Witness (un)protection

Andrew L. Urban

The broken promise that caused Meaghan Vass to contradict herself in court and damage the appeal against the murder conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser, as revealed by Vass confidante, Andrea (Andy) Brown.

Albert was licking her belly button, a favourite sign of affection that this shiny little sausage dog had developed into a habit. Meaghan Vass was relaxing on the lounge at the suburban Hobart home of her long time friend and supporter, Andy Brown, laughing at being tickled by Albert. Albert and Flojo are the dogs in Andy’s life, to whom she is as loyal as she is to Meaghan Vass.

It was Sunday, February 28, 2021, the evening before Vass was to appear as the key witness in the appeal Sue Neill-Fraser is hoping will overturn her conviction for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009. Vass was ready to testify, confirming what she had stated in a sworn statement provided to the court in July 2020 (sworn in 2019). It echoed her statements to Liam Bartlett on 60 Minutes which aired (except in Tasmania) on March 10, 2019, shortly before Justice Brett gave Sue Neill-Fraser leave to appeal – largely on the Vass testimony.

By the Thursday of that week, with the appeal adjourned and the judges’ decision reserved, when this interview was recorded with Andy Brown, the media had published the names of men who Vass named in court when asked to do so, as her companions on the Four Winds, where she witnessed the fight that led to Chappell’s death. Her testimony to that effect mocks the Crown case at trial, which was the speculation that Neill-Fraser bashed Chappell to death below deck, winched him up, bundled him into the dinghy and dropped him in the Derwent – where he was never found – all on her own. Just like that.

While she is no longer homeless as she was in 2009, Vass is still fragile and frightened – of pretty well everyone. “She’s scared of the people that walk down the street that go, ‘You fucking murderer.’ She’s scared of the people who did do it…their family. And they’re a well-known family around the place. She’s scared of just the ones that she doesn’t see coming. All of it, the community at large. I mean, yes, it was known that people had been named in the 60 Minutes affidavit, but the whole world didn’t know who they were, and now she’s got that to deal with as well. I mean, she’s never, ever confident walking down the street or going anywhere. I mean, she nearly links arms with me everywhere.”

It’s a surprise when Andy says that “over the years, Tas police have never, ever, ever pursued her for questioning. People seem to think that Tas police have questioned her and she’s denied, denied, denied (that she was on the yacht). In actual fact, they’ve never gone near her. They’ve never sat her down and questioned her about it…ever since the trial (in 2010).”

TasPol released a statement on the Monday after 60 Minutes aired (though not in Tasmania), to the effect that Vass had recanted her story as told to the program. That was not true. (As shown in the transcript of her brief appearance in court on a cannabis possession matter on April 18, 2019, in which the prosecutor refers to the police interview where Vass was alleged to have recanted.)

the broken promise

In the lead up to the appeal, Meaghan, Andy and her newly attached lawyer Stuart Wright met. “It was me, him and Meaghan in the room; there was an affidavit from 2012, one from 2019, and all Meaghan said was, “Can you guarantee me, promise me that what’s said in these or mentioned about anything in these and the names will not get out to media and it will be kept in here?” And he said, “I can 100% guarantee it.” He stood there with his one hand on one document, one hand on the other, leaned over the table, he goes, ‘I can 100% guarantee it, Megan.'”

On the Tuesday, March 2, 2021, the Mercury reported on the start of the long awaited appeal, revealing the names in a front page headline ‘SAM DID IT’, Vass was inconsolable and hysterical in the witness box (actually a separate room connected by videolink to the court).

That failure to have the names suppressed was the single biggest mistake, the broken promise that undermined the appeal, by its consequences: Vass was exposed publicly in court and the media (not the same as in a book, perhaps) as the ‘snitch’, in crim terms, which terrified her.

When contacted, Wright declined to comment.

The court issued a suppression order immediately on the Tuesday, but of course, it was too late. Vass, traumatised when facing cross examination by DPP Daryl Coates SC, tried to undo the damage, agreeing to propositions by Coates that made her out to be a liar, her earlier testimony contradicted. No, she did not go on the yacht, no those young men were not with her, no she didn’t remember anything, no she had never been on a yacht …etc.

Police belatedly offered Vass protection services on Thursday, two days after publication of the names.

