What supporters of Sue Neill-Fraser’s prosecutor have to say

Andrew L. Urban.

We have rejected for publication a barrage of recent comments (11 at last count) from a reader who is advocating in favour of Sue Neill-Fraser’s conviction and defending the prosecutor, Tim Ellis SC. But on second thoughts, some of the comments are worth publishing as examples of what is being put forward. We are accused of bias in favour of the accused for failing to publish such comments. So here are some of their obviously unbiased contributions to the discussion. (Name withheld.) 

After comments from this reader were no longer being published, they wrote: “Andrew, It also appears that your strategy is not to post the comments of those who disagree with your interpretation of the case evidence.”  Perhaps our reader should present better, valid and rational arguments to challenge my ‘interpretation of the case evidence’. Readers of this blog can judge for themselves.

 BLOOD IN THE DINGHY

Our reader insisted repeatedly that Tim Ellis SC never said there was blood in the dinghy.

 I refer you to one of your blogs of a few years ago where someone by the name of Peter challenged you to pinpoint the sentence in the Trial Transcript where you think that Tim Ellis stated that there was blood in the dinghy. You avoided the issue then. You are avoiding the issue now and are sidetracking to other related matters. It is obvious that you can’t find the sentence.

Please, Andrew, don’t keep redirecting me to other related matters and side stepping my request to be shown the sentence where you think Ellis stated that there was blood in the dinghy. I am simply asking for you to print out the sentence where you think Mr Ellis stated that there was blood in the dinghy.

You wrote the article. Therefore you should be able to pick out the sentence where you think Mr Ellis stated that there was blood in the dinghy.

We provided the following:

T639:
ELLIS SC “As we go through it and could you come perhaps to photograph 21, and what does that show?……This is a photograph that was taken to show the areas that glowed with the luminol screening test for blood.”

Our reader responded:

That statement by Ellis doesn’t say that there was blood in the dingy.

There is nothing wrong with that sentence because luminol is a screening test for blood. But since luminol can react to other substances such as bleach, it would have been better to says so. But that was emphasised in other parts of the trial.

 AND:

That statement by Ellis DOES NOT support your opinion that he stated that there was blood in the dinghy.

Since the dinghy was found loose some distance away from the location where Sue tied the dinghy, and because the dinghy couldn’t have ended next to the rowing shed by itself, and because Bob disappeared from his yacht that was moored some 300 metres away from the shore, it was only natural to do forensic tests on the dinghy and present its results to the jury. Luminol is a screening agent for blood throughout the forensic science world.

We did point out that both the judge and the defence counsel had thought Ellis was claiming there was blood in the dinghy – which would suggest that the jury did too. Our reader doesn’t agree:

 In summary, Mr Ellis did not say that there was blood in the dinghy.

What a jury can infer on the basis that Bob Chappell’s DNA was obtained from the part of the dinghy that reacted to luminol is that therefore there is a good likelihood that the DNA was from Bob’s blood but the amount of blood was below the level that could be confirmed. That is almost the same issue as in Meaghan’s DNA. No blood was confirmed but her DNA was from the location that reacted to luminol.

Above, our reader seems to suggest that the jury can infer that there was a minute amount of Bob Chappell’s blood in the dinghy after all, but the test couldn’t reveal it. That is simply incorrect. The proposition is purely speculative …

Yet our reader is fixated on disputing that Ellis had sought to suggest that there was blood in the dinghy. Thoroughly familiar with the transcript, our reader quotes an exchange (jury absent) which we have also quoted, and explains that the focus is on what “Mr Ellis said during the opening rather than anything after that.” How that negates what he said is unstated:

From page 1486 of the Trial Transcript (reproduced below) it is clear that Mr Gunson was referring to what Mr Ellis said during the opening statement:

MR ELLIS SC: The next point is, it was attributed to me that I said
it was Mr Chappell’s blood in the dinghy. Now I don’t believe I did.
MR GUNSON SC: Yes, you did.
MR ELLIS SC: Okay – I don’t know why I’d say it –
HIS HONOUR: Well –
MR ELLIS SC: – because I’ve never believed it.
HIS HONOUR: In opening.
MR GUNSON SC: Yeah.
MR ELLIS SC: Oh in opening –
MR GUNSON SC: Yes, in opening.
MR ELLIS SC: Oh okay, I abandon that, if I said it in opening.
(Ellis himself accepts that he did.)

