Tas Police Commissioner said what?

Andrew L. Urban.

The Mercury’s Cameron Whitely reported on September 3, 2021 (online 4.57pm) that Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine “weighed in to the ongoing debate about Sue Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction saying supporters of the convicted killer were making ‘selective arguments’ and that he had confidence in the investigation and legal process.” This will not age well. 

When a senior police officer such as the Commissioner issues a public statement about a case under appeal, it denies state officials a shield when not wishing to comment due to the matter being before the court. But that’s the least of it.

Commissioner Hine also stated that “Hobart man Bob Chappell was murdered in 2009 by his then partner Susan Neill-Fraser on board their yacht moored in the Derwent River — those are the facts,’’ which rather undermines the appellate process and perhaps even worse. These are not the  facts confirmed by the appeal court. It is even possible that the Commissioner is in contempt, reaching a conclusion in a matter the judges have yet to determine.

There is more. He went on: “Whatever selective arguments are made by her support group or sensationalist tabloid-style national media programs, the fact remains that based on the evidence Neill-Fraser was convicted by a jury of murdering Mr Chappell,’’ he said. See above: the appeal is based on the fact that the evidence does NOT support the guilty verdict. He should know better.

The give-away demonstrating the defensiveness behind this statement is the contemptuous references to ‘sensationalist tabloid-style national media programs”. It reveals the absence of evidence based arguments to defend the conviction.   

“Commissioner Hine said Neill-Fraser was convicted by a jury in the Supreme Court, and her appeal was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Coroner later supported
the court’s findings.” What a bungle…the Commissioner knows (or should) that the Coroner is not free to make a finding inconsistent with the court.

If the Commissioner consulted the First Law Officer (the Attorney-General) before making his statement, he can feel safe from official reprimand, even if not from public ridicule. But if he did not, he can only claim that he was trying to defend the conviction – the credibility of which is lying in tatters. Perhaps he thought he was helping? Like defending the investigation: “I would like to make it very clear that I fully support the legal process and remain absolutely confident in the integrity, thoroughness and professionalism of the original and subsequent Tasmania Police investigation teams, including the forensics experts, and the prosecution case by the office of the [Director of Public Prosecutions].”

He would say that.

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22 Responses to Tas Police Commissioner said what?

  1. Poppa Maddo says:

    We the public must bear the blame of having unwittingly and blindly put unsuitable persons in positions of power and at the same time giving them scope to enjoy immunity from being brought to book for their abuse of it. Blame The Separation Of Powers which is but a euphemism for “The Enforced Separation Of The People”
    We have one country divided by borders and different rules and regulations. IT’s INSANITY.
    “We are ONE… BUT we are ENEMY” a more fitting lyric to the all too often played on ABC TV jingle, purporting to validate Aussie Citizen Unity in all things.
    We live in a massive Police State. Check how many new Traffic light cameras are being installed, and with 5G data transmission, the authorities will have micro-microsecond access to all of your personal data so as to able to arrest you ONLINE for any goddam thing they choose to! Australia…going under!
    There are way too many sheeple peeple who as long as it is not them or their close ones being victimized by Police and The IN-Justice System either have no interest in it or the suffering of innocent falsely accused fellow citizens. Looks like Australia will need a mass civil uprising to oust the rot in The Authority lording it over us.

  2. David Smith says:

    The Tasmanian Police Commissioner must be sacked – he is a person in authority and I believe that his comments are attempting to influence the decision to be made by the Appeals Court – Is he above the Law – I have had dealings with Senior Police in Tasmania – I have found them to be dishonest and unprofessional and these comments only support my opinions. The continued attempt to justify the conviction of an Innocent person with failed innuendo shows how Tasmanian Justice System operates – It shows just how simple it is to convict anyone of anything in Tasmanian Courts – ignore the Facts. Sue will never be released because the Tasmania Police will have to admit they got it wrong and that will never happen – they are too arrogant and the Bully Boys will not allow their incompetence to come out. The Tasmanian Government must take some drastic actions to clean out the Corruption within Government – Act NOW

  3. owen allen says:

    Bring out the truth. Bring out the Feds.
    I am panting like a rabid dog.