Nobody had informed Vass in advance that she could not have Andy Brown sit with her in the separate witness room while testifying. It had to be a court sanctioned support person. Someone she had never met. In her ultra fragile state, this simply magnified her fears, adding to the drama. It was playing out on the giant screens around the court, the three judges, the five barristers and their team watching Vass melt down, and the courtroom full of Neill-Fraser supporters aghast. And in the separate media room, the scent of strong copy.

“I had to con her and coax her for a long time and say to her, says Brown, “You’ve just got to do it.” Because she’s yelling and crying and saying, “If there’s no Andy, I’m not doing it, I’m not doing it, I’m not doing it,” for ages. And in the end, I said to her, “Look, the sooner we get this done, the sooner we can leave.” And then I had to promise, I had to leave my handbag, my phone, everything in the room with her, because she thought she was going to open that door, and I was going to be gone, and she wasn’t going to be allowed to leave. Because she’s always been led to believe that she would be locked up if Sue got out. That’s what the police have always told her. “Sue gets out, you’re in.” So therefore she was thinking, “Well, they’ve got me in this room now, now I’m not allowed to have Andy, what if the door doesn’t open? What if I…”

Meaghan had previously confided in Andy, her trusted friend. “She’s told me that everything in that affidavit and on that 60 Minutes stint was true. But she said the only thing she has a problem, she can not remember leaving the boat. She remembers getting to it, the shit that happened on it, but she could not remember how she left or where she went. And she said, “And I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried,” and it does do her head in.”

Brown has known Vass for some seven years, originally through a bikie, Ronald Mackenzie, known as Sharkie. “I’ve been friends with him for 20 odd years, I would say. And I met her through him when she was scared stiff. Sharkie just said to me, ‘That’s the girl from the subject matter that you’re interested in,’ because I’ve gone to every documentary, I’ve been to the rally things, I’ve just been interested in (the Sue Neill-Fraser case) from the start. I’ve read the 1500 pages from the Supreme Court….


“He sort of said to her, ‘Look, I’ll look after you and make sure nothing happens to you.’ As the years went on, obviously I’ve become quite close to her, but she sees me more as a mum figure than a best mate, if you know what I mean? Anything goes wrong in life, she’ll run to me.”

Perhaps that’s understandable, given the history of Meaghan’s relationship with her mother. Andy recalls one incident as an example: “Sharkie and I organized for her mum to come up to my house just so we could talk shop about maybe getting Megan to a doctor because we thought that they’re always going to bring mental health into any shit with her, and she’s not bonkers, and she’s not crazy, and she’s not drug addled, she’s just scared. And we got her mum up here, and we were all having a lovely little chat and a cup of tea, and then she goes, “Look, you guys are more than willing to help, but I’m over it,” and walked out. “So, that’s where I stand with that,” she adds, in regards to Meaghan’s mother.

Meaghan left home at 13. “She left,” says Andy, “she kept leaving, but there was a bit of an issue with her being sexually assaulted. Family didn’t believe her, she was called a liar and she left. So her relationship with her mother’s always been superficial. I’ll say that.”

Andy always said to her she “would stick by her as far as all this goes, because it needs to be sorted. And I’m not Meaghan’s friend because I want to try and get her off the hook or out of sticky situations, I just know that Sue (Neill-Fraser) didn’t do it, and Meaghan knows, and I just want the outcome that it needs to be. I’m not on anyone’s side, but I’ve formed a relationship with Megan that has made me feel sorry for her, that has made me think I’m not going to leave your side on this.”

As she had wanted to do in court. Had she been allowed to remain by Vass’ side during the cross examination, Andy reckons Meaghan would have responded differently. “Definitely. Definitely. She didn’t even want the lady that was there with her. I mean, she liked her. Don’t get me wrong, she thought she was a nice lady, but she didn’t know her from Adam. And that lady said to her, “You just stare at the carpet, don’t even look at the TV,” which then made it come across like she was being ignorant, wasn’t even looking at what was going on…. the only person that is shot in the foot is Sue, which is the saddest part about it.”

Meaghan & Johnny 

Andy likes Meaghan’s company. “Oh, she loves to be loved. If you walk into a room and me especially, I say hello to her, instantly has a hug. Loves to cuddle, loves to feel wanted. She’s funny. She doesn’t say many funny things, but when she does, it’s an absolute corker, and I just look at her and think, “Oh my God.” She doesn’t expect much out of life. She’s done it tough, and she doesn’t whinge about that. People think, ‘Oh, she’s homeless because she wants to be.’ Well, she’s not homeless because she wants to be, she finds it safer that way.”

