Crown’s sloppy response to Sue Neill-Fraser’s High Court appeal application

An almost comically hapless document from the Tasmanian DPP’s office has been lodged with the High Court in response to the application seeking leave from Sue Neill-Fraser, as legal academic Dr Bob Moles found. 

The document contains various words, references and expressions which are clearly in error. The document is signed by D G Coates SC Director of Public Prosecutions and Jack Shapiro of the DPP’s office. It is difficult to understand how they failed to notice the obvious errors in this document. They are as follows:

 Neill-Fraser v The State of Tasmania –Crown Response to application for special leave, filed 28 January 2022

Point 1 refers to “points of special impmiance”. It should read “points of special importance”.

Point 2 refers to “the comi below”. It should read “the court below”. It states “There was no dispute between the pmiies”. It should read “between the parties”.

Point 3 states “defence counsel being unable to speak with an expe1i” –this should read “defence counsel being unable to speak with an expert”.

Point 4 refers to “a substantial miscan-iage of justice” – it should be “a substantial miscarriage of justice”.

Point 7 refers to the cases of “Van Beelen; lvlickelberg” –the second reference should be Mickelberg.

Point 8 g says “however gave” it should be “however she gave”

Point 10 states “In contrast to Van Beelan” – it should read “In contrast to Van Beelen”

Point 12 refers to the “difference between the two expe1is” it should read “difference between the two experts

It also says “Mr Jones evidence supp01is the proposition” which should read Mr Jones evidence supports the proposition”

Point 13 reads “her counsel told the comi below” which should read “her counsel told the court below”

Point 15 refers to “Estcomi J” which should read “Estcourt J”.

Point 23 refers to “the Comi below” which should read “the Court below”

Point 26 states “Both expe1is agreed” which should read “both experts agreed” It also states “deposited or transfeITed to the yacht” which should read “transferred to the yacht” It also refers to “Estcomi J” which should read “Estcourt J”

Point 34 states “to have been transfe1Ted to the yacht” which should read “transferred to the yacht”

Point 35 states “to be transfe1Ted” which should read “to be transferred”

Point 43 states “Fmiher His Honour” which should perhaps read “Further His Honour” It also states “that improve the prospects” when it should be “that improved the prospects” It also states “the ji-esh evidence” which should read “the fresh evidence”

Point 44 correctly cites “Van Beelen” and then has two references to “Van Beelan” It also refers to “a properly instructed jwy” which should read “a properly instructed jury”

Part V refers to the case of “Van Beef en v R” which should be “Van Beelen”

There are some minor errors of punctuation and the appearance of random bold letters in the submission which are not referred to specifically.

The application seeking leave refers to the 2010 conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser for the murder of Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009.



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41 Responses to Crown’s sloppy response to Sue Neill-Fraser’s High Court appeal application

  1. Owen Allen says:

    Many thanks Andrew. I tell you what folks, I am pumping, like I was crop dusting and clipped a powerline with the tail, or when I dropped into the tops of trees in a down draft, before angels lifted me out of there when I called for Jesus. Thank GOD, I am alive, and pumping. I will follow through. Thank you for bringing me back from the pitts of hell, we have to rescus Sue, and others who do not even realise they are in hell on earth.

  2. Owen Allen says:

    My normal is, whatever time I get home from work, be it 6.00am or 9.00pm I check Wrongful Convictions for the latest or additions to the last.
    I am not obsessed. This is War; similiar to the Ukraine.
    I, tonight, as late as it is, but normal, had my tea and a brandy after 14 hours and red wine to wash down the duck from my local Chinese Restaurant.
    I had a thought. Perhaps Dr Bob Moles might be interested in perusing my documents of, Evidence Against Tasmania. I am on hols, as from Wed, haven’t had a holiday for 2 years, got out of Tasmania on the 2nd last ferry before covid lockdown, after visiting. I will meet Dr Bob, anywhere, any state, I will travel.
    My experience may help the cause, I guess I will need my own security on the trip, Angels protect Believers so I’ll be right.

    If Bob agrees, put it up Andrew if you are happy. 😅

  3. Garry Stannus says:

    Coates and Shapiro ‘backdate a cheque’:

    They apparently signed their initial response on 26Jan2022 (the one that had all the errors) and lodged it with the HCA – it appeared on the Court’s website on 28Jan2022.

    Then the mistakes were pointed out publicly by Bob Moles and Andrew Urban. Time to correct the record? Yes and no…

    You see, the subsequent (corrected) response that they signed off on … contains the same date – 26Jan2022 – above their signatures. That ‘corrected’ response was lodged with the HCA and appeared on its website on 16Feb2022.

