Sue Neill-Fraser looking to High Court for justice

Andrew L. Urban

Sue Neill-Fraser’s anticipated application seeking leave to appeal to The High Court has now been lodged, hoping to overturn the Tasmanian Court of Appeal dismissal of her case on November 30, 2021, asking the High Court to quash the 2010 conviction.

The Tasmanian appeal court, claims the application, “erred in holding that there had not been a substantial miscarriage of justice,” and “There was no rational basis to reject the conclusion that (eye-witness) Meaghan Vass had been on the Four Winds at the relevant time.”

The application, on the eve of the bleak 13th anniversary of the 2009 Australia Day disappearance and presumed death of Bob Chappell, should not have been necessary, had either one of the other two judges on the November appeal agreed with Justice Estcourt’s judgement that Sue Neill-Fraser’s appeal should be allowed.

Evidence at the appeal by Victorian forensics expert Max Jones effectively undermined the prosecution’s secondary transfer explanation for Vass’s DNA being on the yacht, saying there was “no evidence to support” the secondary transfer hypothesis. The Vass testimony has been central to the issue of Neill-Fraser’s presence at the crime scene. Vass testified she wasn’t there.

At the appeal, Justice Helen Wood said that even if Max Jones’ evidence led a jury to conclude Vass was more likely to have been on the yacht, this did “not necessarily” point to her being there during the murder. A reasonable person might conclude, however, that Jones’ testimony should lead the judges to entertain reasonable doubt about the guilty verdict.

It is unknown when the High Court will consider the application.



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23 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser looking to High Court for justice

  1. len says:

    I just finished reading the book,
    I will never visit Tasmania again
    their legal system and police force reminds me
    of how it was here in Qld in the 80’s, and being a victim of that corrupt mob of
    criminals ,makes me feel mad and very sad for the people of Tasmania and that
    poor woman,
    keep fighting,

  2. Marco says:

    Vass’s DNA on the boat means that the jury should have been directed to consider that there had to be ‘reasonable doubt’ about Sue’s guilt. On that basis alone, let alone all of the evidence which the court did not consider, Sue would have been acquitted in 2009. The lazy, tunnel-vision police investigation has cost her 13 years of her life. This must be rectified by the High Court.

  3. Keith says:

    Talk of Djokovic taking his case to the High Court. Wait your turn Joker, they have a far more important case to deal with than yours!
    Bugger off.

  4. Robert Greenshields says:

    I’m personally heartened to read of the change of jurisdiction, and Sue Neill Frasers plight is to be removed from the shackles of what appears only to be a statuette of old world cultured colonially indoctrinated and institutionalised, injustice and brutality.

    My thoughts are taken back to the rousing words of a then new inspirational leader when that nations first managed to remove the manacles of colonial imperialism dominated, extorters and petrifying terrorisers; “the cells where the authorities threw those who would not submit to a rule where “justice”meant oppression, and exploitation”.

    Sue has long carried the burden of unjust, brutally deceitful, psychologically terrorising, and dishonest policing and judicial administrations choreographed conclusions, I strongly concur. But, through her honesty, robust, patient resistance, and gentle considerate character, the lesson that will reverberate can only be that Australia will one day, hopefully, be a far better place. Keep strong Sue.

  5. Julie says:

    Having now read Colin McLaren’s, 2019 book, Southern Justice, I hope allowing leave to appeal to the nation’s highest court will bring justice for Bob Chappell & his family, but most importantly to Sue Neale Fraser whose ongoing incarceration is the result Of sloppy, erroneous investigative police practice, & the Tasmanian court system’s overwhelming parochialism, & perhaps in SNF’s case, paternalism.

    • Marco says:

      Sue was clearly not guilty, if only just on the basis that there was reasonable doubt about her guilt. However, the failure of her lawyers to introduce their own evidence and witnesses was incredibly naive. We live in the era of guilty unless proven innocent. They were naive to idealistically believe that the prosecution had to prove its case. That is how the criminal law is supposed to operate, but as this case proves, all the prosecution had to do was infer blame through scant circumstantial evidence.

  6. Peter Martin says:

    As I’m just a “man in the street” does going to the High Court mean that it is taken away from the Tasmanian system and assessed at a Federal level?

  7. Robin Bowles says:

    Unfortunately for Sue it is not a justice system— it is just a system. More wheels to spin, more judges to convince — when will it ever end and deliver the outcome that Blind Freddy can see? She DIDN’T DO IT!!!

    • andrew says:

      And we know who did …

      • Mark Hawkes says:

        Are you willing to name who did?

        • andrew says:

          Meaghan Vass told the appeal court on March 1, 2021 she was on the Four Winds with her then boyfriend Sam Devine who got into a fight with Bob Chappell; she saw ‘a lot of blood’ …the Hobart Mercury splashed it on its front page the next day under the headline “SAM DID IT”.

          • owen allen says:

            Say no more. A Glenorchy Mayor was mixed up with criminality which included a Devine. I worked in Risdon Prison with a Devine. This is Tasmania, totalatarian corruption.

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      Hopefully very soon Robin; the continuity of the culture that conformity and compliance is a greater asset/virtue, than is credible competence, is surely among the prime considerations when evaluating the honesty of evidence, as selected, and put before those who have not just inadvertently controlled Sue Neills Frasers destiny for over a decade now, but seemingly have maintained the deceit in a prepared and disposed procedure.

  8. Sue Marsh says:

    What a nightmare! Made her wait last year for approximately 8 months and then the wrong decision was made. How long will this take? Doesn’t she deserve some urgency for what she has been through? No body, no evidence, no murder weapon……… and already spent so long of her precious life behind bars. Credit goes to her team for requiring justice.

  9. Ruth Graham says:

    Good news, indeed. Three cheers for those who made this application possible.

  10. Poppa Madison says:

    Who determines just WHAT A DOUBT LEVEL has to be to reach the critical yet EXONERATING point ?
    IMHO if FACTUAL EVIDENCE does not support allegation, then adjudication has only ASSumption to rely upon.

  11. LizP says:

    Good news. My heart goes out to her. All those years in prison on a wrongful conviction, and now in poor health as well.

  12. Rodger Warren says:

    Hopefully, this time true Justice will prevail.
    But in any case we know that Sue Neill-Fraser is innocent, she has always been innocent and eventually she will be exonerated.
    Take care
    Rodger Warren

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