Even now, living with her boyfriend Johnny (most of the time), Vass likes to move about occasionally. “And she hasn’t got a lot of the life skills that a normal person her age would have, because she’s never had a house, she’s never had normality. So, when it comes to say cooking or… She just doesn’t know how to do things, because she’s never been situated where people cook dinner, and sit down at a table and eat, for instance. It’s funny, there’s lots of facets of her life that this has ruined, not just the main ones.”

Vass and Johnny have been together for some six years now, and Andy says Megs (as she calls her) will never leave Johnny. ” They’ve been through a lot together she’d be a lot to put up with at times too. And he’s got a lot of mental health issues going on, but he maintains that he takes his meds and that he’s got it together now.”

Andy Brown is the carer for her bright and smiling 22 year old wheelchair bound daughter Lily, who is doing a Zoom session for her university course in the room next door. She wants to be a professional editor. Andy herself is in the middle of a university preparation course, “because I want to do advocacy for the disability sector.”

At the end of our interview, Brown calls Vass on my behalf, to see if she’s willing to be interviewed. It’s only two days after her traumatic court appearance. Vass quietly declines. Later, perhaps …







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45 Responses to Witness (un)protection

  1. Константин says:

    The impact of crime on the people affected by it can be profound. Victims may suffer from physical, mental, emotional and financial harm, from which some may never recover. Injuries may be threatened or inflicted upon victims, witnesses or their families, and threats may even be made against lives. Victims and witnesses may be reluctant to give information and evidence because of perceived or actual intimidation or threats against themselves or members of their family. This concern may be e f8 xacerbated where people who come into contact with the criminal justice system are particularly vulnerable. For instance, by virtue of their age and developing levels of maturity, children require that special measures be taken to ensure that they are appropriately assisted and protected by criminal justice processes.

  2. Chris says:

    The case was a farce from the start but has now degenerated into pantomime. So the prosecution successfully shows that Vass is too unreliable for the appeal to succeed, yet their whole case relies on her reliability? Is this really the best our justice system can do?

  3. Well guys.
    I am going to repeat myself again that we now know the names of those implicated in the disappearance of Bob. We have a witnessed probable sighting of one of them arrogantly parading around in the court rooms demonstrating complete disregard for TasPol.
    Now I always thought that it was the responsibility of the TasPol to investigate and uphold the law and the most senior office of TasPol you would expect to uphold that law to the highest degree regardless of who is implicated. Obviously he has no stomach to investigate the named people and if he isn’t prepared to defend the innocent like Sue, then what hope for honest policing in Tasmania is there.
    Or has he, and has he known all along who they are, and because of who they are connected too, he is obliged to turn a blind eye! I wonder?
    The most difficult thing to understand is that those named know were Bobs body is located, that is most distressing.
    So I have to put the question sir., Chief Constable of TasPol., who are you, or are protecting? Finding the correct ones responsible for Bobs disappearance should your only task in this matter. Uncovering the real truth in accordance with that badge you so proudly display is paramount to the public’s perception of TasPol’s integrity.
    Do the correct thing sir.

    • andrew says:

      Stephen, you are not the first to worry that the police have not pursued those named by Meaghan Vass to have been on board the yacht at the crime scene. I am pretty sure that police can not pursue such an investigation while there is a person convicted of the relevant crime. The pursuit of those who are really responsible for the crime – and discovering what happened to Bob Chappell – are powerful additional reasons to have this conviction quashed.

      • Stephen Berry says:

        Andrew you are far more qualified in the law than my 77 years of life experiences but! If I look at what life has taught me I can not think it is correct for the law and TasPol who have known for some time the names of those who Megan put at the scene of Bobs disappearance to not investigate. Under the law, it and TasPol have a duty of care to all of us. I think there might have been many times in law that the police have been given new and compelling evidence about a crime that leads them to the correct verdict. There have been many cold cases that are redrawn to get to the truth because new and compelling evidence has come to light. Does Sue have too die before it becomes a case that should be investigated?
        Yes it may be that it is the subject of an appeal but if rejected then we look at more years in jail for Sue before it gets to the High Court. That would be a despicable act and a complete neglect of duty of care by the law and TasPol just because some regulation prevents a reopening of the case from happening.
        Andrew, my 77 years thinks that there is somebody in Tasmania who has the clout to get this done. So who do we have to presure?

