Sue Neill-Fraser appeal: if Vass ‘wasn’t on the boat’ why insert herself into the case after trial?

Andrew L. Urban.

If the three judges considering Sue Neill-Fraser’s appeal decide that Meaghan Vass’ DNA was there by secondary transfer (as the Crown argues) and thus she was not at the crime scene on board Four Winds … they have to accept the logical conclusion of their decision: the homeless young Vass took enormous risks by willingly inserting herself into the case after the trial … for what? 

The sole ground of appeal that was actually left to be put forward at Sue Neill-Fraser’s appeal in March 2021 was whether Meaghan Vass’ DNA found on the deck of Four Winds (crime scene) was a direct deposit by the homeless 16 year old (in her vomit as she has later explained) or by secondary transfer in some unknown manner. A fight over forensic evidence . . . and the forensic experts did not address how a dinner plate size residue (210cm x 260cm) containing the DNA material would have been transferred; certainly not on a shoe, something the prosecution suggested as a possibility. (There were no prior or subsequent ‘footsteps’ …)

Forensic crime scene notes, Jan 30, 2009 showing area 11 deposit from which DNA sample was taken

Four Winds

The Crown’s success at protecting the conviction rests on the judges finding that the DNA was somehow transferred to the deck indirectly and Vass was not on the boat to witness what happened on Australia Day 2009.

A finding that it was a direct deposit by Vass would negate the entire case against Neill-Fraser, embarrassing the prosecutor’s accusations of her ‘lies’, his speculation about how she murdered Bob Chappell…and of course ridiculing his dismissal of the DNA issue as a red herring. It would also shine a light on the investigation before and the intimidatory behaviour after the trial by some members of TasPol. So it is not just Sue Neill-Fraser who awaits the decision with trepidation. And of course, whatever the judges’ decision, the repercussions will be significant and long lasting.

The DPP (and TasPol) has always been exercised about Vass, as we explained in our story ‘Keep Vass off the boat’, because her presence on the boat that day was fatal to the charge against Neill-Fraser.

absurd logical conclusion

At the appeal, the DPP argued that the court “has to accept her evidence at trial that she wasn’t on the boat.” But does it?

Accepting that ‘she wasn’t on the boat’ (quite apart from later public admissions by Vass that contradict it) leads to an absurd logical conclusion that is difficult to also accept.

First of all, the judges (and the public) would have to accept that the still homeless young Vass deliberately inserted herself into the case after trial. She had no need to do that. If she had not been on the boat, she had nothing to do with the case, no guilty conscience concerning Sue Neill-Fraser, no fear of having dangerous knowledge.

Her admissions that she WAS on the boat put her in potential danger, and facing considerable discomfort as part of the ongoing appeal process … and she risked being charged with perjury. It was one thing denying her presence at the crime scene as a frightened 16 year old with a volatile boyfriend to worry about, but time and her conscience – and the boyfriend now an ex – the weight of that denial began to grow. (She admitted as much on 60 Minutes.)

Her admission, confirmed by her DNA, would make her an eyewitness to a murder committed not by the accused but by her friends. Would the judges consider that a rational possibility? Vass would have had to accept the consequences of making up the story that she was there. She would become a central figure in the ongoing dispute between Tasmania’s legal establishment and a growing cohort of lawyers and citizens attacking the conviction. Would the judges consider that a likely choice?

Meaghan Vass on 60 Minutes, March 10, 2019

A decade after that fateful Australia Day, Vass agreed to a high profile interview on 60 Minutes (March 10, 2019), which probed her story and her reasons for putting herself through the wringer – evident in her obvious emotional behaviour. Would the judges consider that she did that – and in such a raw emotional manner – just to maintain the story that she was on the boat? (Both the producers and Vass have stated there was no payment made to her.)

reasonable doubt

In a convoluted way, the DPP, no doubt inadvertently, provided the appeal judges with one of the elements that build reasonable doubt in the Crown’s case:

SUPREME COURT OF TASMANIA
CLOSING MR COATES 3/3/21
But, as both Mr Jones and Mr Grosser says (forensic witnesses), even though transference is rare they can’t assess the likelihood of whether she was on the boat – or Ms Vass was on the boat or whether DNA got there by transference. You have to look at – they can’t assess that. ‘Cause you’re looking at different – different things. You’ve got to look at all the evidence to determine that.

