Sue Neill-Fraser – the crux of the appeal & best case scenario

Andrew L. Urban

After hearing the appeal against Sue Neill-Fraser’s controversial 2010 conviction of the 2009 murder of her partner Bob Chappell, the three judges walked out of No 1 court in Hobart’s Supreme Court on March 3, 2021, and into the waiting chamber of legal history, with the crux of the appeal echoing in their ears. And in ours … 

Dense with the tension of a decade-long battle for the correction to what so many believe is a miscarriage of justice, the appeal in the autumn of 2021 against Sue Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction, pitched the Crown, represented by DPP Daryl Coates SC and Jack Shapiro, against her legal team of Robert Richter QC and Chris Carr SC. But in a wider context, it is a battle between The System and genuine justice. Between a mild mannered, middle aged woman with no criminal record suffering the tragic loss of her partner – and a System that let her down.

Sue Neill-Fraser, Australia Day2009

Behind Neill-Fraser is a solid group of supporters including several in the legal profession; behind the DPP is the determination to protect a conviction which hides failures of investigation and errors of law; a trial riddled with them, not least groundless speculation by then DPP Tim Ellis SC that should have been disallowed by trial judge Alan Blow AO (Chief Justice since 2013).

On the first day of the appeal hearing, emotions were high as the key witness, Meaghan Vass, affirmed that she was on the Four Winds at the time of the crime, witnessed it, and exonerated Neill-Fraser. Her DNA on the deck ‘anchored’ her testimony, as Robert Richter QC observed.

But then came the fatal moment, the following morning. The Hobart Mercury splashed on its front page ‘SAM DID IT’ which pointed to the boyfriend who was on board with Vass that night – and who Vass named in court on the understanding that his name would be suppressed from publication. Her lawyer failed to put that promise into effect. Vass was traumatised and terrified. What repercussions could follow?

Her DNA remained as evidence to her eye witness testimony.

Daryl Coates SC, current Tasmanian DPP

But the DPP Daryl Coates SC saw her vulnerability and exploited it, drawing Vass into a quagmire of propositions that denied her previous testimony, as she rung her hands and broke her composure, just desperate to get out of the court. Her conflicting testimony could no longer be considered reliable. But justice was not served, either. One wonders if the DPP feels proud of his work; is this how justice is served? Maybe in Tasmania …. It’s not how former NSW Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC advised law students at the University of Newcastle to serve justice, in her now famous Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture# in 2005:

Margaret Cunneen SC

“What I wish to challenge you to do, in your practice of the criminal law, is to bring your sense, your humanity and your conscience with you. Justice isn’t achieved by ambush, trickery, dragging proceedings out in a war of attrition with witnesses. It’s achieved by honesty, balance and proportion. As lawyers, you have a power. Be good with it.”

 

 

 

THE CRUX OF THE APPEAL

The crux of the appeal is whether the Crown could prove that the DNA found on the deck was transferred from somewhere else, not a direct deposit by Vass herself. If it could not prove that, the DNA stands in the way of the conviction.

This was a ‘last resort’ argument by the prosecution, because there was no motive, no weapon, no body, no witness (against her); they had nothing, so they made up a story. The only eye witness turned out to be Meaghan Vass, who they have been trying to discredit ever since she was a match for the DNA found on the deck.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, Chris Carr SC delivered the closing address for the ‘appellant’ – Sue Neill-Fraser. A determined effort to build an argument on precedent and the rule of law. It was an argument that put the DNA evidence at the forefront of the appeal – not the Vass testimony. And he linked it to the mysterious dinghy seen alongside Four Winds in the afternoon.

Carr: “We know that the High Court has emphasised the need for this court not to attempt to put itself in the shoes of the trial jury, but rather to proceed on the record, accept the disadvantages of the record and make a determination – an objective determination of the existence or otherwise of a substantial miscarriage of justice.

Now, with the obvious limitations of proceeding on the record, this court nevertheless, in our submission, can clearly apprehend that there was a substantial miscarriage of justice by reason of the evidence of Jones* that would have destroyed the methodology by which the prosecutor sought to remove the pillar of the defence case at trial, namely through the transference of Ms Vass’ DNA onto the boat.

And once it’s accepted that that is the effect of Mr Jones’ evidence; that is that his evidence destroys the ability of the prosecutor to do what he did at trial and pull away that pillar of the defence case, then it inexorably follows in our submission that with the replacement of that pillar the verdict might very well have been different.