Thus, the focus is on what Mr Ellis said during the opening rather than anything after that.

In his opening statement, Mr Ellis used the word ‘blood’ a total of 10 times. Out of that total of 10, Mr Ellis used the word ‘blood’ 7 times in connection to the forensic tests on the dinghy. These were his exact words:

But the tender itself was also subjected to a screening test for blood called luminol, and what happens with luminol is you put it – you put it on objects where there might have been blood and turn off the lights and it gets lum – it goes luminous in the presence of blood, and so that reacted quite strongly, the tender and the inside of the tender for the presence of blood, and swabs taken from the tender were found to match, with a high degree of probability, Mr Chappell’s DNA. But on the other hand another screening agent for blood taken on that tender showed negative and one of the forensic scientists looked under the microscope to try and find some – what they look for is red/brown indications of blood and couldn’t find any, so some indications of blood, his DNA, but others – others, no.

_________

It is sufficiently clear to me that nowhere in the above two sentences of Mr Ellis’ opening statement did he say that there was blood in the dinghy.

The only valid criticism of Mr Ellis’ opening statement about the dinghy is that he (probably because he didn’t know or didn’t think of it) is that luminol glow does not necessarily indicate the presence of blood because luminol can glow in reaction to bleach and a number of other non-blood substances. He did however point out that the forensic scientist looked under a microscope and did not find any red/brown indications of blood.

It is my conclusion that Mr Gunson was incorrect in his interpretation of Mr Ellis’ opening statement about the forensic results on the dinghy.

Our reader hammered the point further:

Please read Mr Gunson said to the jury during his closing argument on page 1454. I will reproduce it here for you :
——–
“Now Mr Ellis at some stage, I think it was in his Opening, said to you that there was Mr Chappell’s blood found in the dinghy”.
——

That statement by Mr Gunson was several weeks after Mr Ellis’ opening statement. Mr Gunson’s memory of what Mr Ellis said several weeks earlier obviously isn’t correct because Mr Ellis did not say in his opening statement that there was blood in the dinghy. Obviously, Mr Gunson’s closing statement was pretty close to the end of the trial whilst Mr Ellis opening statement was at the beginning of the 3 week trial. Can you blame him for not remembering correctly,? But when the matter was later raised by Mr Ellis, the trial Judge should have refered to the transcript and then later told the jury that Mr Gunson’s statement about blood in the dinghy wasn’t correct because Mr Ellis did not say that statement during his opening.

Perhaps readers can understand why these comments (and others like these) were not previously published. The excuses made on behalf of Ellis are variously lame, disingenuous and insult our intelligence.

Our reader’s admonition of me echoes the police and the prosecution’s well-worn defence of their work. Any one of them could have written it.

You seem to seek to blame everyone for Sue’s conviction but Sue herself for lying about her whereabouts for the afternoon of 26th; lying about her whereabouts for the evening of the 26th; lying about the nature of her relationship with Bob during the delivery of Four Winds to Hobart; lying about the nature of her relationship with Bob during a phone call on the 8th Jan to the yacht broker; etc. You seem to find all sorts of excuses for Sue’s lies but are ready willing to blame the cops, the prosecution, the trial judge, the 1st appeal judges, the high court, Mr Triffett, etc, etc. Why are you so biased?

Our agitated reader (obviously an avid reader of this blog) seems to have mistaken bias for what is evidence based argument. Bias is said to be present when a view is held without valid evidence to support it. Or when a view is held contrary to valid evidence.

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56 Responses to What supporters of Sue Neill-Fraser’s prosecutor have to say

  1. Diane Kemp says:

    Andrew thank you for enabling this person to make these comments. I can only say that those involved in this miscarriage of justice appear to be worried about all the facts that have been provided to discount every piece of false and made up so called evidence so we now appear to have to listen to more red herrings!!!

    ‘how one integrates their interpretation of each piece of evidence into the whole picture of the case in a rational, logical, objective and unbiased manner’ Mr Sanderston – indeed you may say that but I strongly disagree that you are truth finding here.

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Diane Kemp ,

      Comment rejected. The subject has been exhausted.