The appeal court was not asked to “look at all the evidence”. And to emphasise how desperate the DPP was to negate the threat to the conviction of that DNA, he was prepared to speculate to the appeal judges that well, perhaps she went and spewed on board Four Winds after the boat had been secured at Clean Lift’s Goodwood facility by police on January 27 and before the DNA swab was taken on January 30. But the DPP did not then suggest that the DNA was transferred there by some means unknown. In other words, he was saying that if the DNA was deposited on the deck at Goodwood, it was a direct deposit; if it was a couple of days earlier when the scuffle broke out, it must have been a secondary transfer.

SUPREME COURT OF TASMANIA
CLOSING MR COATES 3/3/21
Mr Ellis also suggested to the jury it was a possibility that Ms Vass had put it on – had got on to the boat when it was at Clean Lift. There was evidence from – there was evidence from Detective Sinnitt that Ms Vass was in the Goodwood area at the time. There was also evidence from Detective Sinnitt at the trial that there’d been break-ins on yachts in the Goodwood area at the time …

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44 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser appeal: if Vass ‘wasn’t on the boat’ why insert herself into the case after trial?

  1. Diane Kemp says:

    Meaghan was on the Four Winds as she has stated several times. That she was badgered into retracting what she said is so very clear to everyone apart from those with closed minds. Nevertheless, a substantial deposit of her DNA was on the boat and the supposed secondary transfer does not hold up apart from those who believe Sue guilty.
    The time now taken to bring down the decision on the appeal is the same as justice withheld being justice denied. Give the decision so (a) Sue can be freed and compensated or (b) the DPP choose to prosecute her again on the same flawed evidence or (c) Sue and her supporters can plan her next option.
    We are not going away and those who have commented recently show signs of panic. Time to bring to justice those who conspired to keep Sue in prison for so long – and that is from the top down.

    • andrew says:

      “clear to everyone apart from those with closed minds” – or a hidden (but transparent) agenda to protect the conviction in order to protect the reputations of those who brought it about.

  2. Venessa MPK says:

    I have a question about the vomit and the blue rag.

    Does anyone think that if Meaghan used that blue rag to clean her mouth (or the deck) that her DNA would have then been transferred from that rag onto the deck area where the rag was found, particularly if the part of the rag that was in direct contact with the deck was moist with her saliva or her vomit fluid?

    Also, if that rag was there since the night of murder and was stained with Meaghan’s saliva or vomit fluid wouldn’t her DNA have spread to wherever the rag was blown by the wind until it was picked up by the forensic scientist on the 29th? I am of the understanding that it was very windy on the afternoon and the early evening of the Australia Day 2009. I am also of the understanding that a number of police officers and some civilians boarded Four Winds on the morning of the 26th via the yacht’s starboard boarding gate. Some of those people went to the saloon where their footware would have gotten wet. If those people then walked across location 11 wouldn’t the moisture on the sole of their footwear aid in transferring any DNA at location 11 to some nearby locations?

    From what we know, Meaghan’s DNA was found only at one location on the walkway but that wasn’t at the location on the walkway where the blue rag is seen is some photos.

    It also isn’t clear whether Meaghan’s DNA was throughout the whole area in location 11 where the luminol glow was observed or just in some patches of that dinner plate sized area. Why isn’t there an online photo of the visible stain from location 11? Why isn’t there an online photo of the luminol glow from that same location 11?

    • Venessa MPK says:

      If I permitted to do so, I would like to make an amendment to my above comment before someone brings to my attention that I have a typo in that comment regarding the date on which police officers and civilians boarded Four Winds. I should have typed 27th Jan. Anyone who watches the 60 Minutes program from 2014 titled ‘Justice Overboard’ would notice that there was a police boat tethered to the starboard side of Four Winds next to the starboard boarding gate on the morning of 27th before Four Winds was towed to Constitution Dock. A number of people boarded Four Winds via this starboard boarding gate from the shown police boat.

      Secondly, I just completed reading Robin Bowles’ book about the Neill-Fraser case and have a few questions for her that I will post over the next couple of days. My first question to Robin Bowles will be posted shortly.

      • Peter Gill says:

        Venessa – good questions. Have a look at this photo of the blue towel/face washer which you and others refer to as the blue rag:
        https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/03/12/red-flag-about-the-blue-rag/.