    So it seems that the two of them signed the ‘corrected’ document on a date close to or actually on the 16Feb2022 … but allowed the date 26 Jan 2022 to remain above their signatures.

    Now that – in my opinion Editor – is sloppy, and this time there is no question of an error caused by a “technology issue.” Meanwhile the ODPP has been busy – as well as TasPol – with the latest attempt at disinformation.

    I wonder whether the practice of disinformation is a criminal offence?

    PS: What was it with signing the incorrect date? A Freudian slip? The 26th of Jan is the day that Bob Chappell was murdered. Editor, when you put your signature to a document, it is ‘customary’ to include the date on which you sign it. Seems sloppy to me that the 26Jan2022 date (three weeks out of date) was allowed to persist, without the real date of the corrected document being given. William Shakespeare wrote ‘The Comedy of Errors’ over 400 years ago. Now the ODPP,TasPol and News Corp are busy writing their own, in a contemporary manner, of course. Full marks for their black humour … perhaps they will be able to give up their day jobs?

    [Wikipedia: Disinformation is a subset of propaganda and is false information that is spread deliberately to deceive. It is also known as black propaganda. It is sometimes confused with misinformation, which is false information but is not deliberate.]

  4. Garry Stannus says:

    There is a footnote to the heading ‘Amended Response’ which leads the corrected version of the Crown’s response to the document lodged by the SNF team. The SNF document sought leave/special leave from the High Court of Australia to appeal against the decision by the Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal to dismiss Neill-Fraser’s second appeal against her conviction for the murder of her partner, Bob Chappell.

    The footnote reads:

    The response filed on the 28th of January contained errors caused by a technology issue. The amendments have been underlined. No actual content has been changed.

    This explanation seems to confirm what I have earlier suggested: that the Crown response was ‘in good order’ when signed by Messrs Coates and Shapiro and that the so-called ‘errors’ occurred in the subsequent scanning and lodgment of the document. Such scanning and electronic lodgment is required by the High Court.

  5. Keith says:

    A week has passed, and despite multiple emails to the editor of the Mercury to run a story on this important matter, it’s crickets.
    The Mercury, a paper for all Tasmanians.

  6. Garry Stannus says:

    Some further thoughts on the error laden document…

    0 Bob Moles, in his Networked Knowledge Media Report [14Feb2022: 28 January 2022 – Crown Response to Application for Special Leave to Appeal to the High Court – errors in submission] wrote: “The document is signed by D G Coates SC Director of Public Prosecutions and Jack
    Shapiro of the DPP’s office. It is difficult to understand how they failed to notice the
    obvious errors in this document.”

    1 The High Court of Australia [HCA] requires that all court documents be filed electronically.

    2 The HCA requires that ‘documents lodged through its DLS Portal must be in Portable Document Format (PDF)’.

    3 The HCA requires that ‘Documents are to be prepared and signed by the parties in the current manner and then scanned for lodgment in PDF format in the DLS Portal’.

    4 The ‘current manner’ would presumably be a reference to signing a ‘hard-copy’ [paper] document
    as was the custom before elodgment was mandated in 2020.

    5 ‘OCR Text Recognition is a function that is available in some PDF applications, and is used to convert an image to a text searchable document’. [This might be associated with the errors -gfs]

    6 It seems likely that the Crown’s response document was signed by Coates & Shapiro and was then scanned for lodgment in PDF format in the HCA’s DLS Portal’.

    7 The HCA advises that ‘It is not be possible to amend a document once lodged electronically – amendment must be made by filing an amended document.’

    8 An new document has appeared [16Feb2022]: ‘Amended Form 23A – Response to application for leave or special leave to appeal-Amended Response’. []

    9 Were the errors present in the hard-copy (paper) doc which Coates and Shapiro first signed?

  7. Owen Allen says:

    I worked for a man who thought he was above the law. Yes this is heresay, but he had proved himself through his actions and history. He visited USA, probably more than once, and boasted of having met up with Al Capones grandson or nephew, so he was inclined to mafia tactics. He told me, if I want a bureaucrat to do something for me, to whisper in the car park, he might have elaborated which I won’t disclose, but he did show me hand guns, which later I reported to Fed Pol.
    So there you go, who is going to stand up to a mafia without back up and training.
    I get back to Leader of Opposition Tasmania, who told my ex wife and I, in his office, Tasmania Police are too corrupt to do anything about. I know what I would do and so do SNF’s supporters.