        • andrew says:

          Stephen, I share your indignation and frustration. I am not qualified in the law, just picked up a few things along the way in almost 8 years of writing about wrongful convictions. And for all I know, TasPol may have a plan as to the men who would be ‘persons of interest’ in this case…they may even be keeping an eye on them. The person to pressure I would suggest is the Attorney General & Minister for Justice, Elise Archer, but so far she has not exhibited any inclination to justify her titles, comfortable (complacent?) in her “confidence” in the police and the courts. And as Michael Kirby has pointed out, it is only the application of ongoing public pressure via the media that could motivate some action on the part of the politicians and the legal fraternity.

  4. Brian H. says:

    Andrew, as an old friend of part of the extended family of Sarah and Mark, and having seen something of the terrible “collateral damage” this drawn-out struggle to right one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in Australian legal history, might I say to you as sincerely and respectfully as I can, “Thank you!”, “Thank you!”, “Thank you!”, for what you have been trying for so long to achieve. You are a good person, Andrew Urban! I wish there were some like you in the Tasmanian (Il)legal and (In)justice system.

  5. Jillian says:

    Not at all interested in anything Vass has to say. How in the hell can anyone believe her. Sick and tired of her self pity and reading about her on here.
    She got what she set out to do and thst is seeing Susan behind bars.
    How in the f-ck can you all pity her. You reap what you sow!!!
    How do you think she feels? Her life is over.
    I know you don’t publish my comments, but, thats ok.
    Because, I have lost total respect for this site and WILL BE UNSUBSCRIBING.

    • andrew says:

      I personally and a great number of our readers feel very deeply for Susan; I don’t know why you would not recognise that after well over 100 stories we have published about her case, and dozens of comments sympathetic to her plight. Nor am I clear why you are so angry at wrongfulconvictionsreport.org – but you are entitled to your opinion, of course. And we have published 26 of your comments, just for the record. As requested, we have unsubscribed your email address.

  6. owen allen says:

    Here say.
    Is that an oxy moron under the circumstances
    I think from Felix it is a furphy.
    The jury ran on hear say, chinese whispers, no evidence, believed what they heard.
    People are destroyed in Tasmania through deceitful lie and defamation, cronyism and bureaucratic corruption, political, judicial and police corruption.
    I have evidence of it all.
    Bring on the Federal Tasmania Royal Commission.

  7. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Andrew, I must be honest, and consistent. This is a concerning interview.
    I appreciate what Andy has revealed to you but these are facts that I feel needed to be passed on to Sue’s legal council before day three of this latest appeal.
    As you have interviewed Andy then there may have been an attempt to do so. It would be helpful to know if there was?
    I have grave concerns about what I have just read that has come forward from this interview. This is no reflection on Andy’s character. In fact I applaud her for doing it but, are the three appeal judges going to be made aware of these revealing circumstances, including the fact the Meaghan Vass was apparently not informed that she could have a support person of her choice sit with her. throughout the appeal.
    I raise this because Felix has already stated that she (Andy) was not a witness, meaning she was free to be with Meaghan throughout the appeal, as a support person, or is this disallowed in Tasmania?
    Then, are these three appeal judges legally required to disregard these revelations if they were not made or became aware of them over the three days?
    There are a number of concerns, none more so than that of Meaghan Vass’s future safety and well being. Is this young woman receiving on-going protection and if so, then is it permissible to say by whom?
    Are we simply seeing two more women being played of against each other, one of them in a very vulnerable situation and on this latest occasion being apparently legally misrepresented, all according to what I am reading here from this interview?
    This is so confronting and all the while there are two families who so desperately need closure.
    I had initially intended not commenting this time but, it’s so distressing that remaining silent on this interview would have been out of character for me.

    • andrew says:

      Jerry, this interview was conducted after the appeal hearing ended. Andy was disallowed to remain with Meaghan for reasons other than that she might have been a witness – which I won’t disclose here and now. And as Robin Bowles points out, the appeal judges are constrained by the rules in what they can consider. I know how you feel – many, many others do, too. Thanks for your comment.