        Enlarge the photo on your computer. See how close it is to the area where a dinner plate sized deposit of Meaghan’s DNA was found? Doesn’t this proximity suggest the blue towel wasn’t blowing in the wind? Isn’t it merely speculation to suggest that the blue towel blew in the wind? And we all know where speculation takes us.

        With apologies to Bob Dylan:
        How many seas must the Four Winds sail
        Before her story is put to sleep?
        Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
        Before the police stop firing them?
        The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
        The answer is blowin’ in the wind
        Yes, and how many day did the EPIRB float
        Before it was washed from the sea?
        And how many years can Sue stay in jail
        Before she’s allowed to be free?
        Yes, and how many times can Elise thumb her nose
        And pretend that she just doesn’t see?
        The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
        The answer is blowin’ in the wind
        Yes, and how many times must Tasmania look up
        Before he can see the truth?
        And how many ears must Tasmania have
        Before he can hear her supporters cry?
        Yes, and how many years will it take ’til we know
        Just how Bob Chappell died?
        The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
        The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

    • Andrea Brown says:

      Meaghan says she wiped her mouth with the rag….. more importantly where is it and why did it of all things go missing?

  3. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Andrew, many of us write to your blog, many in the hope, even the slightest hope, that out there somewhere the inevitable ‘matinee jacket’ will be found and go a long way to SNF’s acquittal.
    So many times I have read about the “missing rag”, likely containing a DNA sample and evidence that was never presented at trial. Truely, one investigative gaffe!
    It is articles of this nature that pose the mystery in this case and also pose a reason for so many to suspect sinister doings by someone involved in the investigations who would have had access to it and for whatever motive, may still have knowledge of it.
    We’ve been told, by Meaghan herself, that she was sick on the yacht, that she was actually on the yacht and Sue was not.
    This is what keeps much of the intrigue alive eg a missing piece of vital evidence and a person of interest saying publicly what happened.
    I am as alarmed like many that this piece of verified evidence has not been found or has been missing/hidden for so long, maybe even got rid of.
    Even thee ‘matinee jacket’ was found after the disbelief that one existed, as was stated often in certain departments of investigation in the Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton case.
    The recent revelation about a percentage of police in the UK having being found guilty and charged with offences prior to their employment after the horrific death of a young woman by a serving policeman may raise questions about investigators.
    What vetting is carried out out in TASPOL to guarantee to the people of Tasmania that they are safe and protected? A valid concern in a state where investigative evidence disappears!
    Has the commissioner, who is so willing to speak out and his union president got full knowledge that their members are as squeaky clean as they should be?
    What DO we know about the vetting of those investigating supposed murders now that we are aware of the circumstances of potential investigators becoming defenders of the law!
    Such a discovery however should never concern anyone who is truely upholding the law.
    I raise this point on the basis of a vetting process that allowed for a long time a forensic pathologist, Dr. Colin Manock to provide expert evidence in a multitude of conceived murder cases.
    We are entitled to know we are safe.
    Why should we not be concerned for about the trial of Sue Neill-Fraser?

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Jerry re your “Has the commissioner, who is so willing to speak out and his union president got full knowledge that their members are as squeaky clean as they should be?”, I make one observation —
      To my knowledge/awareness, at no time has: –
      1) Commission Hine or Police Association President Riley responded directly to the most serious allegations raised about the ‘non-squeaky clean’ aspects of TASPOL investigation;
      2) there occurred an internal investigation to the several and serious allegations of misconduct, impropriety and sheer sloppy investigation practices.
      Why not I respectfully ask?

      Generic fluffy statements and attacks on the messenger tend to increase my suspicions of the inability to answer.

  4. Pauline Chalmers says:

    “Department of Police and Emergency Management Annual Report 2009 – 2010
    Our Vision – a safe and secure Tasmania.
    Our Mission – to deliver QUALITY policing and emergency management to the people of Tasmania.
    Our Values;
    Integrity
    Equity
    ACCOUNTABILITY”

    2020 – 2021
    Our truth – hard evidence declares in the case of Bob Chappell’s disappearance, the government has FAILED to deliver a safe service to the people of Tasmania.