The defence hypothesis that somebody else was on the boat on the afternoon or evening of the 26th of January, supported as it was by what I’ve described as the negative identification of the dinghy on the – that was beside the Four Winds late in the afternoon of the 26th of January would properly – or at least there is a significant possibility that it would have left the jury with a reasonable doubt with that hypothesis that was raised by the defence, being seen in the eyes of the jury as a reasonable hypothesis that had not been eliminated by the prosecution.

So for those reasons, in our submission, there was a substantial miscarriage of justice and the appeal should be allowed and a retrial ordered. If the court please.

* Re the evidence of forensic pathologist Maxwell Jones: ” the sting in Mr Jones’ evidence, the real import of it, is that he articulates just what would in fact be required for the transference to have led to the deposit of the DNA that was actually found on the Four Winds, and that explanation is entirely inconsistent with the way the matter was put to the jury on this critical issue by the learned prosecutor at trial.”

Carr also makes reference to a crucial precedent: “…we accept the Mickelberg test, which concededly sets a higher bar for success, is the test appropriately applied by this Court.”

That refers the appeal judges to this paragraph in the Mickelberg case: The final matter concerns the appropriate test to be applied by an appellate court in deciding whether to set aside a conviction on the ground of fresh evidence. It is established that the proper question is whether the court considers that there is a significant possibility that the jury, acting reasonably, would have acquitted the appellant had the fresh evidence been before it at the trial.

The jury ‘acting reasonably’… and remembering that the Crown had to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt ….

Justices Helen Wood, Stephen Estcourt and Robert Pearce have to decide whether the post-trial evidence about the DNA being a direct deposit is indeed a repudiation of the Crown’s case that it was a ‘red herring’, a deposit transferred from somewhere else … perhaps on a policeman’s shoe – preposterous, cynical speculation.

Yet Sue Neill-Fraser’s fate hangs on that.

Flinders University legal academic Dr Bob Moles demolishes that speculation: “If we call the deposit on the boat the “terminal” deposit – and it resulted from being a deposit from the sole of a shoe of a police officer, then to support that theory, the investigator would expect to find another deposit two paces away from the terminal deposit – assuming that the shoe deposit theory only relates to one shoe and not both of them. Also, the deposit terminal minus one would expect to be a more substantial deposit than the terminal deposit as with each step the material on the sole of the shoe would be diminishing. That exercise can be repeated, finding increasingly substantial deposits every two paces and which lead back to the original deposit wherever that may be.

“In the absence of other deposits at two-pace intervals, one would have to assume that the police officer landed on the boat from a helicopter, or hopped between the original deposit and the terminal deposit. Neither of which is supported by the evidence.

“Therefore, the ‘deposit on the sole of the shoe’ theory is not only unlikely or improbable, but is plainly inconsistent with the forensic evidence.”

BEST CASE SCENARIO

The appeal judges may decide to set aside the conviction and ‘order’ a retrial.

Setting aside the conviction would mean that Sue Neill-Fraser is again entitled to the same presumption of innocence as we all are. She would be effectively exonerated and should be freed from jail. (Keeping her in jail would be unlawful.)

‘Order’ is not really an order; it simply gives the DPP permission to retry Neill-Fraser, if the Crown believes it has the necessary evidence. The judges cannot know what evidence there is in possession of the DPP. And the Crown must pursue the same case as it did originally.

Speculation is impermissible at trial, so the Crown’s speculation, for example, about a ‘female figure’ in a dinghy at midnight heading in the direction of Four Winds, or the method & weapon/s that killed Bob Chappell and how she disposed of the body in the dinghy, are not permitted (and should not have been at the 2010 trial.) What would be left of the Crown’s case? That she was not at Bunnings that afternoon?

How would the DPP present the new expert evidence regarding the DNA, evidence upon which the conviction would be set aside? That evidence confirms the DNA as being a direct deposit by Meaghan Vass – a deposit found in sizeable material on the deck of Four Winds.

As Dr Moles put it (and on behalf of Bibi Sangha) in his oral submission to the Budget and Finance Committee of the Parliament of South Australia on 5 November 2018, re the Henry Keogh case:

The current situation is that Mr Keogh’s conviction has been set aside. Once that happened he was restored to the presumption of innocence. That means that in law he is innocent. The word ‘presumption’ simply means that he does not have to prove it – that much is clear from the appeal decision in the case of Lindy Chamberlain.

