Sue Neill-Fraser – conviction rests on a dark fantasy

Andrew L. Urban.

As the late author and thinker Christopher Hitchens famously noted, ‘What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.’ Not in the Tasmanian legal system, it can’t. Hence the tortuous, 11-year legal journey of Sue Neill-Fraser, convicted in 2010 of murdering her partner Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009. Now it’s up to the three appeal judges. So while we wait … 

Many readers have engaged with the various elements of this case over the years, many making common sense observations, some obsessively claiming specialist expertise, some commenting from the heart and expressing sympathy for Sue Neill-Fraser. Here is the skeleton of the legal case – as presented to the jury.

At trial, prosecutor then DPP Tim Ellis SC speculated – all without evidence :-

* how Sue Neill-Fraser might have got back to the Four Winds after lunching with Bob Chappell’s sister at the Sandy Bay Yacht Club;

* how she must have attacked him from behind below deck with a wrench or screwdriver (no weapon ever found) – because had she been a stranger he would have turned round;

* how she must have winched him up to the deck;

* how she must have dumped his body, bound to a heavy fire extinguisher, in the dinghy;

* how she then got into the dinghy and took it out somewhere to dispose of the body into the water (no body ever found);

These propositions are all part of a dark fantasy, and there is little point assessing or even discussing their feasibility in the real world (commenters please note). Like, for example, whether Sue Neill-Fraser was physically capable of doing any or all those things. Why bother talking about the winching? About the unknown murder weapon? Or the logistics of manipulating a body on a yacht and in a dinghy? She certainly shouldn’t have to prove their impossibility in a legal system that prides itself (perhaps not always) on the presumption of innocence. It’s the Crown’s task to prove its case BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

What IS worth talking about though, is how the presumption of innocence was effectively negated by repeated accusations of her lying, on matters that were presented as circumstantial evidence. The jury were encouraged to consider that (for example) ‘If you say you were at Bunnings that day and can’t prove it on the CCTV footage … you must be lying and hiding your real activity, which was murdering Bob Chappell.’

The first appeal against the conviction was heard in 2012; it is depressing to note the failure of the Criminal Court of Appeal to take that opportunity to correct errors made at trial. The decision to reject all grounds of appeal is arguably (and obviously) wrong; see for yourself

And now (since March 1-3, 2021), the new appeal judges have retired to consider their verdict after hearing from counsel from the applicant (Neill-Fraser) and the respondent (the Crown). Was the DNA matched to Meaghan Vass on the deck a primary transfer by her – as testified post-trial by the expert witness from the Victorian Police forensic service; or a secondary transfer simply walked onto the deck on someone’s shoe, after the murder, as always claimed by the Crown?

Imagine if the appeal court were to dismiss her appeal, believing that the new DNA evidence is not conclusive or not fresh. We know where that would leave Neill-Fraser: in jail, having to embark on a massive new fight to get her case before the High Court.

But where would that leave the reputation of Tasmania’s legal system, and the public’s confidence in it, given the absence of any primary evidence presented to the jury to justify the conviction? Talk all you want, but I’m with Hitchens.

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70 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser – conviction rests on a dark fantasy

  1. Emma Yukov says:

    Andrew

    It seems that you didn’t quite catch on.

    When Mr Jones was asked in 2017 about the survivability of the biological substance, he said it could be days, but his preferred expert opinion is 1-2 days. In other words, he didn’t think it likely that the DNA would have been of good enough quality after 2 days on the deck.

    • andrew says:

      I refer you to Peter Gill’s comment on this: here is the relevant part-
      Jones said he favoured 1 or 2 days. If Jones for example thought the chances are (to give one example):
      Less than one day 10%
      1 or 2 days 35%
      3 or 4 days 30%
      5 or 6 days 15%
      7 or more days 10%,
      then Jones favours 1 or 2 days, which is what he said.

      It’s at best a scientist’s guesstimate…

      • Emma Yukov says:

        Emma Yukov: your comment is withheld. We are not going down the bottomless pit of debating expert DNA testimony. Please pursue that with the relevant witnesses.

