged for perjury! She is now doing what any adult should do in court, and that is, telling the truth, which thankfully she bravely did on day 1. This young woman was in the sights of the police, the DPP and the judge. Yet they refused to have her recalled at Sue’s trial.
    So who is the real culprit here for the years lost in prison?
    Let’s hear this out to see who can dismiss the DNA which once again Meaghan said on day 1 of this appeal, was her vomit. Thank you again for the court reporting Andrew, and others who were also in attendance to relay a day of truth telling.

  9. Rodger Warren says:

    It is inevitable that Sue Neil-Fraser will be found not guilty and released, hopefully that will be very soon.
    However Sue is not the only person who has been been mistakenly convicted of a crime.
    There needs to be a Federal Criminal Cases Review Commission to look into suspect convictions, again I hope this will be very soon.

    • Greg says:

      Certainly agree that where there is circumstantial evidence ONLY, then a Federal Commission should review the case. But why hasn’t there been any of the two males said to be on the yacht, been identified.

  10. Deb Drummond says:

    How utterly heartbreaking to read that Sue’s parents both passed away while their daughter was in jail!

  11. Robert Greenshields says:

    I have followed the news reports of today, and I would like to say thank you to Meaghan for exhibiting the resolute determination and strength to confront the court, and honestly try to rectify her previous evidence. The very fact that as recorded, it seems that the DPP psychologically terrorised her, and reduced her to a dysfunctional state in the end today, does not diminish from her strength in giving evidence. The obvious motive of the DPP is to continue with the grossly unaccepted, accepted status quo within sections of Tasmanian policing and judicial practices, to create/choreograph, another predetermined judicial outcome, it patently seems. Keep strong and safe Meaghan, and remember that “tomorrow never need be a direct reflection of today or yesterday”.

    • Greg says:

      I can understand, but not condone the DPP’s action in trying to terrorise VASS. They don’t want egg on their face for wrongful conviction. This will be as bad as the Lindy Chamberlain murder case.

    • Jessica Horton says:

      And now she’s recanted that statement! Stating that she has been threatened into providing a statement and she was never on that boat. It seems the current DPP is doing exactly what the previous one is. I have to question if the threats are coming from the other parties involved in this crime, not the SNF supporters.

  12. Nigel Elliot says:

    Stephen yes Megan is brave but point here is why she didnt come forward sooner as this could and would have saved Sue from needless years in jail i just dont understand the mentality in that respect however better late than never as the saying goes. I have been fighting for Sue contacting people to free her from this wrongful conviction contacting HM The Queen, Boris Johnson , scott Morrison amongst others. I have know Sue since she was in her twenties and her dear dad Bronte who sadly passed while ishe was in jail. Sue is a very loving sweet and jund natured person and knew there was no way she could do such a horrible act its not in her nature. I am absolutely thrilled that she has been proven to be innocent which i always knew now that this is proven the judiciary and police will have no option but ti apologise and free her with a total vindication and her honour reinstated and now she will get back to her girls and grandiuds absolutely brilliant. What some dont know is that both her dad whom i called uncle Bronte out of respect and her mother both fied while she was in prison probably due to stress for which i blame the Hobart police and twisted judicial system. I was writing a letter to Sue last night just about finished and with this i dont know if she will get it before being freed but i still send it i hope that if Sue is free before my letter gets to her it takes 19 days average that the prison authorities will forward it on to Sue. Again this is best news made my day if you can please tell Sue ive written a letter to her so she knows to expect one from Nigel Elliot thank you and stay safe and keep well.

    • Andy says:

      Sooner? Who do u think would listen? Police?
      Thats a joke.
      Why do u think she went to 60 mins in the end?
      Maybe coz she had friends to stand by her and sixty mins listened. Least we can rely on them

  13. LB says:

    I recall that certain lawyers originally refused to recall Ms Vass, allegedly concerned at the time about her welfare, yet now we hear Mr Coates has today allegedly “probed her to such an extent that the court had to allow her to leave due to her stressed state”? Yet more incongruity ! Isn’t the DPP’s role to support the court, as an officer of that court, to ensure that a fair and proper decision can be made on the new evidence? This is not a prosecution? It is an Enquiry as to whether there is fresh and compelling evidence ! Tasmanian circus?

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      The rules for how Tasmanian DPP operates depend on which day of the week, or week of month it is. 😡

    • Greg says:

      Meagan VASS is the key to Sue Neill-Fraser’s release. this is why the DPP chose to try and sway her evidence. It’s egg on their face if Sue is found Not Guilty.

  14. Stephen Berry says:

    I just want to echo Keith’s words and to say that Megan is very brave and should be commended for speaking up. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

    • Elaine Goodyer says:

      Megan is to be admired for speaking out now and telling what happened. It has taken a lot of courage for her to do this. It does’nt take a genius to work out why she did’nt do this in the first place. I hope when this is over she is left alone by the media and the public and is given the support she will nedd.

  15. Keith says:

    We’ll done Meaghan, you showed great courage and the truth will set you free.
    I hope the SNF network in Hobart can give you all the support and safety you need when this is all over.
    Remember, it’s not your fault you had a difficult childhood and you have done the best you could with the cards you were dealt. Time now for you to spend time on yourself. Best wishes.

    • Diane Kemp says:

      Agree Keith and I am grateful that Meaghan was able to give her evidence today. That Coates could not help himself but try to make out she is an unreliable witness shows the length the DPP continue to go to keep Sue in prison. This is an appeal so the court can make a fair and just decision. Old tricks still continue in Tasmania.

  16. Aaron Fornarino says:

    Thank you for this Andrew.

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