  8. John S says:

    My view entirely shown by this very thing (spelling errors): Tas is very poorly run! Maybe turn ON the spell checker!? Say no more! Hope Tas gets the 2022 Comm games & improves its governance in the process!

  9. Owen Allen says:

    Their apparent incompetence, negligence, cronyism and corruption by Tasmania’s Political, Judicial, and Bureaucratic Leaders, the human cost, and financial cost to the Nation to support 3 tiers of Government, for a population of a country town.
    Eg, Christchurch NZ, no disrespect intended, ie less than 500,000 pop, prior to the earthquake. On the other hand Myanmar has a population of 54 million, more than twice as Australia pop, think about it.
    Free Sue Neill_Fraser, Royal Commission Tasmania, South Australia.
    Bring on a Federal Criminal Case Review Commission, stop the rot Mr Prime Minister.

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      You raise a relevant point with regard to populations and disproportionate representation Owen, Australia is transparently devalued and regressed due to this very fact, on the largest of our platforms, in Federal Parliament.
      The insidious creep of corruption is supported by the acceptance of disproportionate representation through the abstract concept, that self determined titled positions in an echelon based hierarchy, no matter how small or insignificant, have an equivalent juxtaposition to same named positions in other more populated states, or even federally.
      With a total population of a mere 23 million, or thereabouts, Australian citizens are often misled as to our national and international disposition and influences, and what is obvious in Sue Neill Frasers case, is how deficient are the policing, judicial, and governing practices in a semi isolated, community and culturally deceived population, of but 541 thousand.
      Alternatively, most would expect to witness higher moral and professional standards due to the lesser numbers to police or govern, sadly though, that is a fundamental misnomer in Tasmania, as has basically been adequately proven for over more than a decade now.

      • Owen Allen says:

        Right on Robert, the more in less, the worse it gets.
        Cronyism and nepotism in humanity; All that it takes for Evil to prosper, is men of goodwill to do nothing. Edmund Bourke.
        However this is now disputed. Silence is not the only ingredient for evil. Men of bad will may keep the people silenced; or my opinion apathy; which is evil in itself.
        In Tasmania, Fear is the issue. Fear of bogan thugs, and fear of corrupt cops and officials.

        • Robert Greenshields says:

          Not just Tasmania Owen, the culture is active across Australia from my experience
          and education, and, North Western NSW as an example, is rife with the complicity and cowardice among policing and judicial administrations. Keep strong and safe.

          • Helen says:

            Robert, you are so right. Whilst living in Brisbane I purchased a very interesting book on Peter Ryan The Inside Story by Sue Williams. Nothing surprised me. I lived in a Chinese suburb and my neighbours Taiwanese, were Police officers who I trusted impeccably. Prior to that on my usual walk earlier at 5.30 am I met a young Police Officer on his way to catch a train and mentioned he was from New Zealand and found it very hard to adapt to Queensland laws. New Zealand has different laws to Australia and are very strict. There was a young Japanese student who was sexually abused on her own doorstep by her taxi driver in Brisbane and made a report to the police at Fortitude Valley station but they informed her to drop it. Big mistake she went to the Gold Coast Bulletin and the Japanese Embassy sending out a message how unsafe it was for international students.
            As a Homestay host and coordinator I always warned my students never to get in the front of the taxi. The Japanese Government were not impressed with this situation.

  10. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Thank you also Robin, for your link to the editor of the Mercury. 👍I already have it but, this kind of assistance to all supporters of Sue Neill-Fraser is welcomed, and appreciated.

  11. Robin Bowles says:

    And they can’t even withdraw it without seeking leave (which may not be granted!)! There it is, on the record, full of errors, just like their whole ‘investigation’. If it weren’t so sad it would be hysterically funny! Surely it is an entrenched legal tenet that you don’t sign something without reading it first!? Who is in charge of delivering justice in Tasmania?? AARRGGH!

  12. Peter Martin says:

    Does that mean that the DPP will need to resubmit their document with corrections?

  13. Peter Martin says:

    If the DPP had written and signed a letter to a member of the public, not that they would, well… mistakes happen, but sending a document to the High Court of Australia with computer generated errors is really poor form.

  14. Graham Day says:

    Has the Attorney-general & Minister for Justice Archer
    got something to do with DPP Coates performance in this matter?
    What action could she take?

  15. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    I tend to agree with Keith here. If the Mercury haven’t yet become aware of this, could Bob send the link, to the “Crown’s sloppy response”? I have attempted to locate this ‘sloppy’ document, but no luck. Would love to see it though. Applaud Bob Moles for locating it. The people of Hobart, who support Sue’s case, deserve to see this document on the front page of their local newspapers.