  2. Felix Greenwood says:

    Your latest comment has been withheld from publication. This could be due to one of a number of criteria, including the regurgitating of matters previously addressed/debated at length, lack of relevance, ignorance of the key facts of the case, denigration of others/disrespectful commentary, distractions or attempted disruptions and ‘remote psychoanalysis’ of persons involved in the case in question. No correspondence will be entered into.

  3. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Andy, thank you once again. You have mentioned something VERY RELEVANT to this whole case, “the missing blue rag”. Imagine where Lindy Chamberlain would be today if the matinee jacket had not been FOUND. So my question is, and has previously been, WHERE IS THIS BLUE RAG? Why and how could an investigating team misplace a this piece of cloth that apparently was placed at some point placed in a locker in a laboratory with other items?
    C’mon Keith! You make it sound like, yeh, this is not relevant, let’s get rid of it. Well I’m afraid everything found on that yacht was relevant and I don’t believe you have the right to tell anyone “No need to carry on about the BLUE RAG any more”.
    Andy, what you “merely mentioned” is VERY important.
    This would be thoroughly checked out should there ever be CCRC, a Royal Commission or other enquiry into this investigative ‘missing piece of evidence’ and when it is discovered why it was never put forward, now that we are all discovering the missing links to the deception that was played out in the initial trial, it will become clear Keith that the rag you were aware of that went missing was a vital piece of evidence.
    It was the finding of a vital piece of POLICE evidence that freed four and then six convicted people in what became known as the 1970’s Guildford and Birmingham bombing trials in the UK.
    Keith, read “Proved Innocent”, particularly page 214. This book was made into the movie,”In the Name of the Father”. I would recommend you watch it if the reading gets to difficult.
    If “Gareth Pierce, solicitor” had “NOT CARRIED ON” then 10 innocent convicted people would have served out ‘wrongful convictions’ in prison.
    However, as we all know, this is in the hands of three trial judges who will decide if that initial trial was unblemished and properly prosecuted. As they say, ‘The ball’s in their court”!

    • JENNIFER KLINE says:

      People keep bringing up a blue rag. The issue of the blue rag was discussed during the right-to-appeal appearing. I am surprised that people still aren’t aware of what was said about the blue rag a few years ago.

      I am informing the interested people of what the DPP (Daryl Coates) said during the right-to-appeal application.

      The DPP said that the photographs taken by police onboard the yacht while it was still moored near Marieville Esplanade did not show any rags.

      https://www.themercury.com.au/news/scales-of-justice/testing-times-as-convicted-killer-susan-neillfrasers-lastditch-appeal-returns-to-supreme-court/news-story/1613330ca23b6605e8d0502dcba89930

      In other words, as was stated by Felix, there is no evidence that the blue rag was present on the walkway (next to the spot where Meaghan’s DNA was found ) on the morning of 27th when cops boarded the boat.

      • Andy says:

        Why did they take it then or better yet lose/get rid of it……
        No doubt it was there for a reason, so the coins on deck that were removed before photos taken…..spose they arent relevent either

    • Emma Yukov says:

      Why is the blue rag “VERY RELEVANT to this whole case?

      It’s just a theory that was published in Southern Justice whose aim was to somehow link the rag to a hypothetical scenario of Meaghan vomiting and then using the rag to vipe clean the deck.

      Let’s just suppose that the hypothetical scenario that Colin envisaged did occur. Wouldn’t the action of cleaning the vomit then transfer her vomit onto the rag? If so then wouldn’t that rag have been pushed around by the wind and by people trampling over that very location on the morning of 27th when they boarded the yacht via that very location to search for Bob and to pump the water from the partially submerged yacht. Wouldn’t the rag then leave some vomit smudges and thus transfer Meaghan’s DNA to those locations of the walkway that is about a metre away?

      The one thing that was ignored in the hypothetical scenario invented by Colin is that he didn’t bother to check whether cops boarded via that very gate on the morning of 27th and what impact that would have had on altering the forensic and physical evidence at that location.

      • andrew says:

        Your information is incorrect. Given all the interest in the blue rag, I have now published factual information that contradicts your assertion that ‘it was just a theory that was published in Southern Justice’.