    Roll over. It is over. Sit. Down. Roll over,
    Aussies are tougher than you realise, you dopers.
    Where are the Greens these days for Justice.
    Fight for the trees and koalas, what about Humans?
    Man, this is out of hand.
    Do I have to call in the tough guys. Visit Tasmania personally again.
    Bring a bunch of roses and say, JESUS LOVES YOU.
    Do the right thing.

  4. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Great commentary once again Andrew. You mention: “ If the Commissioner consulted the First Law Officer ( the Attorney General), he can feel safe from public reprimand …” well, I can only sympathise with this sycophant if that is so.
    If he did, not only did he attempt to be the spokesperson for an Attorney General and Government under immense pressure to acknowledge the Etter/Shelby papers but, he completely undermined all those police officers who, with enormous integrity, use their own Facebook pages to lawfully assist the general public.
    This is what happens when, even those in powerful positions resort to directives that even they themselves would use as a reprimand on another serving officer, maybe even on a concerned colleague, for doing what he just did.
    Shame on the Commissioner of Police, if he was silly enough to be sucked in.
    As it’s Father’s Day tomorrow, my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Chappell family. You are also in our thoughts, as is Sue.

  5. owen allen says:

    Sue now in maximum prison in solitiary confinement.

    This to me instant, thoughts Tasmania is continuing to dig their hole deeper.
    This is what NAZIS and COMMUNISTS do during WAR.
    If people recieve help they punish the victim worse.
    And punish the aid if they can.
    Be alert, not afraid, they are on the attack.

  6. owen allen says:

    Great work Andrew and contributors, the regulars on the case.
    You know what they would say about you.
    You are disgruntled, possibly from a personal event maybe years before.
    Let them say what they like; facts are facts, or lack there of.
    TRUTH can not be twisted or cajoled.
    I thank you.

  7. John Biggs says:

    Very well clarified about exactly where Commission Hine is out of order — and yes he should know better. To react so quickly and thoughtlessly to protect his underlings shows just how nervous the government (through the AG), the police and justice system are. And if it is true that since yesterday Sue is in solitary, this makes matters far worse. It could well be taken as a threat to the support group: Keep this up, and we’ll punish her some more.

  8. Michael Purtell says:

    (MODERATOR comment: while we sympathise with your comment we have edited it to conform with defamation laws.)

    The Justice System in this State is Totally Corrupt through the BOYS CLUB, they all play the back door game.

  9. Geraldine says:

    One comment on the facebook page says it succinctly
    Barbara Etter
    After spending much much more time on this matter than the Commissioner, I can assure all readers that the new facts that are available in the papers tabled in our Parliament this week (and about which the court knows nothing) more than rebut any claim that Sue Neill-Fraser murdered her partner.

  10. Robin Bowles says:

    My letter (new one) sent to Editor of Mercury tonight. Don’t expect it to get a run, but you never know! The media loves a bit of controversy!

    The Editor, Dear Sir/Madam
    As writers are wont to do, I could not help myself doing a ‘fact check’ on the meaning of fact—the word used so decisively by Chief Commissioner Hine in his Media Release today. Facts mean reality, certainty, truth, none of which apply to the Guilty verdict delivered to Sue Neill-Fraser. It is not fact that Sue murdered Bob Chappell on their boat, which is the very reason for the current Appeal, because the ‘facts’ presented at trial do not support that verdict. Whether the verdict is now supported by ‘facts’, in view of the evidence given to Justice Michael Brett, who allowed the Appeal based on this girl’s sworn evidence to him and now the material in the Etter/Selby papers, is now up to the Appeal judges, not the police Commissioner.