When it is said that the Court of Appeal in this case ‘directed’ there be a retrial, that can only mean that the appeal court granted permission to the prosecution to proceed with a further trial – if they thought there was sufficient evidence to warrant such a course of action. It does not mean that the appeal court had in fact formed an opinion that there was such evidence.

In his written submission, Moles also observed as follows:

All jurisdictions in Australia, and indeed the common law world, require prosecutors to act in accordance with the basic principles of fairness, independence and impartiality and the fact that they must act as a ‘Minister of Justice’. Their duty is not to ensure a conviction at all costs, but to ensure that everyone accused of a crime in entitled to have and does in fact have a fair trial in accordance with the rule of law. They are also subject to professional rules and guidelines. An important component of those guidelines is to ensure that the court is not misled and that it is fully informed of all relevant issues. Hence the requirement for prosecutors to pay scrupulous regard to the issues of disclosure and the need to adhere to the model litigant guidelines. They explicitly state that the Crown should not play litigation ‘fast and loose’ nor adopt a ‘win-at-all-costs’ strategy. It must always act in the public interest. (See Margaret Cunneen SC’s exhortation to law students, above.)

OR ….

If the judges decide Sue Neill-Fraser was denied an acquittal by the jury (due to various errors) they could enter a judgement of acquittal without offering the DPP an option for a retrial.

WHO DID IT?

In the event that Sue Neill-Fraser’s conviction is set aside, the question arises: what should TasPol do about seeking the person/s actually responsible for Bob Chappell’s death?

Other questions also arise; we will explore them at the appropriate time.

# The Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture was established in 1993 to mark the arrival of the first group of Bachelor of Laws students at the University of Newcastle. It is delivered by an eminent lawyer each academic year. The first lecture was delivered by Sir Ninian Stephen, a Justice of the High Court of Australia (1972-82) who served as the 20th Governor-General of Australia (1982-89). The lecture series continues under his name.

 

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47 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser – the crux of the appeal & best case scenario

  1. Felix says:

    The subject of Meaghan Vass & DNA is closed for comments.

  2. Andrew knight says:

    The subject of Meaghan Vass & DNA is closed for comments.

  3. Garry Stannus says:

    Steven @27 May 7:08 pm (and Brian Johnson: 27May 12:53 pm): I ‘m not sure about your view that “The constant referral to the Keogh case while dealing with Sue’s matter is unhelpful.” From what I understand, both Sue’s and Henry Keogh’s cases were based on new legislation giving convicted persons the opportunity of a second or further appeal based on fresh and compelling evidence establishing a substantial miscarriage of justice.

    The Tasmanian amendment to the Criminal Code Act 1924 – s 402A – was based directly on the South Australian legislation [see: http://netk.net.au/Appeals/AppealsAct2013.pdf
    re (section 353A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA)). . There seem to me to be issues stemming from Keogh’s case which might be present in Sue’s.

    I say this because this is Tasmania’s first appeal made under the new s402A. We have no Tasmanian precedent and our own 2nd&further Appeal provisions are pretty much those of South Australia’s s353A. It seems only natural to look to the Keogh decision to learn more about the legal situation facing Sue.

    Andrew’s quote from Bob Moles is interesting. It deals with the status of a person who has been sent back for re-trial: in law – Moles points out – they are again presumed innocent. (In Keogh’s case the Crown decided not to re-prosecute the case). Keogh’s case differs from yours, Steven: in your case, the HCA found that the CA should have allowed your appeal, quashed the conviction and entered a verdict of acquittal. It (the HCA) made orders to that effect.

    The trouble with an acquittal on appeal – and for that matter, a ‘not guilty’ finding at trial – is that it is not a finding that the person acquitted is innocent. That’s my understanding of it. We hear that Sue Neill-Fraser wants a trial, rather than an acquittal. I’m not sure as to why she is hoping for a re-trial. I think that she might be hoping for this because a trial will present a public opportunity to show what were – and have always been – the deficiencies in the Crown’s case against her.

    So too, I imagine, might she see in a re-trial the opportunity for the spotlight of public attention to be directed on those who have overseen her arrest and prosecution – and her twelve years of imprisonment.

    I wish her luck in this. I hope that Sue gets released, whether it be by acquittal or by re-trial.