        • Felix Greenwood says:

          Whoever has access to ‘Southern Justice’ ought to read the top paragraph on page 121.

          It is clear to me that Colin hypothesised that Meaghan used the blue rag to wipe her mouth and face.

          Interestingly, Colin stated in that paragraph that she vomited DOWNSTAIRS.

          • andrew says:

            And the prosecutor hypothesised that Sue Neill-Fraser murdered Bob Chappell downstairs with a wrench, winched his body up on deck etc etc etc

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        Emma – I agree that had that blue rag been there on the walkway from the evening of the murder and had the rag also been smudged with gastric juices and/or regurgitated food, then it is likely that there would haven been a transfer of DNA from the rag onto the deck, particularly if the rag was moved around along that particular walkway by wind (or the heavy footraffic on the morning of 27th along there very walkway). There would have been smudges that. But there is no evidence of Meagan’s DNA at any other locations nearby on that walkway. On this basis, we can argue that the story of Meaghan cleaning her mouth or the vomit from the deck with that blue rag isn’t backed up by the evidence on the deck itself.

  4. Peter Leslie Martin says:

    I feel uncomfortable about the time being taken by the appeal judges to give their judgement. Do these seemingly simple matters (in my mind) usually take so long?

  5. Williambtm says:

    If I may again reiterate the simple but absolute fact relating to the SNF case?
    Ms. Sue Neill-Fraser was convicted through and by the hypothetical scenarios that had been expelled as hot air from the mouth of the former now-disgraced Director of Public Prosecutions. Note: An absolute, irrevocable fact conclusion.

    (I am a resident of Tasmania and here state that I have from its beginning through to its absolutism to be a falsified conclusion. I had read the entirety of all and every item of the pieces of evidence and reports specific to this matter.)
    Moreover, I am aware of other examples of this same State’s concluded Supreme Court Trial outcomes, which proves my comment as an indisputable item of historical fact.

  6. Felix Greenwood says:

    Hi everyone,

    Whatever Meaghan said in the court last week is now absolutely irrelevant from the point of this appeal because the defence barrister totally abandoned her testimony. Get over it. Get over everything else that isn’t part of this appeal. Whatever was presented at the right-to-appeal but wasn’t used as a ground of the appeal is also now irrelevant. Had there been sufficient credibility in all the evidence that was presented during the right-to-appeal then it would have been a ground of appeal. Move on and focus on the matters that the two opposing teams argued on the 3rd day of the appeal. Otherwise you will be forever stuck in the useless debates and insignificant opinions.

  7. Stephen Berry says:

    Hi guys.
    Not up to speed with the latest unfathomable legal court proceedings but, did I hear correctly that Megan Vass did reveal the names of the three others who were on the Four Winds that day/night with her. If so, why have the police not re-opened the case because by naming them she has in effect accused them of knowing what ever happened to Bob Chapel.
    Now, as I have always believed that the two other inflatables, seen tied to the Four winds that afternoon and identified as not belonging to the Four Winds were there because others had gone to the Four Winds to burgle it. An accident had happened and Bob was dead. A phone call was made and the second inflatable arrived and took Bobs body away and he is buried on land. Now, if that is the case, I would think that one or more of the three males identified by Vass are linked to who ever disposed of Bobs body and knows where it is. I know its speculation but the reason I have put the question is because we now have the names and Megan Vass’s account of what occurred on the Four Winds and so do the police. Therefore it should be investigated. Who are the people? who are they linked to? where are they now? what is their history? Bob Chapel and Sue, deserve better than some word battle between the legal fraternity in order to polish their own egos.

    • Tom Cairns says:

      Quite so, Stephen, and together with Andrew’s excellent “dark fantasy” we can refocus on the hard facts rather than angry protests of which I am often as guilty as the next.
      The question does remain ever since Meaghan Vass declared on national television that she would submit the name or names of those present at the crime scene when Bob Chappell was being attacked as to why was there no vigorous police follow up? If the statement was simply a red herring then why did Taspol not seize the opportunity to discredit the claim? But no, just more silence.
      We can lose sight of the main issue which is the lack of material evidence and the weight of legal process that was based on conjecture alone. The level of incompetence right to the bench itself is at variance with the intelligence of Susan Neill-Fraser, an educated and articulate lady so far removed from the irresponsible meanderings that have stolen her best years.
      As far as the ‘appeal’ is concerned, why is it taking so long to reach a decision? Is this just more procrastination? What is there to consider?