      • Donald Sanderston says:

        The subject of

        “how one integrates their interpretation of each piece of evidence into the whole picture of the case in a rational, logical, objective and unbiased manner’

        has never been raised on your website since you first started it in 2013.

        I used an example to show to Diane (and the other readers of this blog) how tertiary educated people (particularly engineers or scientists) go about sifting through complex evidence to then arrive at a reasonable conclusion that can withstand the rigour of a peer review process.

        • andrew says:

          Thank you for the lesson in rational, objective and unbiased analysis; we are indebted to you as a superior, tertiary educated engineer or scientist.
          OK?
          Now, you’ve had your say. You should find a blog of equally well educated, well trained minds where you can all “arrive at a reasonable conclusion that can withstand the rigour of a peer review process.”

        • Diane Kemp says:

          What an astonishingly arrogant and elitist response to myself and readers of this website!!!
          ‘rational, objective and unbiased manner’ – clearly a far superior being in your own mind.

  2. Donald Sanderston says:

    I am forming an opinion (based on my own limited understanding of what the Appeal Court judges are required to do) is that whilst the Appeal Court is
    required to ignore Meaghan’s input into this appeal (because both legal teams requested it) the judges can still use what Meaghan told the jury during the trial.

    My reasoning is simply this:

    Since the Appeal Court has to decide on whether the original trial jury would have reached a different verdict had they also heard the recent new evidence (other than Meaghan’s recent evidence) then it is obvious that since the jury heard what Meaghan told them at the trial that therefore the Appeal Court must take into account her testimony that she offered during the trial.

    But before the Appeal Court rules on that aspect of their decision the evidence that was presented to them must first pass both components of ‘fresh and compelling’.

    If the new evidence passes the fresh and compelling test then the question is whether the final leg of the legislation is satisfied: whether the original jury would have found Sue innocent.

  3. andrew says:

    This subject is now exhausted; we will not publish any further repetitions or variations on the Ellis_blood in the dinghy discussion. In colloquial terms, we’ve ‘been there, done that’.

  4. Keith says:

    Andrew, all this banter is very entertaining, but in reality, we are just filling in time until the result of the appeal is delivered. What in heavens name is taking so long? Surely if these judges all work a 40 hour week, that’s 120 hours times 5 days times however many weeks it’s been since the appeal, they could have come up with something by now?
    Unless……..they are trying to cleverly construct a verdict that suits the Tasmanian police and legal system but having difficulty in doing so.
    Let’s move the discussion on and speculate on why three highly paid legal eagles are taking so long to deliver their verdict.

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Keith,

      My understanding is that there is a rather voluminous material to go through so that the judges thoroughly understand the case details and then apply the law correctly. They have a big problem because they are required to ignore whatever Vass said as part of the appeal but have to decide on something that is outside of their educational expertise – whether or not Meaghan’s DNA was deposited on the night of murder or after the night of murder. They need to understand whatever experts opinions they heard. They need to read expert reports. They need to ensure that they apply the relevant set of laws correctly so that their decision can withstand a challenge to the High Court. Do you recall what happened in George Pell’ case? Two out of the three judges on the appeal erred in the application of the relevant law.

      Isn’t it better that the judges take their time to ensure they get it right rather then succumb to public expectation and pressure (and risk arriving at an erroneous judgement)? Further, we don’t know how busy they may be on other cases, etc.

      • Donald Sanderston says:

        I forgot to mention that in addition to the DNA they need to decided on which of the two opposing legal claims are more likely to be correct with respect to the dinghy that was sighted at Four Winds at 3:55 pm and at 5:00-5:30pm. This is the argument related to white dinghy vs grey dinghy. That is another challenging problem.

        I also think that their decision is really about what the original jury would have decided had they heard the new evidence (excluding Meaghan’s testimony) that was presented at this 2nd appeal.

        • Donald Sanderston says:

          The one thing that I do not know is whether the Judges can take into account Meaghan’s testimony that she provided at the trial.

          Andrew, please seek Dr Moles’ opinion on whether Meaghan’s testimony at the trial can be taken into this appeal decision.

          The addition complexity that the judges are facing is that they have to test the new evidence against the new legislation of ‘fresh and compelling’ evidence. This is the first appeal in Tasmania under the new legislation.