    But … we must have a Commission of Inquiry, with terms of reference wide enough and strong enough to establish the facts of Bob Chappell’s death and to identify systemic failures and malpractice … be they in government, in the legal domain or in TasPolice.

    Unfortunately, the ‘form-guide’ on the Tasmanian Government’s willingness to assist is not encouraging. We remember Robert Richter and his ‘White Paper’ dossier being rebuffed by the Solicitor General, the Attorney General and then Premier, Will Hodgman.

    Yes, and later (this very month) we see our Premier Gutwein involved in murky footwork, allowing Adam Brooks to remain as the candidate – who waited till being declared elected before resigning to face a variety of charges, involving alleged online ‘catfishing’ (allegedly using false online dating personae to dupe women into relationships) alleged forgery of licence and alleged gun offences. Our Tasmanian Premier Gutwein knew of these charges. Brooks waited till his election was confirmed by the AEC and then resigned the next day. You see, once declared elected, he could resign and the Premier would be able get his same-party running mate fill the ‘casual vacancy’.

    What a difference a day makes … are the wrong people in prison?

  4. JENNIFER KLINE says:

    Second attempt at submitting the following:

    The DPP, as well as Sue’s defence team and her supporters, as well as those who saw Meaghan’s 60 Minutes interview, must have been shocked or at least very surprised when Meaghan, on the first day of the appeal, changed her version of the story from the  version she provided on 60 Minutes by stating that she was in company of 3 men when they boarded Four Winds.

    Why on earth did Meaghan add a third man to her previous version of 2 men?

    The DPP surely ambushed Meaghan  by providing her with the affidavit where she stated that 2 males were with her. Meaghan started falling apart on that very first day of cross-examination when she realised that her credibility was being tested. Sue’s supporters are overlooking this very fact and are using the following morning’s news publication as an excuse for Meaghan totally recanting her 2019 affidavit on the second day of the appeal.

    By the 2nd day of the appeal, when shown her 2012 affidavit, Meaghan agreed that her 2012 affidavit was the truth and that she was hounded in more recent times to help Sue’s appeal  by saying that she was on Four Winds.

    So, Meaghan was really ambushed by the contradiction between her affidavits and her court testimony. All that the DPP did was to emphasise this fact. Isn’t it a job of a barrister to notice the contradiction between a witness’s court testimony and the affidavit(s) of that witness, regardless whether the barrister represents the State or the appellant?

    If you dig deeper, you will also notice a contradiction between Meaghan’s 60 Minutes story and the crime scene evidence. I will point it out for you: Meaghan stated that the fight was below the deck and that she was on the deck when the fight started and that she saw a lot of blood. This statement is contradicted by the crime scene evidence  because there was actually very little blood at the crime scene. A person standing on the deck at the entrance of the cabin is unlikely to notice any blood given such a small amount of blood at the crime scene.

    If people are interested in checking the validity of my statement regarding the very small amount of blood at the crime scene, and that such a small amount of blood that ended on some surfaces couldn’t have been caused by large amounts of blood flying from the victim and that the small amount of blood emanating from the victim would hardly have been seen  by anyone standing on the deck in front of  the entrance to the cabin, then I suggest that people look at the publicly available crime scene photographs that are shown on the Undercurrent documentary (and also notice the distance between the cabin entrance and the location of the blood spots).  Then there is the added problem of not being able to see clearly enough when looking from outside (where there is a lot of light) towards the  inside of the companionway and the saloon where the amount of light would be significantly lower during the daylight hours. In addition, whoever was in the companionway would likely be blocking a clear and direct view of the victim, particularly if there was more than one person besides Bob when he was attacked.

    • andrew says:

      First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

      Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
      https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

      We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

  5. Felix Greenwood says:

    Mr Urban,

    Your opinion as expressed in the following quoted paragraph is plainly incorrect:

    “The crux of the appeal is whether the Crown could prove that the DNA found on the deck was transferred from somewhere else, not a direct deposit by Vass herself. If it could not prove that, the DNA stands in the way of the conviction.”

    The correct interpretation is as follows:

    The crux of the appeal is whether the defence convinced the Appeals Court that the DNA found on the deck was deposited directly by Vass on 26th Jan or whether the DPP convinced the Appeals Court that DNA was deposited via secondary means on or after 26th or via Vass but after the 26th.

    • Felix Greenwood says:

      In other words, the DPP offered the Appeals Court two options:

      – secondary transfer on or after 26th

      – direct transfer by Vass but after the 26th when the boat was in Goodwood.