      • Phil Sidebottom says:

        Your latest comment has been withheld from publication. This could be due to one of a number of criteria, including the regurgitating of matters previously addressed/debated at length, lack of relevance, ignorance of the key facts of the case, denigration of others/disrespectful commentary, distractions or attempted disruptions and ‘remote psychoanalysis’ of persons involved in the case in question. No correspondence will be entered into.

    • Andy says:

      They know already n dont care

  8. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Andrew, just as a matter of interest, I went back to your day 3 of the appeal commentary, “Vass testimony & the courtroom war over DNA”, and was pleased, like Tom Cairns said, to see the comments had just kept coming. That 117 responses had been made this was great to see. The level of response was great but I note that some were blocked out. I do not know why but I would guess that the adage to a freedom of the press requires responsible comment. Although you are the adjudicator to what you receive I certainly believe that the civil liberties that we are all entitled to enjoy, must at all times be respectful of each other when commenting. We don’t have to agree but, we need to disagree respectfully.
    I couldn’t agree with you more when you say, “The reputation of Tasmania’s legal system” should be under a cloud and that includes the legal eagles in government who I forecast will come out in their droves claiming their belief in Sue Neil-Fraser should the decision of the three appeal judges be in her favour.
    I am aware of only one currently in politics who has publicly and continually spoke on behalf of SueNeil-Fraser, Mr Andrew Wilkie,MP.
    What we also need to remember is, that a jury of adults, who with the information that has now come forward and that was absent at the initial trial eg primary/ secondary DNA evidence, would they have made a “with or without reasonable doubt” decision on the assertions presented to them then!
    Skilful deception is rife in the justice system. Thank god hanging is no longer an option.

  9. Felix Greenwood says:

    Emma, you are perfectly correct in saying that the crux of the Crown’s case was that the DNA was deposited after the night of the murder, irrespective of how it got there.

    What may have confused some people is Coates’ argument regarding the possibility that the jury would have to weigh the defence argument of it being deposited on the night of murder against other evidence which would have ruled Meaghan out (inside knowledge of seacock, etc)

  10. Marnie says:

    Why are we still discussing Megan Vass’s DNA found as vomit on the Four Winds on Jan 26th 2009.
    She has variously said she was onboard that night and she has admitted that Sue N-F was not.
    The vomit has been linked to her DNA – she was there with others who hold the secret.
    Daryl Coates SC (DPP) bullied the confused and fearful Meghan Vass to the point where her evidence was removed from the grounds of appeal.
    She is the only witness who can free the accused but the disgusting behavior of Coates has most possibly ended that line of reliable evidence.
    He has destroyed an innocent woman and a very fragile woman.
    I seriously hope his shame with goes with him for as long as he lives.

    • Alex says:

      It wasn’t found on Jan 26th – it was found at a later date, and the forensic evidence cannot definitively determine that she was on the boat on the 26th. She was also variously said that she wasn’t onboard on the 26th – so how can anyone tell which version is the truth?

  11. owen allen says:

    There is absolutely nothing that adds up to guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.
    Or is that just Hollywood fantasy.

    • Phil Sidebottom says:

      So all you have to do to get away with MURDER is to make up enough rubbish stories that COULD have been and that forms reasonable doubt? Tell him he’s dreaming

  12. Emma Yukov says:

    Let’s entertain the possibility that it is a primary deposit left there on the night of murder.

    Given that the location of the deposit was on the walkway in front of the starboard boarding gate (probably the very first step or at most the second step) doesn’t the evidence of several people boarding via that very boarding gate early the next morning when the bow of the boat was partially submerged suggest that people would have trampled over that very spot numerous times during that morning and would have thus spread the DNA to nearby locations on the walkway? But there were no other nearby locations that had the biological substance with Meaghan’s DNA. Doesn’t this scenario (besides Jones’ 1-2 day opinion) also indicate that it is unlikely that the DNA was deposited prior to the police boarding the boat on the morning of 27th?