          That means that even if the judges conclude that the evidence is fresh they can still reject the appeal if they conclude that the evidence isn’t compelling.

          I think that even if they were to conclude that the new evidence is fresh and compelling then they still have to rule on whether there was a misscarriage of justice.

          The judges have a very complex task.

        • Keith says:

          The legal authorities had plenty of time between when the appeal was first requested to when it was granted, to choose judges who could clear their books sufficiently to allow them to focus on the most important case in Tasmanian history.
          Furthermore, they should have selected interstate judges, given those chosen will have to rule against their boss’s flawed decisions at the initial trial for the defence to be successful.
          If the ruling goes against SNF, you would think there could be further reason to contest the decision.
          Just a layman’s view.

          • Donald Sanderston says:

            We all have interesting opinions to make.

            I can’t fault you for being restless.

            However, I can in one of your earlier sentences perceive a suspicious mind. The following statement indicates to me that you don’t trust that the three Tasmanian judges who heard Sue’s 2nd appeal will act within the law and do their job to their best ability:

            “The Unless……..they are trying to cleverly construct a verdict that suits the Tasmanian police and legal system but having difficulty in doing so.”

            I assume that you know that there is a higher court in Australia that can overule their decision if the appeal court errs in the law.

            Rather than being restless and suspicious why not read about the new legislation concerning the ‘fresh and compelling evidence’ to learn that Sue’s case is the first case in Tasmania that is being tested against that new legislation. The judges may have to refer to cases in other states (such as in South Australia) where at least two cases were tested under the similar new legislation concerning ‘fresh and compelling’ evidence.

            The judges would want to get it right.

  5. Garry Stannus says:

    OPENING – MR ELLIS SC:
    “But the tender itself was also subjected to a screening test for blood called luminol, and what happens with luminol is you put it – you put it on objects where there might have been blood and turn off the lights and it gets lum – it goes luminous in the presence of blood, and so that reacted quite strongly, the tender and the inside of the tender for the presence of blood, and swabs taken from the tender were found to match, with a high degree of probability, Mr Chappell’s DNA.

    “and so that reacted quite strongly, the tender and the inside of the tender for the presence of blood”
    [CT: 71 14-23]

    In my view, Mr Ellis had just said there was blood in the dinghy.

  6. Peter Gill says:

    Definition of “say”: utter words so as to convey information, an opinion, a feeling or intention … (by googling “definition of say”).

    From the original post at the top:
    “T639:
    ELLIS SC “As we go through it and could you come perhaps to photograph 21, and what does that show?……This is a photograph that was taken to show the areas that glowed with the luminol screening test for blood.”

    Our reader responded:
    That statement by Ellis doesn’t say that there was blood in the dingy.”

    Yes, it does, given the usual meaning (above) of the word “say”.

    If the reader said: “That statement by Ellis doesn’t state that there was blood in the dinghy.”, the reader would have a point. But he didn’t. As it is, the reader is simply wrong.

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Both versions are correct but the use of the word ‘statement’ is a formal way of expression.

      The news article that refers to what Dr Mark Reynolds expressed uses the word ‘claimed’

      • Donald Sanderston says:

        Both versions are correct but the use of the word ‘stated ’ is a formal way of expression.

        The news article that refers to what Dr Mark Reynolds expressed in the Supreme Court in 2018 used the word ‘claimed’

  7. Ben Dean says:

    In response to your avid reader’s comments about Sue’s EXTENSIVE LIST OF LIES, to infer a murderer; (Firstly, disregarding what constitutes a lie, as opposed to confusion, false memory, omission, contradiction, etc) it is nonetheless a fallacious argument, and represents a cognitive bias in reasoning.
    Evidence of a lie, to validly infer a murderer, is logically conditional on two proposition needing to be true, Firstly ((All murderers will lie) and (all liars are murderers only). If on average all people lie frequently, and mostly for reasons other than having murdered someone, then the inference of being a murderer, based solely on evidence of a lie, is extremely improbable. It is fallacious (invalid) because the argument fails to demonstrate converse logical equivalence, (ie all liar are murderers only), which is clearly false, but a necessary condition to propose a lie implies a murderer . Similarly with a ‘Broken relationship’ which the DPP believed to be real and relevant evidence. It ignores the prior probability, that the great majority of people will at some time experience a broken relationship, but DO NOT murder their partners. With a Aus homicide rate at about 1 in 100k ppl, and if 20% of all murders is the result of a violent partner, then evidence of broken relationship, has (very broadly, as a starting point of the probability), a 0.2 x 1/100k chance of correctly identifying a murderer base solely on evidence of a broken relationship. What is relevant is the great majority of broken relationships do not result in murder. To imply a lie or a broken relationship infers a murderer, is a cognitive bias, because it is a deviation from conventional reasoning. What is far more probable is to be a liar in a broken relationship, and not be a murderer. That is, by far, the biggest relevant strand. In effect, evidence of a lie or a broken relationship constitutes a formal fallacy of ‘Affirming the Consequent’ or ‘Converse Error’. The ‘lie’ affirms the belief of Sue the murderer. But logically fail to prove.

