The latest example of Tasmania’s legal system protecting itself from scrutiny is the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania dismissing a complaint against a practicing lawyer by mischaracterising the complaint. It follows the pattern of self-serving self protection exhibited throughout the State’s legal world, as demonstrated in the Sue Neill-Fraser case, according to ANDREW L. URBAN.
Before the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania dismissed a valid complaint of unprofessional conduct against a practicing lawyer at the March 2021 appeal, Tasmania’s Integrity Commission dismissed our complaint against Assistant Police Commissioner RC for a public statement that claimed – incorrectly – that key witness Meaghan Vass had ‘recanted’ to police her evidence as given on 60 Minutes the day before.
Tasmania’s Attorney General, claiming the matter was before the court – unlike the Assistant Police Commissioner – declined to comment. Nothing was done about the false statement, which was reported in the press.
Before the Integrity Commission’s deflection of our complaint, Tasmania’s Court of Criminal Appeal in 2011 dismissed all grounds claimed by Sue Neill-Fraser against her conviction for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell – in terms challenged by several legal and lay observers. Just one – telling – example:
There was no proof – nor was any evidence led as to the fact – that latex gloves were used to clean up the saloon after the murder that Neill-Fraser was accused of committing; counsel for the Crown falsely linked Neill-Fraser to both the cleaning up, and the gloves.
The claim by the Court of Criminal Appeal that the statement by the Crown in relation to cleaning up, and the appellant’s DNA being on the gloves, was “insignificant” does not accord with the facts that this was the only DNA evidence in the trial linking the appellant to the crime of which she was accused … and it was wrong – and it was put before the jury at virtually the last possible moment.
The CCA claimed that (anyway) there was an abundance of evidence against Neill-Fraser – which no legal observer could find.
Tasmania’s Supreme Court in 2010 protected the Crown’s unlawful case against Neill-Fraser, without challenging it, impermissibly adding its own voice to the prosecutor’s impermissible speculation.
As Bibi Sangha and Bob Moles point out, ” … the appeal court recognised that the trial judge had stated, ‘there was no direct evidence that the appellant killed the deceased’. It also observed that there was ‘no direct evidence of the circumstances of the homicide.’ Despite this: The judge thought it quite likely that the appellant hit the deceased on the head with a heavy wrench from behind, but concluded that the evidence did not enable the making of a detailed finding as to the manner of attack.”
The ‘quite likely’ scenario was not just based upon an insufficiency of evidence, but upon a total absence of it as the judge has acknowledged, and was clearly contrary to the most basic rule of law principles.
As the judge explained in his earlier remarks to the jury ‘basing your verdict on the evidence means that you mustn’t use guesswork or speculation in arriving at your verdict.’ This is precisely what the judge himself has done.”