    • Rosemary says:

      1. the lack of findings in ‘other spots’ lessens an argument of secondary transfer
      2. the walkway being trampled over by several people, (so to assume dna strength of depeosit would have been degraded was answered on Day 3 by Mr Carr for defense explaining by the example given where a bathroom tiled floor having been cleaned was later able to give a good dna sample from the grout. The grouted area being lower and hence take that same scenario to the ‘non slip’ surfacing on the yacht at the point of the walkway shows that foot traffic does not interfere in the lower parts in the gritted surface. An illustration would work better here if people are unfamiliar with the profile of a non slip surface on the decks of boats.
      3. timing :- when it is stated in ‘days’ and 30th is given, we must remember that it is 1.30am the timing of the sample taken, due to the need for total darkness for teh luminol to show up. That is closer to MN of 29th. SO the hours is a better reference. (ie 22 and a half hours of the 30th still to go) Precision in this case is critical as the spin on facts seem to slim them down, eg only speaking of one person’s DNA when other mixed dna is often involved as well creating different perceptions of the facts)
      4. RE unidentified DNA. (a) two male dna on the deck (b) two unidentified on a glove found under the wooden trim on 4 winds port side near the cock pit. Incomplete investigation could provide more answers to who was on board as well?
      Maybe what is ‘unknown’ is more crucial to solution of the case than what is known?

      • Felix says:

        Was the “bathroom tiled floor” exposed to solar UV radiation for a period of 3 days? I don’t think so. The defence is using a totally irrelevant example.

        • andrew says:

          The bottom line, of course, is that in the event that the new DNA evidence fails to convince the appeal judges, that would not confirm Sue Neill-Fraser’s guilt. Her conviction would remain a miscarriage of justice, as argued in the article above.

    • Peter Gill says:

      Were any photos taken by DNA collectors of the dinner-plate sized deposit which later was linked to Meaghan’s DNA? If that deposit was a secondary transfer on someone’s shoe, was that person a 4m tall person with size 20 feet? Otherwise, how else could the deposit be so big?

      Jones’ apparent “2 day” answer to a question is not based on any science whatsoever and is contradicted by top DNA experts overseas with whom I checked this week. One of them suggested that a very simple experiment could be done to establish the degree of degradation of a large vomit sample over a four day period. In the absence of someone doing such an experiment, Emma and anyone else who mention Jones’ opinion are relying on speculation. Most unscientific.

      Emma’s description of the DNA deposit as a “spot” seems bizarre to me, given its actual measurements.

      Somewhere on this website this week, someone (Felix? sorry, my memory is hazy) posted a comment about a research article studying DNA degradation of blood. A dinner plate sized deposit is exceedingly unlikely to be blood, which usually is found as drops or droplets or smears or small stains or specks. Research about blood has nothing to do with this case. One side claims the DNA deposit was a 4 day old deposit arising from vomit. It’s fairly simple to do a test if you want to start speculating that it might only be 2 days’ old. Assuming you are not afraid of the truth.

      • Felix says:

        Peter Gill, you are assuming that the DNA was spread over the same aize area as the area that luminol reacted to. You are assuming that the original deposit of the biological substance that contained the DNA was over the same size area as the area that reacted to luminol. You are assuming that it wasn’t blood.

        To help you understand the case evidence better, here is a quote from the Trial Transcript. It is in an email of March 2010 from the state DNA forensic expert who was giving testimony at the trial:

        “There was an area, the black outline in the photos, of
        positive luminol which suggests the presence of blood.
        However, our testing of the swab taken from the area
        was negative for the blood screening test, suggesting
        that we cannot confirm the presence of blood. Given
        the strong DNA profile that we obtained from this swab,
        I’d suggest that this is indicative of the presence of a
        relatively large amount of DNA which is more likely to
        come from bodily fluids, blood, saliva, than a simple
        contact touching event. So basically we cannot say of
        any certainty where the DNA may have come from. The
        positive luminol result suggests that the source may have been blood, and the fact that this was an external
        surface means there may have been washing or
        weathering events that have prevented us from being
        able to definitively identify the presence of blood.
        More complex scenarios such the luminol result,
        coming from an older event, e.g. an old stain which has
        been overlaid by more recent events, which is where the
        DNA came from, e.g. spitting on the deck cannot also
        be ruled out. I hope this makes sense.”