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      I read your opinion of the same tune on the website where Bill Rowling posted an article. What are you on about? Why don’t you discuss the trial evidence?

      No-one of my educational background would make a decision that the fact that Sue lied makes her guilty without first going into the circumstances surrounding each lie.

      • Ben Dean says:

        Evidentiary context! Taking for example ‘lying about her whereabouts for the afternoon of 26th’. Since the DPPs ‘wall of lies’ has given oxygen to his supporter, as quote by Andrew above. Whereby, Sue claimed to be at the hardware but TasPol claimed there was no cctv footage of her. Hence the lie. Yet TasPol gave no evidence to confirm if all the h’ware cctvs were working that day, and covered all exists, or if every person captured was unambiguously identifiable to be not Sue. But this is not important! Implying Sue’s failure to prove her whereabouts is the reversal of the Onus of Proof. The Proof is to identify exactly who was at the CRIME SCENE. Since committing the crime is dependent on being at the crime, not whether or not at the hardware. Where ever the crime scene was, considering there was no compelling evidence, presented by the DPP, to establish if Bob Chappell was dead, let alone murdered – to rationally infer the place of the crime. Nonetheless, this ‘evidence’ has become a strand to prove Sue wickedness, when if fact it is the denial of the Onus of Proof on the State of Tasmania. An Onus considered not necessary to prove if Bob Chappell was dead, let alone murdered, an Onus considered not necessary to place Sue on the yacht, and an Onus that fails to recognize outstanding evidence of others on the yacht falsifying any Sue hypothesis as the only rational explanation for Bob’s disappearance.

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Weren’t you aware that the significance and the meaning of a response depends on the context? I ask because I (having advanced education in mathematics and engineering) do not see the context embedded in your logic. That is, where in your strangly expressed logic did you consider the circumstances of the case that relate to what the police and the prosecution claimed were Sue’s lies?

  8. Donald Sanderston says:

    Andrew,

    “The judge would have been wise to require the prosecutor to explain to the jury why he showed that image of the luminol stained dinghy.”

    Gunson would have been wise to have had a forensic expert witnesss (and character witnesses) on Sue’s behalf. My understanding is that she had plenty of financial means to get her own forensic expert.

    Gunson would have been wise to ask the judge to exclude any prejudical evidence or ask the judge that Ellis clarifies the reason for showing the photo of the luminol glow of the dinghy.

  9. andrew says:

    Just a footnote to the saga of ‘blood in the dinghy’

    As noted above, Mr Ellis SC conceded that he said ‘it was Mr Chappell’s blood in the dinghy’ after it was pointed out to him by His Honour and the defence. Although he didn’t say those exact words, he apparently believed he said them in his opening.

    Obviously, the whole court was under the impression that he had stated that – even he himself.

    That it was left with the jury without a judicial correction is an error; but Mr Ellis should have corrected it himself after the brief discussion with jury absent, perhaps at the same time explaining to the jury why he showed them the luminol stained dinghy …

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Why are you blaming Gunson’s error on Ellis?

      All these years Sue’s supporters firmly believed that Ellis said that there was blood in the dinghy because people like Etter, Ash, and Urban were too biased to have a clear mind in order to correctly interpret what Ellis said. You all relied on what Gunson said about Ellis’s opening statement.

      If you think that the jury was left with the impression that there was blood in the dinghy then the blame is on Gunson, followed by the trial Judge. Three weeks into the trial, hardly any of them had an accurate memory of what Ellis said in the opening. Ellis didn’t think that he said what Gunson stated but then even he wasn’t sure of it.