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      For those wanting to directly access SNF matters on HCA website here’s the ‘how to’ : –

      Go to HCA website at

      Go to Digital Lodgement System Portal – go to DLS information – Right hand side at top

      Then go to Public Access

      You will need to register so that you can log in i.e. provide email address and a password

      Then Log In on Left Hand top corner

      Then got to “Public Search” and enter “Neill-Fraser”

      You will need to pay $28 which enables you to inspect online for one hour – no downloads, screen prints, prints etc. See Terms and Conditions of Use.

      The full set of docs in the Special Leave application is available to look at including the initial application, Notice of Appearance, the Respondent’s (DPP) submissions and the Applicant’s reply. Major docs from 4, 13 and 28 January and 7 February.

    • Helen says:


      I do not think The Mercury would ever justify in placing a document on the front pages or of any Tasmanian newspapers as they are all associated with Murdoch media. Hope everyone saw the documentary on Murdoch and his family and associations with Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher and how Murdoch built up the hype about Saddam Hussein and the WOMD in UKs The Daily Mail.
      I have a friend who has disappeared without trace presumed dead, in the NT because of threats to his life from none other than Murdoch et al colleagues as he was writing The Lost. Bob Moles, an academic, is one of the most brilliant Professors of Law.

      • andrew says:

        I should point out that it was Murdoch’s The Australian that published two of my lengthy features on the Sue Neill-Fraser case, when other publishers all declined…

        • Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

          Well pointed out Andrew. Look, I understand where Helen is coming from however, we must trust those in editorial positions, to do the right thing. I may have covered this before but, when Rupert Murdoch was an editor, in his early years, he saw it right to support and back aboriginal man, Max Stuart, who was condemned to be hanged. Read about this in, “The Stuart Case” by K.S. Inglis. We must continue to give all relevant information to editors. Not doing so, is negating what we believe in, and in this case, it’s about providing true facts.

          • Helen says:

            Thank you Jerry for enlightening me on Max Stuart. Two of my daughters have undertaken Aboriginal Studies part of their curriculum, one at Univ of Sydney and the other eldest daughter from UTAS and online studies at Griffith Uni. . Have you heard of The Lost from a very important part aboriginal in Nullunbuy. I could become very political but choose not to preferring to be neutral but support Sue in every way. The most important fact have been letters supporting Sue Neill-Fraser in The Mercury.

        • Helen says:

          Thank you Andrew

          I will retract that statement about “other papers” and only get the Mercury for collecting dogs landlines haha and the cryptic crossword but do get the Australian when my daughter, an academic from Sydney visits as well as at intermittent times. Wish I could have had that paper on Sue. At least the spelling is grammatically correct, not the US way.

          • Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

            No Helen. I have no knowledge about “The Lost”, curious though. I fully respect your wishes however, not to become political. Hope you find the Max Stuart good reading, an exposure of a shockingly wrongful conviction, an example of why Sue Neill-Fraser needs all our support. This condemned man went on to become a community leader, later to meet and shake hands, with Prime Minister John Howard, in a role, he would otherwise have never achieved, had it not been for editor, Rupert Murdoch.

  16. Keith says:

    Surely The Mercury would be right on to this and print an article about it in the first few pages of their paper? That the most senior government legal people could sign such an important document seemingly without reading it is surely of great interest to their readers.

    • Robin Bowles says:

      I’ve sent the Wrongful Convictions post to the Managing Editor and a letter to the Letters Editor. They chickened out on Sinnitt getting an APM, so let’s see how they go on this!BTW, if you want to make sure your letters actually reach the editor his address is Send him heaps!!

    • Helen says:


      No no one seems to proof read any article today. I once placed an article in The Mercury’s Letters section and there were so many mistakes in my letter.
      Unfortunately Tasmania has the highest literacy problems with one in five people illiterate. My daughter, a paralegal, with a big legal company, in Brisbane, had to invariably correct legal terms. Australia again on the bottom of the list with Finland the most top.

    • Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

      Thanks for your reply Helen. Sorry to hear about your friend in the NT. I would hope he is located, unlike our dear friend, Sue’s partner, Bob Chappell. I have no doubt that Bob Moles is “one of the most brilliant Professors of Law”, however, the Mercury, and the editor, in receiving Bob’s discovery, could still be put to the test, of printing it, or disregarding it. I will be happy to forward it, should I locate it, thanks to the reliable advice from Geraldine, in how to go about discovering it. Thanks Geraldine. But sincerely Helen, I hope your friend is located.