      The DPP’s opinion was that he believed the first of the above two options.

    • andrew says:

      Mr Greenwood,
      You are correctly reflecting the DPP’s submission, speculation (might I say wishful thinking) which was not supported by evidence. The crux remains though: the success of the appeal rests on the appeal judges accepting of the DNA being a direct deposit, which means a third party was on the boat, raising the possibility of a reasonable alternative hypothesis consistent with the innocence of the accused.

      • felixg1968co@gmail.com says:

        Dr Greenwood.

        • Rosemary says:

          With respect, anyone can claim they should be addressed Dr. on an online blog. At least with Dr Moles he shows his qualifications and bio so we know that he should be addressed this way and backs up his words. Perhaps Mr/Dr Greenwood you have a certificate for your qualifications?

          • felixg says:

            No Rosemary, I don’t have any certificates but 3 degrees: Honours in Physics; Honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering; PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

      • felixg1968co@gmail.com says:

        As I stated several weeks ago:

        – the photograph of the walkway taken at Consitution Dock in the arvo of 27th doesn’t show any visible stains at the relevant location on the starboard walkway.

        – Meaghan’s statement of seeing a lot of blood isn’t backed up by the crime scene evidence.

        Even though the above two points haven’t been raised at the appeal it backs up the DPP’s claim that Meaghan’s was not on Four Winds on 26th.

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • JENNIFER KLINE says:

        If the appeal court accepts the defence claim that the DNA was a direct deposit on the Australia Day 2009 then Sue will be exonerated. But where is the evidence that it was a direct deposit on the Australia Day 2009?

        The weakness of the defence case is that they haven’t provided any evidence that Vass couldn’t have boarded Four Winds when the boat was in Goodwood – the very suburb where Sam lived at that time and where Vass would have been hanging around.

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • JENNIFER KLINE says:

        The defence relied too much on Vass and as such didn’t bother to argue that she couldn’t have boarded Four Winds when the boat was in Goodood. As such, even if the appeals court accepts the defence claim that the DNA deposit was as a result of direct transfer by Vass the court could still favour the option that it was deposited when the boat was in Goodwood.

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • Jenny says:

        Ask yourself this simple question that requires some research:

        Given the rather small amount of blood at the crime scene next to the saloon step, would anyone standing several metres away on the deck at the entrance to the cabin been able to see any blood flying away from Bob towards the side panel?

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        It is wishful thinking on behalf of Sue’s defence that the DNA was deposited directly by Vass on 26th. Have they bothered to check whether Vass could have deposited the DNA after 26th, particularly when the boat was in Goodwood?

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        What matters isn’t whether the deposit was a direct deposit but whether the DNA was a direct deposit on the day of Bob’s murder!!! Are you overlooking the critical issue related to the day of the murder?

        • Felix Greenwood says:

          Seems to me that you are still stuck with Vass’s 60 Minutes story and are thus overlooking the fact that the Appeals Court will totally ignore Meaghah’s testimony and will have to consider the possibility that Meaghan deposited her DNA when the boat was in Goodwood.

          Hope that you learn how to be more objective and more open minded.

          • andrew says:

            First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

            Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
            https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

            We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        Our prediction is that the Appeal will be dismissed because the judges will conclude that the fresh and compelling evidence isn’t substantive for the reason that the defence did not offer a reason why Vass couldn’t have deposited her DNA after 26th when the boat was in the same suburb where her then boyfriend lived (Goodwood).

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • Noeline Durovic says:

        Dear Andrew – Mr Greenwood seems to endorse speculation. What is it with facts and truth in actual fact being supported by actual evidence, Do you think Mr Greenwood has a speculation about the towel collected and placed in evidence with DNA from Megan Bass? That was numbered and was listed tested etc.. However it then was disappeared???? Direct deposit it was!!!