      The trial Judge should have referred to the transcript when the three of them were talking about the issue following Gunson’s closing statement to the jury.

      Your ability to correctly interpret the matter is negatively influenced by what is called Confirmation Bias.

      • andrew says:

        You are half right: all three share the blame, though. The judge certainly should have advised the jury and his inexplicable failure to do so should have prompted Ellis to do so himself…and as he didn’t either, Gunson should have requested the judge to ‘do something about it’…I think this failure alone is sufficient to declare that Sue Neill-Fraser did not receive a fair trial.

        • Donald Sanderston says:

          You are probably correct in your last sentence.

          However, as I explained in one of my earlier replies to Jerry (which you didn’t publish), as a structural engineer I am very skilled and knowledgeable to be able to go through the complexity of the evidence and arrive at a reasonable conclusion. However, I do not have the same confidence in my ability to make a valid assessment of whether Sue received a fair trial. I am aware that such matters are best left to those who have a sound legal education. I say that because I am aware that even lawyers can’t agree on that issue. I am also aware that two lawyers couldn’t even agree on whether Sue’s case was a ‘strands in a cable’ type of a case. That debate was settled when Justice Brett wrote that the case is a ‘strands in the cable’ case.

          Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinion.

          • andrew says:

            We put our trust in the jury system….juries are not comprised of trained lawyers, yet they are expected ‘to go though the complexity of the evidence and arrive at a reasonable conclusion’ as you put it. But of course that depends on being shown all the admissible evidence fairly and clearly.

        • Donald Sanderston says:

          Even if the jury had ended with the impression that Bob’s blood was in the dinghy why would that issue on its own qualify for an unfair trial?  Wouldn’t that have been a ground of the appeal at Sue’s 1st appeal?

          • andrew says:

            The jury was denied the information that the prosecutor ‘never believed’ there was Chappell’s blood in the dinghy…

          • Donald Sanderston says:

            But the jury was also told about Bob’s nose bleeds. Doesn’t that sort of come into your picture of analysis? The jury was also told that other tests proved that there was no blood in the dinghy. Doesn’t that also factor into the picture?

          • andrew says:

            Firstly, it isn’t my ‘analysis’. It is a matter of legal rules of law at trial. The prosecutor’s revelation (in the absence of the jury) that conflicted with the court’s understanding of what he suggested must be revealed to the jury. The judge would have been wise to require the prosecutor to explain to the jury why he showed that image of the luminol stained dinghy.

    • Garry Stannus says:

      It was not till 2018, I think, Andrew, that a court finally heard expert evidence that there was no blood in the dinghy … from Mark Reynolds. Until then, that photo (of the overflow of luminol from the forensics officer’s sprayer) was allowed to insinuate to the jury … a persistent and misleading image, not of chemical responses to blood in the dinghy, but – then unknown to the jury – simply an image produced by an excess of luminol … ‘overspray’ which had been applied by the forensics police officer. Luminol can react to a number of things: it can react to some cleaning agents such as bleach, it can even react to itself where it’s already been applied.

      In my view, DPP Tim Ellis had used a form of words – in his opening address at trial – which does leave the reader (and thus may well have left the jury) with the impression that blood was found in the dinghy, that the luminol had reacted to the presence of blood. He can deny that he said it ‘outright’, but such a denial would to me, be unconvincing. He is responsible – in my opinion – for what he said, and for how he dealt with that issue. His focus ad nauseum on the dingy at trial, would seem to have been pointless had he not been suggesting to the jury that there was blood in the dinghy.

      Defence Counsel, members of the public who were present – even the trial judge – understood Mr Ellis (in his opening address) to be telling the court/jury that there was blood found in the dinghy.

      TRIAL TRANSCRIPT:
      MR ELLIS SC: The next point is, it was attributed to me that I said it was Mr Chappell’s blood in the dinghy. Now I don’t believe I did.
      MR GUNSON SC: Yes, you did.
      MR ELLIS SC: Okay – I don’t know why I’d say it –
      HIS HONOUR: Well –
      MR ELLIS SC: – because I’ve never believed it.
      HIS HONOUR: In opening.
      MR GUNSON SC: Yeah.
      MR ELLIS SC: Oh in opening –
      MR GUNSON SC: Yes, in opening.
      MR ELLIS SC: Oh okay, I abandon that, if I said it in opening.
      HIS HONOUR: All right. Well I’ll do nothing about that point.
      What’s the next point?