    • Diane Kemp says:

      Jerry I share the distress you feel. I also considered not responding but am distressed over what occurred at the appeal hearing. Firstly, I hope that Meaghan remains safe and that Andy continues to support her. I was appalled at what was allowed to occur in court – where was everyone’s duty of care to her??? That it was allowed to continue so long and destroy her makes me wonder what her solicitor was doing or not doing??? He certainly was not representing her so I wonder what pressure was put on him. I am disappointed that Robert Richter also did not intervene at an early stage and the fact that he apparently did not consider this would happen and have a strategy in place beggars belief!!!! Finally that the 3 judges in court allowed this to continue is appalling also.
      As for the fact that one of the people she named was allowed to remain in the second court room watching and listening stuns me!!!! There is something seriously smelly with the police, legal and justice system in Tasmania that allows this to occur and I despair that it will ever improve while people in positions of power wish to maintain the status quo.
      My heart goes out to Sue who remains caught up in this wrongful conviction. When wiull it end and she be free???

    • Andy says:

      Jerry what you have said is 100% what i think. Honestly meaghan and i were played like fiddles and even when i called mr greg barnes re suppression all he said was that doesnt matter least she has indemnity. I replied yeah cos that will help her walking down the street.
      They knew what they were doing. From disallowing me to the no suppression. I dont know whether its that sue has moles in her camp to upset things or if they didnt give a rats about how important meaghans info is and how fragile she is

  8. Robin Bowles says:

    Good on you Andrew for getting and publishing the interview. Unfortunately, the people in ‘white wigs’ are very constrained by the rules of an appeal and can only consider the new and compelling evidence before them, not take into account the unedifying spectacle of the DPP ‘just doing his job’ in regard to poor Meaghan Vass. He did a job on her, alright! I feel compelled to make note of a couple of things. Your respondents keep referring to Sue’s legal team as ‘the defence’. In this hearing, Sue is the Appellant and the DPP, representing the Crown is ‘defending ‘ the Crown’s position. This is why he worked so hard to discredit MV, because there is so much skin in this game the Crown cannot afford to lose. So you could say the DPP did a ‘good’ job!
    As for Mr Wright, well it’s obvious his first name is definitely not ‘Always.’ He made a number of tactical, reactive mistakes, too little too late on several occasions, even tho Her Honour Justice Wood gave him ample leeway and nudges in the direction of Meagan’s best welfare. He was as useless to his client as tits on a bull! I was heartened to see Mr Cangelosi make a brief appearance, but again, too little too late!
    Finally, everyone knows Hobart is a small town. If we could be instructed by the Court not to mention a delicate condition Meaghan may have been in why on earth couldn’t the Richter/Wright team have called for suppression of Meagan’s boat-boarding mates from before the media got their gleeful claws in, producing the disgraceful front page on the Mercury? The only small glimmer was that they had to effectively retract the next day, when the story was relegated to the inner pages to cover embarrassment!
    Whilst Meagan says she has never been properly interviewed by police, her friend Sam has never given evidence in any court since she named him, ie never been asked under oath if he was there or not.
    The entire three days, for which I flew to Hobart in Times of Covid, needing a pass to cross the Tasmanian border and being ripped off $200 a day for a pissy little hire car, bordered on a Gilbert and Sullivan’s farce. Except the key member of the audience, along with most of us, would not have seen the slightest glimmer of humour in it whatsoever. This is a woman’s life at stake! I hold grave fears the Tasmanian legal system will be unable to set things right.

    • Noeline Durovic says:

      Robin .. As usual your insight stated the obvious and truth! – Our knowledge of malfeasance baggage carrying actors covering – covering franticly sins they themselves have done in crookery with malice to others! Perverting justice from way back! Which eventually resounds any/all ways as of sin that will out! .Evil does it..truth is escaping< For example for Susan Neil Fraser gradually in the innocence of her very being…. Take the DPP a job he did on a person of interest? In a hideous crime! A young person likely at 15 used – abused – homeless seared in hell, Damaged from it all theses years later? A witness to unmentionable horrors. Obvious terrified by a violent murder. Murderers still at large to threaten aided and abetted by questions in Justice? What DNA ? Unresolved her DNA? Working hard as the DPP viciously did, to defend the Crown in that unedifying spectacle (your words to the truth of the matter Robin) damagingly the Crown? WHY? Form follows form! Sadly more abuse especially for Sue incarcerated innocent whilst those purported to murder sit under cover! Covered by those with abusive form! Blessedly there is as always truth for Sue and her family as time evolves. Robin, you bring truth to us all, we did not have five years ago. You seek truth in your writings for truth! As do many other serious others and deep caring people of the law.. Whom believe in the rule of law. As such all whom seek truth please keep at it as it is coming out; for it is a must for decent persons life believes! All Sues believers in the rule of law must take heart and not let the baggage carrying crooks keep the lid on..Sue in the thousands; we all value you and yours. For you in particular enough is enough! Tasmania a beautiful place with a oh so dirty past to expose. A Royal Commission for TRUTH in Justice we value..Un led by Tasmanians with form and baggage!!!!!!!!!