    I would like to remind the Commissioner that on 27 April 2017, well before the appearance of a witness on a ‘sensationalist, tabloid-style …program’ that witness stated she and two others, not Sue Neill-Fraser, were on the boat that night, using the due process of the law, that witness made that Statutory Declaration to her lawyer, who advised the police. (Photo attached) In return, her lawyer received a letter from Mr Mark Miller, in-house legal advisor to Taspol, saying her Statutory Declaration was false and ’she, at face value, [could] be guilty of making a false declaration and the crime of pervert justice.’ There were also a couple of remarks made about interviewing her under caution. She made this and further statements because the evidence she gave at the trial was incomplete and false and she was trying to right a wrong. She has been threatened and hassled by Mr Hine’s members, but she stuck to her story until a barrage of questions from the DPP at the Appeal caused her to collapse under its severity.

    If Mr Hine has read the Etter/Selby papers it is beyond me why he has made this public statement. He should be looking at his own team before criticising the support group for making ’selective arguments’.

    • Helen Adkins-Sherston says:


      Please be reassured my late uncle Brian Miller, then Attorney-General for Tasmania would be rolling in his grave at this disgraceful state of affairs with Sue. Also at that time over forty years ago my uncle chose to select a Commissioner of Police from ACT due to the corruption as his portfolio also was of Minister for Police in this State as well as Minister for Ethnic Affairs a very humble and compassionate gentleman.

      I came back here from Brisbane over seven (7) years ago and this State is a most insular and parochial country town with a minority of highly uneducated people who are so gullible and still of the era of “Obstacles of Tasmania”

      The Rule of Karma is out there and Sue will win.

      • Tom Cairns says:

        Thank you for that Helen, those are heartening words and most relevant ones regarding the degeneration of moral standards in a sad corner of this beautiful country. I wish I had your eloquence, and I wish I had met your uncle Brian. I am sure Robin appreciates your comments as much as I do.

  11. Noeline Durovic says:

    Dear Andrew, This stated published set of comments printed by the Mercury from The Tas Commissioner of Police whilst the matter is before the Justices of the Court is out of sink. Does the Tas Police Commissioner have knowledge of facts differing to proven facts Susan Neil Fraser was framed by some police pre-proposing proven stark evidence of her innocence and others guilty let free by Tas Police?

  12. Fiona Peate says:

    He’s trying to put on a ‘united front’ of standing together with Tasmanian police officers but in so doing he is defending dodgy policing. Somewhat misguided I think. If there wasn’t anything wrong maybe he wouldn’t have made any comments.
    Me thinks he protesteth too much.

  13. Diane Kemp says:

    Thank you Andrew. I have to say that my jaw dropped when I read this statement made by the Commissioner. It seems to me that he has not understood that he has now opened discussion when the standard statement has been – cannot comment on a case before the court. The truth is starting to unravel the false story that has been perpetrated for so many years. Accountability for many is coming.

  14. Mon B says:

    Someone is feeling cranky and under pressure.
    Not a smart move, Commissioner.

  15. Geraldine Allan says:

    Andrew, your astute observations are excellent.

    This article captures the essence of TASPOL contradicting Attorney-General Archer’s stance.

    Who is acting improperly and unwisely? Both can’t be right surely? Or in this instance can they?

    Systemic instability at its best, from where I view.

  16. Geraldine Allan says:

    At the time of this comment 772 comments on TASPOL f/b post.
    Great way to boost activity. Is it a case of any comment better than none?https://www.facebook.com/Tas.Police

  17. LB says:

    Oh dear oh dear. I think the sensational and selective arguments were those used by the SNF prosecution, from what I have read! Remember the wrench? Commissioner Hine might need to be reminded that juries can and do make mistakes! Perhaps Commissioner Hine has not read the dossier from Robert Richter QC which was then given to Tas Pol by Premier Hodgman, as well as the recent Etter /Selby papers that were tabled in the Legislative Council on 31 August 2021.

  18. Robin Bowles says:

    Wouldn’t he?

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