      How good is that, people?
      ‘All right’, says His Honour, ‘Well I’ll do nothing about that point’.

      The jury never got to hear Mr Ellis jettison his claim.
      His Honour chose not to advise them that Mr Ellis had abandoned it.

      Postscript: From memory, in opening, Mr Ellis’s reference to blood in the dinghy, didn’t say it was Bob Chappell’s blood in the dinghy … he didn’t need to … most people would readily have joined his dots… it was blood and Bob Chappell was missing … it must have been his… pity it was apparently luminol overspray…

      • Donald Sanderston says:

        Dr Reynolds also said in the Supreme Court in 2018 that no-one told the jury that blood was found in the dinghy.

        The prosecutor did say that there was no confirmation of blood in the dinghy. Did he then also have to say that “there was no blood in the dinghy”?

        What was the role of the defence barrister during the trial other than to emphasise to the jury on the behalf of his client that her dinghy did not have Bob’s blood?

      • Donald Sanderston says:

        Is Ellis now guilty for not saying what Sue’s supporters thinks he should have said, such as “there was no blood in the dinghy”?

  10. Noeline Durovic says:

    Hi Andrew “Your avid reader” it appears is totally disingenuous! Touting bias based of untruths of typical mirror images of him self and his associates(likely Tas police/.Justice Dept). One could say in an unhinged nonsensical way against a shocking ‘wrongful conviction’ of Susan Neil Fraser’ This terrible injustice bought down upon an innocent woman is accountable to the frame up of Tasmanian Police./Prosecutors dishonesty.Andrew you bring sense and sensibility to thousands of us so appreciated! Not to publish such treachery – perfidy is just. I condemned your “avid reader” as a cruel tyrannical miserable person!.

  11. Robin Bowles says:

    Rodger and Andrew, There are also people who rigidly believe you can’t die from Covid! These people do not have a mind that is open enough to consider rational arguments contrary to their beliefs.
    I spent half my professional career devising communication campaigns to persuade people to behave in a different way—Quit campaign is an example. It’s a truism that ‘facts don’t change attitudes’ and beliefs and behaviour never change unless their is a change in attitudes. I’ve seen throat cancer patients puffing away on their morning ciggie, inhaling it through their tracheotomy hole in their neck. No cancer in their body!! In Sue’s case over 25000 people have signed a petition on her behalf, there have been 3 books, a documentary, an award-winning play and endless comments from members of the judiciary, academia, the legal profession and just plain members of the public that Sue did not have a fair trial. AND there is a CONFESSION about the real events of the night, so don’t waste your time on time-wasters like your dissenting correspondent. I promise you his/her mind is NOT like an umbrella, which only works when it’s open!

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Thank you, Robin, for saying that my mind isn’t open enough to include all the available information before I first submitted my input into this blog.

      I read all 3 books and saw all the documentaries that you mentioned well before I posted my comments. I read the trial transcript. I read the 2012 appeal court decision. I read the cororoner’s report. I read the Etter/Selby papers. I read the article that Lara Giddings posted. I read Tim Ellis’ reply. I read all 75 comments on that article. I read the transcript of Meaghan’s 60 Minutes that someone posted online. I read a rather lengthy online document ‘Chronology of … (appears to have been compiled by someone who has followed the case closely). I read a large number of Urban’s blogs and people’s comments.

      Just because my opinion doesn’t agree with your opinion or the opinion of Sue’s supporters it doesn’t mean that my mind isn’t open. My mind is very open to looking at whatever new evidence comes up. However, unlike the Sue’s supporters who tend to offer opinions on the matters that are within the domain of law despite not havng a degree in law, I am not confident in my ability to offer a valid and fair assessment of whether Sue had a fair trial.