    • Andy says:

      Im not taking it laying down. That i can tell you but its getting hard to find a good egg who càn do something…. most are rotton to the core

  9. owen allen says:

    As a person that suffers anxiety all my life, from early childhood, caused by dysfunctional family life; I say that in one court appearance, being brought from lockup, my anxiety and trauma was so high, I could not even remember my lawyers name.
    I think that was when I was up for sentence; for playing guitar in a public place(breaking a restraining order)..
    to 6 months;
    yet I had been in maximum for 7 months; and I screamed out; she doesn’t even know how long I have been in here.
    I was kicked out of prison that night. 5-0-clock Winter Friday night, out side prison gates.
    They changed the paper work from a 6 month sentence to 7 months.

  10. Joana Cubillos says:

    The defence was actually quite defenceless to say the least. I am not sure why people keep denying what’s In front of their nose. Andy is as crucial as Meaghan and many other witnesses, but again Tas justice system seems to work one way, unrelentingly biased.

  11. Fiona Peate says:

    Thank you Andrew. It’s interesting to hear something of Meaghan’s situation now. Sounds like she’s fortunate to have Andy as a friend.
    I would have thought the defence team would have anticipated the need for a suppression order for Meaghan’s evidence right from the start. In fact I recall Mr Richter identifying her as a hostile witness very early on in the hearing. He was naive if he thought Coates wasn’t going to do whatever he could to get Meaghan to recant. Shame about the truth & justice – also a victim in this shameful case.

    • owen allen says:

      This case will never be over until Justice Prevails Fiona.

    • Robin bowles says:

      I think she was defined as an ‘uncooperative ‘ witness, which gave Mr Richter the right to ‘lead’ her if necessary ( which he didn’t) and also to get her primary testimony that she was on the boat that night and Sue wasn’t, admitted. However, this all fell away when he waived the right to admit ANY of Meagan’s evidence because of her total breakdown under the DPP’s barrage.

  12. Noeline Durovic says:

    Andrew a story formed from your interview just posted powerful in its poignancy! It appears Megan Vass’s life must go forward one day at time ..Especially it appears with some close formed friendship now caring in support of her! Also closeness of a partner of now some six years. This sounds a big change in her life for the better! What ever was done to her as a child is significant and cruel..of course her genuine fears for her life are uncomfortably too real.Too many persons abusing her and frightening her,,Black mail and bullying a perversion of a warped shut up or else persecution by criminals of all walks of life???????

  13. Stephen Berry says:

    Wearing of a white wig in court does not make you stupid. It is the sign that you are there to uphold the law and to distinguish right from wrong. It is there as a marker to those who have made justice their lives. It is there to make sure that justice is seen to be served.
    I only hope that the wigs worn by those who sat to listen and judge Sue Neil Fraser remember the responsibility to put right this most distressing and grievous miscarriage of justice. I only hope they remember that they have already robbed a human being of 11 years of their life. I look forward to them showing some humanity and Sue’s freedom.

  14. Andy says:

    Everything i said in andrews interview is 100% truth either because i was there or its what meg has told me, which isn’t a great deal.
    And i disagree with felix as the police never wanted to hear from anyone going against the currant with what they were saying. Like waving yr arms n screaming to be ignored

  15. Garry Stannus says:

    Thank you, Andrew … and thank you Andy.

    I felt quite an amount of anger, like others in the Supreme Court overflow room with me and others in the main court. We wanted to yell out against what was being done to Meaghan. When the screen was turned on, we could see you, Andy and you had your arm crooked in Meaghan’s.

    I believe in the both of you.

    And then the DPP – and Mr Richter too – said that it was inappropriate that you (Andy) should have any physical contact with Meaghan and they both supported a move to have an ‘independent support person’ assigned to sit with Meaghan while she gave evidence. So, in the end, you got kicked out and Cassandra D. was ‘given the nod’ to support Meaghan. I note Andy, that Cassandra was a nice lady. Okay. But!