      • Helen says:

        Hello Jerry
        I can see you are very educated. Simon Bevacqualar (cannot remember how to spell Simon’s surname) but I was able to phone Simon and he was very enthusiastic in placing a letter in the paper on banning the Live Export (I am an Action member of Animals Australia) and also a member of the Turtle Foundation of Townsville as well as other Animal Welfare Boards,) He is a very likeable journo so perhaps you or someone else may like to approach him. Face to Face.
        Have you ever read Obstacles to Tasmania – very interesting.

  17. Graham Day says:

    Ellis later claimed that he hadn’t read the major Forensic Biology Report on the case, leaving the task to his junior, Jack Shapiro, according to a letter to the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania in November 2017.

    Ex DPP Ellis claimed in writing that he did not read a “major forensic report”

    So D G Coates not reading a document before signing it would appear to be consistent with that.

  18. Graham Day says:

    Daryl Coates appears to be well qualified & well remunerated.
    Does he normally sign documents without reading them?
    Is this the usual practice is Tasmania?

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      The position of Director of Public Prosecutions is central to the administration of the criminal justice system in Tasmania. …”
      🤨 hmmmn

  19. Owen Allen says:

    Great work Dr Bob and Andrew. They are just trying to slow things, and wear everybody down. I have heard a whisper, Winners Never Quit, Quitters Never Win, Thank you both.

  20. Robert Greenshields says:

    No proof reading of the document seemingly is, or has been, the practice of the Crowns administrative staff in this instance, and one wonders just how many other incidents of a similar, sloppy nature, have preceded this example of blatant incompetence.

    If those being adequately remunerated, and most probably enjoying the perks of their lofty positions, do not accept responsibility for the lack of professionalism of their underlings in an echelon based public service, the status of their own ongoing positions should be reviewed, and the necessary remedial action activated.

    Sue Neill Frasers ongoing plight is being determined by administrators who either lack care and responsibility, or are indifferent to standards acceptable to professional practices. Yet another pitiable example of being fundamentally lazily compliant and complicit within the acquired status quo culture. From initial policing, to the original courts, to the higher judicial processors, the evidence of a common denominator of complacency and cover up seems more than apparent.

    Keep strong Sue, you are not alone.

  21. Robin Bowles says:

    BTW as a quick postscript I notice that BOTH officers of the Crown signed off on it. Did either of them actually READ it?

  22. Robin Bowles says:

    I have been the victim of incorrectly scanned documents over the years, or documents corrupted by copying from one format to another. However, if that is the case in this instance, giving the prosecutor’s office the benefit of doubt, (denied to SNF!), even an office junior knows the importance of providing a ‘clean copy’ for sign off and any boss who doesn’t read a vitally important document before signing and lodging is a dope. Is this indicative of the level of importance accorded to this document lodged with the High Court by those signing off on it, ie Messrs Coates and Shapiro? Should the SNF team take it seriously? This is the highest court in the jurisdiction in which Coates and Shapiro ply their profession. How professional is it to let a poorly proof-read document land on the High Court Bench before their Honours? Should the judges take it seriously, or treat it with the contempt it deserves? How embarrassing for Tasmania, ( again!) when the highest legal officer in the state signs off on a document so full of rubbish. It’s not even funny! And that’s said without even reading the actual content!

  23. Garry Stannus says:

    I think that there is another possibility: I have noticed recently that when copying from a pdf file and pasting into a word document (Open Office), the pasted material has the same sort of errors that appear in the document that appears via Robert Moles’ link (above).

    I don’t know the provenance of the document/file that came to Bob Moles, but I’d ask him to consider whether something in the technology is corrupting what may well have been a properly written original.

    In my own work (a close reading of the Etter-Selby papers) I have noticed that often some perfectly correct text in the document as available through the Legislative Council (Tas) …when pasted into my own document has errors/changes similar to what Bob M has shown. Also (in my case) often numbers (e.g. dates, phone numbers) are changed.

    It’s as if the pdf has been scanned as a photo of text and converted into a digital format, though not with 100 percent accuracy.

    I think it would be best to know more about the original submission before necessarily blaming the Crown. What did the original look like … who copied it … etc.

    • andrew says:

      Yes, that’s right…PDF to word can result in such glitches. The point is, the document was signed but not checked prior to lodgement with the High Court.
      Bob Moles has added a note:
      “In this case the doc was a pdf which was lodged with the High Court – how the errors in the pdf arose are not relevant – the Crown must ensure the doc is correct before being lodged with the High Court

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