    One causative factor identified is the DEFECTIVE nature of the Police Services Act 2003, which doesn’t provide the public with government assurances, the competencies in the practices of the 1300 strong police force will be evaluated on a regular basis after their initial training has been completed, as they are not obliged to maintain person centred professional portfolios that track and sign off the content and relevance of on-going professional development and practice reviews of their scope of practice.
    It is known that when a citizen gains their driver’s license, the only way to check ongoing competency is through failure, as Tim Ellis’s car crash highlights.
    Is it not better to maintain integrity with a pro-active management approach encased in law, than by the number of complaints over injustices driven through the Appeal Courts?
    The current management plan is hunch-based as Bob’s corrupt investigation evidences and it’s failures are costly on lives and tax payers dollars.

  5. Pauline Chalmers says:

    Bob Chappell’s disappearance has become a capacity test for the State of Tasmania. No competency assurances are legislated for in the Police Act passed in 2003 and practitioners are not required to maintain professional portfolios which seems very odd to someone who works in healthcare. Sue unwittingly walked into a service where staff are not certified and the government can only state on a hunch, they have the necessary skills for the task ahead. A litany of their failures has been well documented. One can only conclude Tasmania is a high risk state to live in or visit, if just remedies are not applied to this obvious Miscarriage of Justice.

  6. Robin Bowles says:

    Andrew, good point in your last paragraph! As I heard a famous defence QC sum up in another case, criticising the DDP’s case, ‘… we’ll have a bit of this, and a bit of that …’ But it is either/or and the DNA doesn’t lie. BTW, I know Andy Brown is well liked by your readers, but I would like to suggest that Karen Keefe has gone through at least as much as Meaghan because of Karen’s unsought-after involvement in this case, that she is well-loved by SNF and that she has remained staunch in the face of incredible pressure from the police to roll over and say Meaghan DIDN’T tell her she was on the boat that night, after having persuaded Meaghan to tell the truth at great cost to herself and her family. How Meaghan got out there or how she got back doesn’t matter. The fact is, SHE WAS THERE and that fact was supported by what she told Karen. I don’t think your site is appropriate for Andy to be casting aspersions on Karen. Just saying…

    • Rosie C-C says:

      Well said Robin! It concerns me that Andy Brown has taken a swipe at a number of people (you included!) who have got involved in Sue’s case. Rather than throwing around ill informed slurs, we should all be working together to get results for Sue!

      • Andrea says:

        I take a swipe because robyn was one sided karen from the start. Her book was already written when she went to see sharkie so what was the point then? All the garbage that she was fed was already written and until youve known karen for upwards of twenty years id edge on the side of caution before going into bat for her.
        The sue neil fraser case aside, karen has done some inexcusable things to people over the years and knowing this i think robyn had blinkers on to any other side than karens.

        • Andrea Brown says:

          And truth be told my involvement began when i knew karen was the star wittness, i made contact and said ud want to hope you have a plan b as her word even at street level is dirt.

    • Venessa MPK says:

      Hi Robin,

      I agree with you and Rosie C-C that it is inappropriate for Andy Brown to be allowed to post on this site ill-informed any slurs about other people, including Robert Richter, Tim Ellis, Meaghan Vass, Karen Keefe, etc. I don’t know why the editor of this website allows such slurs about other people rather than asking the contributors to focus on the evidence in the Neill-Fraser case.

      As for your book, I found a number of troubling paragraphs. The first point that caught my attention is on page 21. At the bottom of the second paragraph on page 21, there are the following two sentence that don’t make sense to me because of the wind direction for that afternoon:

      “Sue tied up on the [right or starboard] leeward side, i.e., the side offering protection from the wind by the ketch. Sue told me that the wind was so strong, if they’d tied up on the port side, the dinghy would have tipped over as they climbed onto the yacht”

      From the earlier sentences in the same paragraph it can be understood that Sue was referring to the time when she returned to Four Winds after her lunch with Sue.

      Would you agree with me that the above statement by Sue is incorrect because in the afternoon the wind was blowing towards northwest whilst Four Winds was facing towards southeast. In this case a dinghy on the starboard side would be in the direct path of the wind but a dinghy on the portside of Four Winds would be protected because the yacht would act as a buffer.

    • Andrea Brown says:

      Also robyn i could show u ph recording transcripts that are from mhwp between karen and her mum and karen and her daughter talking about this whole saga that would make your hair curl. But im used to black and white no middle type people….
      Perhaps i have my view on her because i have proof to back it up.
      Since when do normal everyday people get involved to the extent she did for reward money? Honestly. She kne w meaghan not well but knew her. Then stuck like shit to a blanket to protect her own interests.
      Ask who paid for karen to go to mainland to make her statements? Said it was for a funeral i believe? (Edit: something else) more like and do a statement while shes there.