    Look Andy, they didn’t want you in there … they said you weren’t a “suitable person”. They didn’t like the fact that you were arm in arm. Maybe some thought that the objection was that you might try to control her, dig her in the ribs or something. That suggestion (I believe I heard it from one member of the public) … was bullshit.

    Because, as I watched Meaghan give her evidence with Cassandra by her side, I saw Cassandra apparently try to physically restain Meaghan from something like Meaghan jumping to her feet and escaping the room. It was a momentary strong grasp on Meaghan’s left arm and almost immediately released. Then, there were other episodes during Meaghan’s evidence when Cassandra D. put her arm through Meaghan’s, just as you, Andy, had been prevented from doing. Then, during further questioning, Cassandra kept linking with Meaghan’s arm and on one or more occasions, put her arm around Meaghan’s shoulder or waist. What was not permitted of Andy, was permitted of the ‘Independent Support’ Person.

    So Andy, you mightn’t know – you mightn’t have seen him in the quadrangle, but one of the men associated with being there at Sandy Bay, on 26-7 Jan2009, was present in the court. Meaghan named him. She named two others, as I recall. But this person was one of the three she named… [all while Meaghan believing that this naming was going to be suppressed].

    Can you believe it? So I’d spoken to him when we were outside, forming up in our own unsanctioned queue. Those of the supporters who knew of him, knew he was there. I suspect that some of them knew that he was about to be named in evidence, so they resisted the notion that he should be helped to get into the court. I mean, because of Covid, there were only limited places. He got in. He didn’t get into (the main) Court 1, but went into the overflow: Court 2. There was a lot of ‘argy bargy’ … all that stuff about whether Andy would be allowed to stay with Meaghan or not … and we were in and out … in and out while the legal gentry gave Meaghan time to confer. After one break, he went down the road, and had a beer, or so. But was back promptly for the resumption from the ‘smoko’. He was sitting quietly, back in his seat, on the left end of the middle front bench of Court 2.

    Meaghan started – forced to be without you, Andy – to give her evidence with Cassandra by her side. She began [it was now after lunch on the first day of the appeal (1Mar2021)] …

    Meaghan named: three men who she was with in the boarding of the Four Winds. The one, whom I’ve already referred to, who was present in the Courtroom 2 along with me and with some 13 others, [after she had named him and the two others] was then approached by two court officials. They came to him, and the larger one, put his hand on the man’s shoulder and told him: “You have to come out”.

    I’m telling you Andy (and Andrew), that one of the people named by Vass as being with her on the Four Winds was present in Court 2 when Meaghan named him and two others. Of course, we should accept that she was failed by her lawyer. He had promised her that whoever she named – their names would have been suppressed. I don’t think she would have known that one of the persons she named … was in court, listening as she named him. It had happened – apparently at trial and thus, before – but obviously, this very scenario was what she feared and in her subsequent evidence, under Mr Coates questioning, ultimately forced her to surrender into again recanting from her previous evidence.

    Andy: I’ve seen your comments here and there, to me, they seem to me to be the comments of a person trying honestly to express the truth.

    Andrew: Your article here has shone a spotlight (a further one) on the other side of the police/judicial aspects of the case … you shine your light on the ‘true-life’ evidence that we in the public field, have been witness to. We can see that Meaghan wanted to give in evidence that she was on the Four Winds, that she could say the names of those who were there too … but Mr Coates pushed her till she gave up and said yes to whatever he put to her.

    A crowning glory for justice… “sic transit gloria”?

    [The truth that Meaghan had to give, though suppressed by XXN in court, puts to us certain concrete matters about that afternoon. Why was she not (weeks before) prepared for this court encounter? Why was she delivered up to the wolves? Why was she not treated as a witness who was traumatised, who memories from her teenager past, of abuse, of homelessness, of witnessing a macabre scene … ?]

    Full (ironic) marks to Robert Richter who lacked the ability (apparently) to get up onto his feet and object strenuously to what Mr Coates did to Meaghan Vass. His remaining placidly seated while Coates shredded her, is the source of my anger, Andrew (the anger which I mentioned at the beginning of my comment).