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        You are assuming that it was vomit.

      • Felix says:

        Why didn’t the defence do their own test to bolster their argument that the the same quality of DNA could have been retained after 3 full days.

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        There were approximately 3 full days between the night of murder and the time the swab was taken on 30th.

        My understanding is that since the issue of how long the DNA could have retained its high quality arose in late 2017 that the defence therefore had more than ample time since then (over 3 years) to prove that the high quality could have lasted for up to 3 days.

        Wouldn’t it have been better for Richter and his team had they presented a forensic report that is based on experiments with various sources of bodily fluid (blood, saliva) proving that DNA would have retained high quality that was comparable to the quality of the DNA that was obtained from the yacht in 2009? Wouldn’t that have been better rather than using an unreliable witness or offering reports on scientifically irrelevant data.

        My understanding is that it was mid-summer late Jan. The UV index in Tasmania is extreme on most days in summer.

        “In December and January, the position of the sun over Tasmania gives the state a UV index of 11 or more on most days, which is classified as “extreme” on the UV index. Tasmania’s lack of humidity and generally clear skies contribute to the stinging feeling of the sun. UV can reflect off buildings and water, making it possible to get a higher dose of UV from these reflected rays, even in the shade.”

        https://thehobartmagazine.com.au/whats-with-the-weather/

        • Lola Moth says:

          Felix, my understanding is that any new expert opinions regarding evidence that has already been picked over in the original trial cannot be considered for this case. Only ‘fresh and compelling’ evidence can be brought before the court, not a rehash of old arguments. The dna evidence you mention is similar to our arguments on this site – neither fresh nor compelling.

          • Felix says:

            The law doesn’t allow the prosecution to present any new evidence at the appeal that wasn’t used at the trial but the defence can introduc new evidence.

            The defence expert gave an opinion in 2017 under cross-examination that the deposit was more likely to have been deposited 1-2 days prior to it being swabbed.

            I am simply providing the readers of this blog a possible scientific explanation as to what would have happened to DNA on the exposed deck under extreme UV radiation for a length of time.

            The defence had 3 years to do relevant scientific experiments to prove that the DNA would have been of high quality after 3 days in the deck midsummer in Hobart. They had summer of 2017, summer of 2018, summer of 2019, summer of 2020 and summer 2021. That is 5 summers since Maxwell’s opinion in 2017.

      • Felix says:

        There is no forensic evidence that it was vomit.

        There is no forensic evidence that it couldn’t have been blood but was below the threshold of detection by the screening agent.

        Since only one swab was taken, there is no forensic evidence that the DNA was spread over the same area over which the luminol reacted to. Had there been several separate swabs from different parts of the luminol positive area and had each swab returned a DNA result then and only then can one say that the DNA was spread over the same size area as the lumimol reacted to.

        It is thus scientifically incorrect to state that “A dinner plate sized deposit is exceedingly unlikely to be blood, which usually is found as drops or droplets or smears or small stains or specks.”

        It is thus also scientifically invalid to argue that “If that deposit was a secondary transfer on someone’s shoe, was that person a 4m tall person with size 20 feet? Otherwise, how else could the deposit be so big?”

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        “One of them suggested that a very simple experiment could be done to establish the degree of degradation of a large vomit sample over a four day period.”

        There is an assumption in your sentence that the deposit was a vomit.

        • andrew says:

          Just by the way, any such assumption might have been formed from the statement by Meaghan Vass that she vomited on the deck of the yacht. From 60 Minutes transcript:
          LIAM BARTLETT: When you say there was a lot of blood, were you downstairs, were you on the deck, were you in the cabin?

          MEAGHAN VASS: I’m – aah … …. on deck I think.


          LIAM BARTLETT: And what was your reaction to that? 