  7. Noeline Durovic says:

    Andrew, There is every appearance of a definate ‘dinner plate size’ of vomit on an area of “Four Winds’ deck matching DNA of Megan Vass. Fact it got there! Plus notarially DNA evidence of wiped vomit DNA on a “blue rag” mattered as said to be Megan Vass cleaning her face after vomiting whilst on the “Four Winds”. Fact numbered Tasmanian Police evidence regardless of it conveniently now unavailable/disappeared,,Maybe time to see/find WHAT CAVE (?) Tasmanian Police/DPP(s) lost it too? Susan Neil Frasers dogs body dingo blue “vomit smerared” rag! Concludes DNA states Meghan Vass was on the ‘Four Windes’ and that is that!

    • Andrea Brown says:

      My sentiments exactly noelene. With two dna matches the police dont have a leg to stand on

    • Venessa MPK says:

      Noeline Durovic,

      I sense irrationality and speculation in your comment.

      Would you agree with my opinion that had Meaghan vomited on the deck that there would have been some dried food particles stuck to the decking at location 11 on the walkway unless Meaghan used the blue rag to wipe the deck clean in which case the moist rag would have transferred the vomit and her DNA to the location where she dropped the rag or at the location where the wind blew the rag to?

      Why would a homeless 15 year old bother to wipe the deck clean after vomiting but then leave the rag behind?

      Where did you get the idea that “There is every appearance of a definate ‘dinner plate size’ of vomit on an area of “Four Winds’ deck matching DNA of Megan Vass.”

      All that is known from the forensic scientist is that the scientist outlined the area at location 11 where she saw luminol glow. But it is known whether the luminol glow was in reaction to any substance related to Meaghan’s DNA nor is it known whether Meaghan’s DNA covered the same area ove which the luminol recated at that location 11. If you got the idea from what Meaghan said (or what McLaren said) then you also would know that Meaghan said that she was never on that boat but was coerced in saying that she was there because of threats being made to her.

      In a reply to me, Andrea Brown wrote:

      “Meaghan says she wiped her mouth with the rag….. more importantly where is it and why did it of all things go missing?”

      If Meghan didn’t use the rag to wipe the deck clean then where is the vomit and the food particles that would have dried quickly and stuck to the deck on the warm day?

      • andrew says:

        Noeline Durovic will respond to you if she wishes. But I have to interrupt….. I’m sorry to say and ironically enough, your comment suffers from irrationality and speculation … and a transparent attempt to ‘keep Vass off the boat’, just like other proxies for the prosecution and police, who hope to discredit Vass and her testimony as an eyewitness. Protecting the conviction is not a noble goal.

        • Venessa MPK says:

          Andrew Urban,

          You have a binary view:

          either one protects the prosecution case of Sue being guilty

          or
          one protects the defence case of Sue being innocent.

          I have a view that if one is to be objective then one needs to protect the truth irrespective of whether the truth is on the side of the prosecution or the defence.

          Instead offering a reason as to why my opinion is irrational and/or speculative you chose to (wrongly) interpret my goal as being to discredit Vass or to protect the conviction.

          If is it true that Meaghan vomited at location 11 on the walkway of Four Winds and if it is true that she used the blue rag to clean her face but not the deck then what do you think happened to the food particles that would have been in her vomit? Would you expect Meaghan’s DNA to have been transferred from the blue cloth to the deck if that blue rag had her bodily fluid?

          If it is true that Meaghan vomited at location 11 on the walkway of Four Winds would you expect that her DNA would have transferred to other nearby locations by the foot traffic of those who boarded Four Winds via the starboard boarding gate from the police boat that was tethered to Four Winds at that location.

          Is is a fact of this case that forensic scientist did not establish what luminol reacted to at location 11.

          It is also a fact of this case that forensic scientist did not say that Meaghan’s DNA was distributed throughout the whole area in location 11 that the scientist outlined.

          • andrew says:

            You continue to try to misdirect… There was evidence presented at trial and new evidence discovered since trial. The guilty verdict was based on what the jury was told – some of it now shown to be incorrect. (Not to mention much of it speculative..) Had they known what is now known, it is reasonable to argue that they would have had a different verdict.