    Thank you for your work in accessing and then publishing this terribly important article. Thank you too, Andy, for all you have done publicly … it is very helpful for those like me who want to understand…

    • Noeline Durovic says:

      Garry – Andrew as you with truth write posting giving sensible reason to understand how and why this utter travesty is perpetrated by the guilty crooks. Such writings are to us all in the thousands so helpful to the facts of the indecent framing of an innocent woman for a murder others are named to have done! The urger’s of misinformation ..the shredders of humanity so cruel? Now showing they’re fangs today in desperation. Showing publicly as they strive in a sicko’s false premise of desperation fuelling cruel injustice in the name of the law! Desperate hidden motive of rottenness! Your truth informs on them and there ugliness from the beginning! Truth lost to them – they are a disgrace! I know factually they the disgraceful crookery hide in law Yet are unlawful! They wish us they are portraying a righteous path to follow the rule of law! However they are charlatan’s of our laws. Purported law hiding volumes of truth of matters that openly prove an innocent guilty.. How wicked is that? A hidden agenda of corrupt behaviour hiding egregious fraud of named crookery in volumes .-Such volumes if exposed naming the actual “guilty of criminal actions… The Justice of Tasmania ..A Tas Supreme Court transcript verbatim describes ‘A Room full; ‘A truck load’ of which truth has emerged and is known now by many!.Accountability in a commission of enquiry would be good. As an instant perhaps even the Casino Crown Commission matched with the actual 18 month Sydney enquiry of a Crown Casino Licence? May well such an enqquiry find its way to Wrest Point.and other Australian Casinos!!!!. Laundering of money? I bet this makes uncomfortable reading for some – perhaps even cringing. It is cringeworthy?.. However for now a true Tasmanian inquiry in to damming an innocent woman would certainly be a way of redressing dirt baggage! Hopefully at least may well be a start! Although I won’t hold my breath..But also let me state time and truth has a way of spilling open at the seams.. To you both; Thank you! Thank you from me with all the many thousands made aware of the “Loss in Tasmania of our Justice” to crookery..Your writings give us hope,,,,Yet make me very sad as well.

      • Noeline Durovic says:

        I made a mistake.. Charlatans hide volumes that show a person framed NOT Guilty.. Documents expose..What I can also add it names those guilty of criminal behaviour!!!!! Teach me to read what I write..But I get so angry at so much injustice of years to sooo many!!!!11

  16. owen allen says:

    I can totally understand Meaghan’s fear in Hobart small town. I can understand her betrayal by her lawyer because it is Tasmania and I was betrayed myself by my lawyer.
    Who directs them, I wouldn’t know. The faceless perverts I guess.
    Tasmania is such a place, when I was in the peak of my war, if I defecated outside Parliament, it would be known on the northwest coast in less than 24 hours.
    I have used this analogy before today.
    Meaghan and the Defence Team, at the expense of Meaghan’s mental health, and Justice for Sue, has been totally manipulated by Psychological Warfare Techniques of inducing trauma to the witness in the first instance by breaking confidentiality and then when she was in a state of trauma, victim to the DPP.
    If the Defence Team included a Psychologist they could have called respite, but they aren’t mind readers and probably never dreamed it went the way it did.
    I can only comment because I have researched Psychological Warfare and I know Tavistock has been in Tasmania for decades. I lived through it for years. Got the evidence. Undeniable connect the dots cronyism and corruption, perversion of justice.
    Bring on Federal Royal Commission Tasmania.

  17. Alex says:

    On the Monday in testimony Meaghan said there were three men on the boat with her, contradicting the 60 Minutes version when she said there were two. This inconsistency came before she was cross examined and before the info she understood was going to be suppressed was released in the paper.
    So which one is it – two men or three?

    • Andy says:

      And if u had taken notice on the second day she tried saying no less than twenty times to be cut off that she got it wrong and he only came along later….
      She made a mistake….. and how many times did she say everything in the sixty mins affadavit from 2019 is true…. no one listened. ANd her support person cassandra told her to stare at the floor and give no eye contact… then told me off for saying to meg what the hell are u doing… just tell the truth. I dont know sue and i love meaghan yet the truth is all ive ever wanted and asked of meaghan

    • andrew says:

      She has made it clear that she had made a mistake.

  18. Felix says:

    Andy (Andria) wasn’t called as a defence witness. Had she had any credible and useful information that could have helped the defence case then she would have been called up as a witness by Richter and his team. Whatever she says is ‘hearsay.

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