          MEAGHAN VASS: [indistinct: ‘It’s when’?] I’ve thrown up, the vomit.

          • Felix Greenwood says:

            The DNA expert that Peter Gill contacted should have been informed that there was no forensic evidence that the biological substance was vomit before being asked for opinion.

      • JENNIFER KLINE says:

        Peter Gill, this is statement of the DPP (Coates) last week in the court:

        “He gave evidence that given the quantity of the DNA, and the fact there was no degradation, he thought the most likely [scenario] was the sample had only been there one or two days,”

        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-03/susan-neill-fraser-appeal-closing-arguments-begin/13209792

        • Peter Gill says:

          Jennifer – I disagree with your apparent claim that Coates should be charged with perjury. Coates’s statement might merely be an error, not perjury. Jones said he favoured 1 or 2 days. If Jones for example thought the chances are (to give one example):
          Less than one day 10%
          1 or 2 days 35%
          3 or 4 days 30%
          5 or 6 days 15%
          7 or more days 10%,
          then Jones favours 1 or 2 days, which is what he said.

          It is a lie to then say that Jones said 1 or 2 days is most likely, when the chance of it not being 1 or 2 days (65%) is more likely than 35%.

          Although you seem to be going out of your way to point out a lie by Coates in court, I disagree with your approach. I think it might merely be an error by Coates. I don’t see the need for you to draw attention to such errors by Coates. Just because he misquotes people and puts words that they didn’t say into their mouths simply makes Coates a typical error-prone human.

  13. Emma Yukov says:

    My understanding of day 3 of the appeal is that the new appeal judges can decide that even if they accept that it was a primary transfer they can conclude that it was deposited after the night of murder.

    • andrew says:

      Maybe … though hard and fast evidence for that is hard to come by. Mr Coates was arguing two contradictory propositions: either the DNA was a secondary transfer on the day of the murder, OR it was a primary transfer by Vass days later at Goodwood… More speculation, really, but not likely to persuade anyone that both could be true.

      • Andy says:

        They also have her dna on the blue rag that conveniently went missing remember

        • Felix Greenwood says:

          Irrelevant. There is no evidence that it had her DNA. There is no evidence that it was on the walkway next to the DNA when a number of police officers and at least one civilian boarded via that very location on the morning of 27th. Whatever Meaghan said about vomit is also no longer a relevant matter in this appeal. Whatever she said on 60 Minutes, in her affidavit or in the Court is now totally irrelevant to the appeal because the defence barrister totally abandoned her testimony.

          • andrew says:

            Irrelevant … legally, perhaps, but not to the establishment of the truth. Public interest continues to agitate for explanations of what is a legally inexplicable situation.

          • Felix Greenwood says:

            Your latest comment has been withheld from publication. This could be due to one of a number of criteria, including the regurgitating of matters previously addressed/debated at length, lack of relevance, ignorance of the key facts of the case, denigration of others/disrespectful commentary, distractions or attempted disruptions and ‘remote psychoanalysis’ of persons involved in the case in question. No correspondence will be entered into.

        • Felix Greenwood says:

          I am aware that the rag was removed from the evidence and that it wasn’t tested for DNA. Hence why I said that there is no evidence that it had her DNA. It is likely that the rag was removed from the evidence because it was recognised that the rag wasn’t on the walkway when the first few police officers boarded the boat via that particular boarding gate (starboard) on the morning of 27th. No need to carry on about the blue rag any more.

  14. Emma Yukov says:

    “Was the DNA matched to Meaghan Vass on the deck a primary transfer by her – as testified post-trial by the expert witness from the Victorian Police forensic service; or a secondary transfer simply walked onto the deck on someone’s shoe, after the murder, as always claimed by the Crown?”

    Was the opinion of the expert that the primary deposit was on the day of the murder?

    • andrew says:

      DNA doesn’t have a time stamp, as we know. I can find no reference to Jones, the DNA expert witness at the leave hearing Oct 30, 2017, being asked about when it was likely deposited.
      At trial, the Crown didn’t dispute when it was deposited, only keen to argue that it was not a primary but a transferred DNA deposit.