        • Clancy Prescott says:

          (Comment rejected; your email could not be verified.)

          • Venessa MPK says:

            Andrew,

            A friend of mine (Clancy Prescott) submitted a reply to you using a proper email address. He just emailed me from the same email address that he used in his reply to you.

            I won’t post his whole reply to you but he basically questioned whether you have a conflict of interest because you authored a 2018 book ‘Murder by the Prosecution’ in which you were highly critical of the prosecution case. Mr Prescott (who read your book) asked you whether you are objective and whether you can be objective in light of the fact that you are most probably concerned about the book sale and are also protecting the opinion you expressed in that book about the Neill-Fraser case.

            Would you like to respond to my two questions below:

            1. Do you have a conflict of interest?

            2. Are you being objective when providing opinion about the Neill-Fraser case?

          • andrew says:

            Are you serious Clancy? A conflict of interest… conflict with what? Objective? As opposed to biased in favour of the truth? Sorry but these are silly questions.
            My book is a collection of investigative articles which were written after close examination of the case. I based my opinion on the evidence as presented at trial, including the transcript which shows the prosecution’s speculation.
            It really isn’t a matter of ‘objective’ but of relying on evidence.

          • Venessa MPK says:

            Andrew,

            You and the rest of the Neill-Fraser’s supporters may not take Mr Prescott’s comments seriously but we are after your (or anyone’s) well reasoned opinion as to why what Noeline Durovic posted isn’t irrational and speculative versus my own opinion that you claimed to be irrational and speculative. After all, I replied to Noeline but you felt it appropriate to interject without offering a well reasoned argument.

            The DPP did take Maxwell Jones’ 2017 opinion seriously and hence why he brought it up on the 3rd day of the appeal. The three judges have 3 options regarding Meghan’s DNA:

            1. deposited by Meaghan on the night of murder;

            2. deposited by Meaghan after the night of murder (at Goodwood);

            3. secondary transfer

            The defence case was weakened significantly because they did not explain why option 2 was not a reasonable possibility. At the trial, Mr Ellis did state options 2 and 3.

      • Andrea Brown says:

        Who on earth said she cleaned the deck with it? Also if she were thinking about dna she wouldnt have left her vomit there either would she….. god help us andrew

        • Clancy Prescott says:

          Andrea Brown and Andrew Urban,

          Venessa considered both options. The two options are:

          1. Meaghan wiped the deck with the blue rag.

          2. Meaghan didn’t wipe the deck with the blue rag.

          Vanessa then argued that if Meaghan vomited on the deck but did not clean the deck then there would have been food particles stuck to the deck. But no such evidence was found or spotted by anyone who boarded via that same boarding gate on the morning of the 27th when at least half a dozen police officers and civilians boarded Four Winds.

          What is being ignored by you (and the other supporters of Sue) is that not only did a significant number of people board Four Winds on the morning of the 27th via the very boarding gate where Meaghan’s DNA was swabbed from a few days later but there was heavy foot traffic across that location (location 11) some of which is likely to have distributed her DNA to several other nearby locations had her vomit been there from the night before. Heavy foot traffic would have also degraded the quality of the DNA had that DNA been on the walkway at that time.

          There is no forensic evidence that there was vomit at location 11. There wasn’t a single eyewitness reporting seeing a sign of vomit when a significant number of people boarded Four Winds via the starboard boarding gate on the morning of the 27th.

          It is now three times that Meaghan stated in a Court of Law that she was not on Four Winds. It is now two times that Meaghan stated in a Court of Law that she was threatened into saying that she was on Four Winds.

          The defence expert witness during Sue’s righ-to-appeal agreed that secondary transfer cannot be ruled out. He also implied that because of the good quality of the DNA that it is unlikely to have been on the deck since the night of murder.

          The Court of Criminal Appeal is required to assess whether the jury would have come to a different decision in light of the new evidence but the three judges have to take into account the whole of the evidence that was presented to the jury because that would provide the context to the whole case.

          Thank you and many regards.

          Clancy Presott

  8. Brian Johnston says:

    Please tell us more Garry.
    On a previous thread several years ago a writer was adamant and supported Vass DNA as being secondary transfer, possibly by chewing gum. The DNA area being about the size of a 10 cent piece.
    Imagine my surprise to learn the DNA area was the size of a dinner plate. And further that after vomiting Vass wiped her mouth on a nearby rag.
    Where was the rag found and how did her DNA get there?
    Do we have two amounts of DNA? Both of which got there by secondary transfer?