  12. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Andrew, I appreciate being able to provide feedback to this wonderful site. I remember you recently advising me to “never give up”. So when I read the above article, I now ask you to re-consider your rightful restrictions to this contributor. Certainly, in the scheme of things, we all know that there have been views expressed by readers that differ, even pedantically argued points of view provided to establish their beliefs, their interpretations and most likely, their self interests to possibly gather counter active viewpoints. I write to this site because I firmly believe Sue Neill-Fraser did not have a factually based or transparent trial that in her case resulted in a “Wrongful Conviction”. I ask your contributing “avid reader” who apparently advocates on behalf of one or other persons who prosecuted this case, ‘Do you believe that Sue Neill-Fraser was provided an honest, transparent and legitimately lawful trial’? Should a reply be forthcoming I ask that a whole lot of diatribe be avoided. It’s a straight forward question.
    Although I feel privileged to be a contributor Andrew and understand that your report was founded on the basis of wrongful conviction exposure, I believe we can benefit from reading opinions from all advocates. I would like to believe that I have been advocating for Sue Neill-Fraser’s right to be heard in a transparent, factually based evidence disclosing process that was clearly not apparent at the original trial, eg missing evidence!

  13. owen allen says:

    Search for Peter Nixon Enquiry Tasmania 19997.
    Search, Enough is Enough.
    Read about totalitarian corruption in Tasmania.

  14. David Smith says:

    Whose Blood is it – It might be from a FISH – unless the Police did some forensics in this area – but we also know that there is no evidence to support any charge – No Body – No Murder Weapon – No evidence to link the accused to the Murder – There is Nothing. She is Innocent and should be released – you get sick of Government Supports throwing Rubbish into the argument – It doesn’t wash. There is no Evidence – There also is evidence from a Witness who identifies the Killer. Or do we just disregard that – This one of the worst Cases Waste and Wrongful Convictions on Record.

    • owen allen says:

      Welcome to Tasmania.
      I lived there 14 years.
      I have the guff.
      Some international agencies could say, ” I was a sleeper,”
      I gained info, but was active; and paid the price; and couldn’t quit; until prison again was a reality. 17 years later I still haven’t healed completely; and I still have the guff ready to spill.
      I didn’t go to Tasmania to be political. I went to advance my career as a commercial pilot, agricultural flying. Killing pests, insects, weeds, and fungus in agricultural crops. My excellent flying training and experience surely helped me survive in Tasmania.

  15. Donald Sanderston says:

    Are you stuck Mr Urban because you now don’t know how to admit that not only some of your readers disagree with your interpretation, but so did the Tasmanian Legal Profession Board, as well as Dr Mark Reynolds?

    Tough cookies, mate. That is what you get from being biased.

    • andrew says:

      Your assumptions are wrong. I am totally comfortable with having followed the evidence – or lack of it. (And I wouldn’t put too much store in the Legal Profession Board’s report…but I’ve said that already. I don’t wish to keep going round in circles.)

  16. Rodger Warren says:

    Hi Andrew
    There are people who still think Lindy Chamberlain killed her baby.
    Some people can not be convinced of a fact despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
    The positive from this is that many different people read your Wrongful Convictions Report.
    Please keep it up.
    Rodger Warren

    • Pauline Chalmers says:

      That is true – I live in the Northern Territory for part of every year and not everyone is convinced of Lindy Chamberlain’s innocence but most are! We live in an imperfect world and not everyone agrees all the time! The challenge is on over the Zach Rolfe case and the fact the young man he killed had FASD, ADHD and PTSD and it beggars belief a highly trained health professional was not employed to apprehend him and that brings an end to my commentary on THAT case! It sounds as if Cleo Smith was captured by a man with similar afflictions. Sue’s case RAISES the question over the police and courts reluctance to take the TRUE path of inquiry into Meaghan Vass and her companions activities on Australia Day 2009. Is it too hard and they lack capacity as Zach Rolfe did to work in and around challenging behaviours? This was the underlying causative factor in Teina Pora’s miscarriage of justice case.

    • Donald Sanderston says:

      Rodger Warren,

      My reply to your sentence “some people can not be convinced of a fact despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

      is that it all depends on how one interprets the evidence and how one integrates their interpretation of each piece of evidence into the whole picture of the case in a rational, logical, objective and unbiased manner. One can achieve all that in the optimum way if one chooses not to be a supporter of either side of the case but a supporter of truth finding and a supporter of the correct representation and interpretation of the case evidence. Such people are rare.

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