      • Emma Yukov says:

        Then you either probably missed the relevant news article or overlooked it, as most of us do at times when we are preoccupied with believing in one version of the story and aren’t searching for information that could disconfirm our existing opinion.

        Does this online The Advocate news article from OCTOBER 31 2017 not indicate that Maxwell Jones was asked about his opinion on whether the DNA was deposited on the night of murder or closer to the time when the swab was taken on 30th?

        Susan Neill-Fraser appeal: Homeless girl’s DNA possibly transferred to boat | The Advocate | Burnie, TAS

        https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/5024934/dna-questioned-in-susan-neill-fraser-murder-appeal/

        • andrew says:

          Thanks, I did miss it. “I’ll be favouring … one or two days.” I’m not sure how much store to put by that given the Crown is now trying to suggest that maybe she went on board at Goodwood…depositing her DNA directly then. So which is it? Direct at Goodwood or secondary at the crime scene?

          • Emma Yukov says:

            Perhaps my own understanding is a little muddled. I was of the understanding that Coates argued that the deposit was after the night of murder, irrespective of how it got there because Maxwell stated in 2017 that it was deposited 1-2 days prior to it being swabbed.

            Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

          • andrew says:

            First, Maxwell Jones should not be boxed in; ‘1-2 days’ is an imprecise descriptor, subject to varying conditions. But I stick by my observation that Mr Coates was at one stage arguing that what Mr Jones was saying was not very different to what Mr Grosser said at trial. And then later, speculated about Vass being on board at Cleanlift, vaguely referring to some evidence that may put Vass in the area. Those are the two positions. And that to me smacks of desperation …

        • Emma Yukov says:

          I hate to contradict people. I just re-read what was reported on day 3 of the appeal.

          It disagrees with your understanding that

          “Mr Coates was arguing two contradictory propositions: either the DNA was a secondary transfer on the day of the murder, OR it was a primary transfer by Vass days later at Goodwood”

          Please read this sentence carefully to note that Coates did not argue that the secondary transfer was on the day of murder:

          “The Crown’s hypothesis is that she didn’t get on the vessel, or that she got on the vessel at Cleanlift,”

          https://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/day-3-mums-innocent-daughter-says-ahead-of-third-day-of-appeal/news-story/bafb7fb6abb952366854c62e17c2632c

          • Andy says:

            Why should we believe anyone as to what happened if we arent allowed to listen to megz

          • Peter Gill says:

            Emma – Maxwell Jones did not even suggest, let alone (to quote you): “stated in 2017 that it was deposited 1-2 days prior …”. His reply during cross examination was: “I’ll be favouring ….one or two days.” He didn’t state that it was. His words strongly indicate that he was just guessing. So I sought the advice of two of the world’s most famous DNA experts who do not agree with Mr Jones’ opinion.

            And if one person favours one or two days, and when/if someone with access to DNA sampling and testing actually does some testing and discovers it is three days, nobody would be surprised.

            Next thing, I guess I’ll be reading that someone claims that I said the deposit was vomit when I made no such claim.

            Misquoting …. misrepresenting …. all we need from you in these comments are some intimidatory remarks and you two (three?) will be fully qualified as Tasmanian prosecutors.

          • JENNIFER KLINE says:

            In reply to Peter Gill:

            Given that Maxwell Jones had a number of options (such as up to 4 days) to say about the length of time that the DNA could have maintained a high quality on the exposed deck but chose to say “I’ll be favouring ….one or two days.”, doesn’t that mean that he didn’t think it was likely that the deposit was on the exposed deck for more than 2 days prior to it being swabbed?

            Whether he dependent on junk science or was incorrect is another matter but we don’t know what body of scientific knowledge he dependent on. He might have been aware of some case examples or some scientific studies that were relevant to the scenario.

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        Aren’t you ignoring that the Crown’s forensic expert witness at the 2010 trial (the expert who analysed the DNA) was cross-examined by Sue’s defence attorney about which was more likely – the primary or the secondary. That forensic expert couldn’t say which was more likely.

        The Crown argued at the trial that it was secondary.

        The Defence argued at the trial that it was primary and deposited on the night of murder.

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