    I have written my third letter to the Attorney General. How is everyone else going with their letter.

    If Sue’s appeal fails the only thing left is a civil action. Sue’s family should make an announcement to the media that they will mount a civil case.
    Crowd funding should start now with the proviso that if it does not go ahead all funds will be returned. The announcement should be made ASAP.

    Andrew have you posted my Keogh story?

    • Robin Bowles says:

      I’ve written 2 letters to A -G. Got the same photocopied response everybody else got, top and tailed to suit the recipients. I call it a Herod response. She doesn’t give a s***. Don’t forget, she was overheard in Parliament House before the last appeal telling another MP that ‘SNF will never get out, we are just going thru the motions.’

    • Garry Stannus says:

      The short answer, Brian, is that in my view the area sprayed was the size of a dinner plate but it’s not clear whether all of that ‘Area 11’ glowed with the Luminol spray or whether it was just the ‘possible drops’ that glowed.

      The person who took a swab of that ‘Area 11’ stain (Item 20) from the starboard walkway, recalled from memory that it was forward of the gateway.
      A blue rag (Item 9) is seen in a photograph taken in the late afternoon on 27Jan2009. It was on the starboard walkway, aft of the gateway.
      It seems that the blue rag was seized on 29Jan2009 – it had remained there on the walkway for at least two days, apparently.

      By the time of the trial, the forensic report did not list Item 9, the ‘blue rag’! It had listed … Items 6, 7, 8 and 10. I think Brian, that this absence of Item 9 from the report is yet unexplained and I have the feeling that the blue rag/towel is lost or unavailable.

      Vomit? I recall coming across only speculation that the rag may have contained vomit. You would know that Meaghan has made various statements … it’s hard to know which of them is true … and which are not. Meaghan has at one stage said she vomited – I can’t rule out that some things that she has said can be put down to being prompted. And there are those ‘would have been’ or ‘must have been’ statements … sometimes it sounded like she didn’t really remember and – confronted by the fact of her DNA being on the boat, she supposed she would have been … or she must have been … and so on.

      So – personally, Brian – I have no knowledge/information as to the blue rag/towel having contained Meaghan’s DNA. As far as I know, her DNA was only found on the walkway.

  9. Andrea Brown says:

    And how long is a reasonable time to wait for a decision by law? What can happen if people get sick of waiting?

  10. Andrea Brown says:

    Exactly andrew, why would anyone want to get involved in this if they didnt need to be. And i will clarify one point as ive been asked this alot lately.
    Yes meaghan was stood over by karen. But not to say she was on the boat; it was the story made up that she was supposed to remember re how she came to be there that was the lie.
    It was never clarified re karen and threats as to what was what.
    Meaghan hates this lingering on n on.
    She thought if she came forward sue would go home and maybe her life would be happier…. yet here we are

    • Garry Stannus says:

      Yes here we are, now Andrea. I’ve not wanted to directly make contact with you before. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s been because while I’ve welcomed your posts, I’ve not wanted to intrude on them and/or make use of them, not wanted to be making use of them/you without actually knowing you – and I don’t… – so it’s a pretty lame ‘excuse’, but here we are…

      I’ve got no ‘skin in the game’ beyond an interest (way back) in ‘that Bob Chappell murder case’. I could not see why Justice Blow could refuse to recall Meaghan once Sinnitt said he’d not been able to find that Mt Nelson ‘8/7 Xxxxxx Place’ address at which Meaghan had told the refuge she would be staying.

      There you go, in the years since then I haven’t put it aside … and I’ve participated in as much as I was able. I’ve read everything/whatever I could.

      You wrote recently (on Wrongful Convictions Report) how you’d initially bad-mouthed Meaghan (my expression, not yours). Then, when you came to know her, your understanding increased. I don’t want to say it ‘wrongly’, but I appreciated your saying how at first you weren’t Meaghan’s number 1 supporter.

      I’ve read Andrew (Urban)’s article in which you describe those two days of Sue’s second appeal [‘The homeless girl’, the bikie, the blue rag, TasPol, the lawyers and how it all went pear shaped].

      I was there in the court … watched the camera of you and Meaghan sitting in that separate room. Watched you with your arm through hers. And then that defence lawyer – Richter – ’ffing objected to you physically touching Meaghan. I saw it.