        • Noeline Durovic says:

          Dear Andrew..for the doubters and persons differing to logic of the weight of public opinion of the wrongful incarceration of Susan Neil Fraser.
          Plus misrepresenting opinions by experts of a wrongful conviction!
          Of the many highly credible legal fraternity stating serious and resolute opinions putting their name to state the wrong of such a conviction.
          Plus with a team of those compassionate legal minds acting to right the wrongs done to Susan Neil Fraser Pro Bono?.
          DNA draws me to facts of the matter of how – the malicious detriment follows those whom would cover crimes against not only Susan Neil Fraser but hook themselves to a train wreck to cover crime and pervert justice.
          Concludes it appears to be a compilation of cover up evil of twisted law breaking.
          (rest of comment edited – comments about Vass and DNA are closed)

      • Felix Greenwood says:

        Mr Urban,

        You have failed realise that the Appeal Court was given 3 options about Meaghan’s DNA:

        1. Direct deposit by Meaghan at the time of the attack on Bob on 26th January – the crux of the defence case.

        2. Secondary transfer on or after the 26th, but most likely after the 26th because of the high quality of DNA. The prosecution believes in the latter.

        3. Direct deposit by Meaghan but when the boat was in Goodwood. This option, provided by the prosecution, was thought by the DPP to be less likely compared to Option 2 listed above.

        Since the defence team did not at all address the reason why the direct deposit could not have been made by Vass after the 26th (particularly when the boat was in Goodwood) the defence hasn’t provided a sufficiently convincing argument that someone else other than Sue attacked Bob.

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

      • Jenny says:

        Hey there Andrew,

        The second half of the direct transfer theory is that it was deposited after the 26th, most likely when Four Winds was in Goodwood! Thus the Court of Criminal Appeals has more options to consider than what you wrote.

        Who trained you in critical thinking and analysis?

        • andrew says:

          First: At trial, the prosecution dismissed Meaghan’s DNA on the deck of Four Winds as a ‘red herring’, a secondary transfer, probably on someone’s shoe (also at the first appeal in 2011 and also at seeking leave to appeal to the High Court 2012). That is the Crown’s case. The DPP did NOT argue that it was deposited on a different day. It is not permissible for the Crown to change its case – not at appeal, not at any retrial. (Irrespective of how ridiculous it is.)

          Second: All those (well, both of them) who continue to argue inter alia that Meaghan was not witness to the crime and is making it all up, please read (or re-read) ‘Keep Vass off the boat’ for a detailed response.
          https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/16/keep-vass-off-the-boat/

          We have published these most recent comments on this topic only so that we can shut the topic down once and for all. Enough.

  6. owen allen says:

    This message from Andrew slipt past me last night, and I am pleased; I cannot add anything other than gratitude to Andrew and you all that have commented with sense, logic and justice in mind. My sanity is on the razors edge, and I have lived there a long time. Whatever happens in due course, it will not be over.
    It could well be a new beginning.
    Lets continue to hope and pray.

  7. Noeline Durovic says:

    Andrew another thoughtful post -thank you!
    For all those of us (thousands) whom so wish Justice for Susan Neil Fraser we do so in the reason of good faith simplicity for the right of her innocence.
    Information now known to us all is that others murdered Bob Chappell – Susan Neil Frasers ‘loves life partner’ leaving her grieving forever from his loss to her and their family!
    Evidence emerges of this fact! Susan Neil Fraser found guilty of his murder is but a farce!
    The utter farce of DPP imaginary murder weapons – never known – never seen – rightfully never any more but a vicious frame up of miserable false evidence perverting justice. Consequently Susan Neil Fraser is now a woman condemned to a prison cell by those whom manipulated dishonourably a wrongful conviction upon an innocent person . We now know such manufactured imaginary items toted as the murder weapons used supposedly by Susan Neil Fraser as the murder weapons attributed to the murder of Bob Chappells is by an innuendo DPP fit up.. No Weapons – No DNA – No body.
    Evidence so far fetched in its dishonesty it is shameful!
    Then there is false evidence taken and misused to frame by lies?
    DNA found real – yet detailed to be lied about to prevent truth!
    As well as losing lodged DNA to also hide the truth! Police and DPP Perverting justice?
    Quote; JUSTICE The word of Justice comes from a latin word
    JUS’ which means “Right of Law” Susan Neil Fraser must have and deserves for all the years of her wrongful sentence to a Prison cell; ‘The right of Law’ not the perversion of it by those professed to act to and for the law!. “JUS” against the dishonour of Police and DPP frame up of an innocent woman!

  8. Judy Benson says:

    Anyone who was in the Appeal court witnessed the appalling treatment of Meaghan Vass by the DPP – he certainly must never have read that “Justice isn’t achieved by ambush, trickery, dragging proceedings out in a war of attrition with witnesses. It’s achieved by honesty, balance and proportion” It was a dreadful and seeming desperate bid to break the witness with repeated and to a great extent irrelevant questions about why, when and how she went to the waterfront, much the same questions in slightly differing form badgering over and over and over, continually answered until she could take no more and broke down….. there seemed no attempt by the DPP to actually find out what really happened – just to discredit the only witness….it was distressing to watch – shameful! Naive it might be to suggest that the law should be about finding the truth not covering up the errors.