      Then they brought in the ‘independent support person’ and she straight up is arm around Meaghan and that sort of stuff. I don’t know if you could see it in that back room that they put you.

      I saw at one moment where that ‘independent support’ person actually pulled Meaghan’s arm, as if to stop her from some particular utterance. And I thought … ‘those ’f’ers, Richter included’.

      I’ve thought – I’ve come to think of you as a person who is honest and of good will. I don’t know whether what you say about those threats on Meaghan are threats that you yourself witnessed, or whether they were threats that Meaghan told you about.

      It does matter, but it doesn’t, I respect you.

      • Andy says:

        I dont have comment on things that i wasnt around to see. I was there when megz got call after call from the flats at nerida place telling her to not come back as people were kicking in doors and demanding she came out. Karen and a male whom ill leave outta this.
        I agree 100% theyd all been got to and that sickens me. Richter is no exception. If he feels cool about the effort he put in well hes a fool

  11. Peter Gill says:

    Suppose a baby dies near Uluru, with her mother claiming the baby had been wearing a matinee jacket. The prosecutor of the mother says that is a “fanciful lie”, because no matinee jacket was found. Five years later police, searching for a British tourist who slipped and fell, find near a dingo’s lair a partly buried bloodied matinee jacket which looks about five years old.

    Prosecutors point out that the matinee jacket could have been stuck to someone’s foot and deposited by that foot near the dingo’s lair. Three judges accept that as a logical way to think, so the mother Lindy Chamberlain spends another 7 years in jail. Then a series of dingo attacks on kids on Fraser Island results in Lindy’s freedom. The world then regards those three judges as unworthy of their job.

    That’s not what happened. The authorities in NT had the commonsense to free Lindy when the matinee jacket was found. They could have stuck to illogical arguments if they thought that protecting previous legal decisions was more important than justice.

    It’s quite absurd after the matinee jacket was found to still maintain that Lindy was guilty. It is absurd to think that Meaghan unnecessarily put herself in harm’s way for no reason – not financial, not vindictive, nothing.

  12. Garry Stannus says:

    Those three judges hold the keys to those prison doors.

    1 They will dismiss the 2nd appeal – now into almost 8 months since they heard the 2nd appeal, thus possibly indicative of their then-immediate mental dismissal of her appeal … so that there’s then no need to hurry-up the write-up of their decision…

    or,

    2 They, due to various unknown factors (such as possibly: internal disagreement, work overload or even, indifference) have allowed Sue to remain in prison these more-than-seven-months since they heard her appeal.

    It is fair, in my view, to make the point that – in spite of Meaghan Vass’s back-peddling evidences of on/or not-on … the boat, we should take into account her ‘ deliberately [inserting] herself into the case after trial’… those three judges-for-the-moment, hold the keys to Sue’s prison doors.

    The question is … ‘Why would anyone stick their neck out to say they were on the boat?

    Q… how, on the scales of justice, to weigh – how should we weigh – the proven fact of her DNA being on the Four Winds vessel against the unproven claims that her statement/s as to being there … were only made under threat.

    The DNA was there. Meaghan has denied being on the boat, then admitted it, then denied it, and then admitted it … and then denied it. I believe that subsequently she has – through/with Andy Brown – insisted on the truth of what she told the appeal court … before the DPP had XXNd her and gotten her to throw it all away.

    The Bard said it, and some of us will still understand his words:

    Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.”

    Freedom for Sue! … Inquiry Now!
    [However, even it those three judges were to uphold the appeal … they might decide – rather than contradicting the guilty verdict and setting her free … they might order a retrial … in which case we’d be back to all the argy-bargy of an adversarial trial/appeal process yet again. And Sue will remain in prison. Our law does not allow for bail in cases such as Sue’s. Our Justice Minister/Attorney-General etc, Elise Archer has rejected a proposal to amend the law with regard to bail on second appeals. Even if the court were to order a retrial, Sue would stay in prison for those years that it would take for the retrial to be convened and decided.]

    • andrew says:

      Garry, a retrial is what Sue’s junior counsel Chris Carr asked the appeal judges for. The verdict would be set aside. It would then be up to the DPP to proceed or not with the retrial. That decision would take a few months, I suspect. By then, Sue will have served almost all her pre-parole time. The DPP would likely drop the retrial, setting Sue free.

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