  9. Monique says:

    Well done Andrew. The quote from Margaret Cunneen says it all. Unfortunately the system allows for individuals to become malformed in their pursuit of “winning” as opposed to “justice”. And for the lazy ones or those who want to get ahead it’s monkey see, monkey do. Thank you Andrew for all that you do.

  10. Williambtm says:

    How deprecating to the practice of seeking justice in a circumstantial only method.
    Given that there was a great deal of sophistry demonstrated during the original trial, one cannot expect justice will truly be presented to the people of Tasmania.
    For the record, I have researched a former Tasmania Supreme Court case during the year of 2006, 18 charges had been lodged, following the case investigation against the accused, the only decipherale outcome… would be ruled as a cause to pervert the course of justice.
    That 4 year investigation has provided me with the substance of this comment.
    Once the authoritative and judicial ranks form up an impenetrable guard against truth and justice, the guilty will go free, following that the impenetrable guard individuals smile amongst themselves, soon thereafter a festive party is prepared for a rather hollow victory.
    It alarms me that so many academic scholars and legal professionals are quick to sell their souls to the highest bidder. How dare ye question the time-worn non-descript system of the former Van-Diemans land method favoring the landed gentry.
    My respect for Andrew Urban continues to grow.

  11. Stephen Berry says:

    Hi Andrew and all the guys.
    I have said before that those who have the power to kick the can down the road would.
    It is unconscionable for this matter to be dragged out and Sue’s life to ebb away deprived of her freedom by others simply because they are protecting a system that failed.
    I will not sleep well until Sue has her freedom and those who deprived Sue of her liberty are brought to book.
    The world is watching Tasmania!

  12. Steven Fennell says:

    Andrew,
    I agree with the point that Brian Johnston makes about “The constant referral to the Keogh case while dealing with Sue’s matter is unhelpful”. The Keogh case is not used in appeals as often now days because recent cases such as Chamberlin and my own (Fennell V Queen B20 of 2019) are now being referenced.

    I acknowledge that my case may have not been decided at the start of Sues case but when a better, more relevant case can be cited it is incumbent on the defence to look to a more germane precedent to reference.

    My case was sighted in Cardinal Pell’s appeal because like Sue Neill-Fraser – the crux of the appeal is based on circumstantial evidence.

    On the basis of questionable circumstantial evidence and errors made by police and forensic experts there is a strong case for acquittal. However with so many legal reputations to protect in Tasmania the truth and a fair go are likely to be side-lined.

    For the record I am and always have been a supporter of Sue in her efforts to obtain justice. Equally; for the record I am a supporter of yours Andrew. I admire the research, the energy you have. That energy and the support you receive from others such as Dr Moles and Bibi Sangha makes for intelligent debate.

  13. Brian Johnston says:

    If Andrew was so good at research he would know Keogh was guilty and either carried out the murder himself or a ‘hired gun’ did it while he was at his mothers.

    The constant referral to the Keogh case while dealing with Sue’s matter is unhelpful.

    (edited for legal reasons)

    What scares the hell out of me is that Sue has not yet won and if she loses there is a massive task ahead taking on massive corruption.

    For further reading: Presumed Guilty by Brett Christian

    I believe the media releasing Sam Devine’s name is quite possibly deliberate.

  14. John Biggs says:

    Your splendidly argued case Andrew would suggest that the appropriate course of the appeal judges would be not a retrial but to order a straight out acquittal on the grounds of the original trial being so badly conducted

  15. Lynn Giddings says:

    Andrew, that is a thoroughly researched and brilliant summary of the appeal of Susan Neill-Fraser. How apt are the words you quote of Margaret Cunneen SC to law students – “bring your sense, your humanity and your conscience with you. Justice isn’t achieved by ambush, trickery, dragging out in a war of attrition with witnesses… It’s achieved by honesty, balance and proportion.

    • Rosemary says:

      hear hear, and should a new breed of laws students come with such advice there may be some hope of integrity in the legal system. Without checks and balances
      and accountability it will stay like the wild west show that it is today, where might is right. However in this case, wrong!

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