Sue Neill-Fraser alleged 2016 prison phone conversation underlines need for a review of her case

Andrew L. Urban

Sue Neill-Fraser’s alleged 2016 phone conversation from prison, newly revealed, in which she is claimed to express regret for having returned to Four Winds “that night”, raises more doubt, underlines the need for a full review of her case … and poses questions for detective sergeant Sinnitt.

In Matthew Denholm’s report in The Weekend Australian (19/20, February 2022), “during a phone conversation from Hobart’s Mary Hutchinson Women‘s Prison, recorded at 7.15pm on November 13, 2016, Neill-Fraser at one point tells a male friend she did return to Four Winds (crime scene).”

Until the unedited tape of the phone conversation is made available for verification, we are entitled to wonder why the content of this alleged phone call was not made public when it was allegedly recorded, over five years ago, prior to the second appeal.

Denholm writes: “Neill-Fraser says: “You know, oh God, I wish I’d never gone out to the boat that night, oh.” The male friend replies: “Oh … well.” She then says: “Mmm. Or decided to stay on it that night, yeah.”

“She then restates her original story – rejected by the trial judge and jury – that she had left Chappell on board that night and did not return to the yacht.

“The conversation is revealed in a detailed defence of police actions in the case penned by senior ­detective Shane Sinnitt, who worked on the initial and related investigations.

“Obtained by The Weekend Australian, Sergeant Sinnitt’s document addresses what it calls “distortions” and “falsehoods” in a dossier being used by Neill-Fraser’s supporters to push for a commission of inquiry, Tasmania’s equivalent of a royal commission.” (Denholm’s police sources have always been helpful in providing him with information…including the police-sourced and later debunked April 15, 2019, story that Meaghan Vass had recanted her 60 Minutes story )

However, this report raises a few questions:

Are recordings of phone conversations made by inmates at Risdon prison made available on demand to police officers?

Sinnitt claims to be addressing “distortions” and “falsehoods” in the Etter Selby dossier; what has this conversation to do with those issues?

Why is Sinnitt trawling through prison recorded phone conversations in 2016?

How was this particular conversation discovered among the hundreds of Neill-Fraser’s calls that were recorded?

Has Sinnitt played the tape of the alleged phone conversation in full to his senior police officer and/or the DPP?

Has Sinnitt sought permission to release the selected details to a journalist?

Will TasPol issue a press release about this alleged phone conversation?

As the alleged 2016 conversation has no relevance to Sue Neill-Fraser’s current position, what is the motivation for its release now in 2022?

“confused …her normal behaviour”

The self-contradiction in the alleged phone conversation on Sunday, November 13, 2016, raises the possibility that Neill-Fraser was confused about which day she was remembering. She was similarly confused when recalling visiting Bunnings on the relevant afternoon and a long time family friend, Bob Martyn, has stated in a sworn affidavit: “I don’t believe that Sue told police that she had been to Bunnings to hide where she had really been. It was common for Sue to get confused and mistake the day that she went and so this was consistent with her normal behaviour.”

Neill-Fraser phones Martyn regularly on Sunday evenings. “That was probably me on the phone that Sunday in 2016, but I can’t remember her saying that, so I’d like to hear the entire recording … to be reminded and check the contents…”

It is feasible that in the subsequent conversation Neill-Fraser corrected herself – or was corrected – about the day, because, as Martyn says, he would remember if she claimed that she did return to the yacht that night.

Neill-Fraser has lodged an application to seek leave to appeal to the High Court to contest her 2010 conviction for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, on their yacht Four Winds.

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63 Responses to Sue Neill-Fraser alleged 2016 prison phone conversation underlines need for a review of her case

  1. Donald says:

    This post concerns the topic of Meaghan Vass’ DNA, a topic which has been exhausted over many posts – current and previous. We no longer publish posts that regurgitate speculation about when/where that DNA was deposited.

    • donald wakeling says:

      My comment related to the criminal law as set out by the High Court on the 1911 Peacock case , which sets out the mandatory requirement that reasonable hypotheses consistent with innocence SHALL be accepted to acquit the accused.
      Surely one of your legal practitioners could comment on this.

      • andrew says:

        Yes, that requirement has indeed been referred to in some of the many articles we have published on this case. You are right. The judge was wrong not to properly instruct the jury. The case is a train wreck.

  2. It’s way time for circumstantial evidence Fairy tales to be thrown out .It appears another Lindy Chamberlain case.Obvioisky lessons weren’t learnt public opinion and theories do not compute with the evidence overlooked and the consequebt tunnel vision and what appears not wishing to admit that the trial is a comedy of investigation and those who may be responsible are sticking to their theories in order to not suffer from red face affliction..
    It’s pathetic and tragic to watch humans creating pathos and skull drudgery with night appears no compassion or common sense nor dignity so it appears .
    Ignored evidences .Comedian on bourd forensics ..Fantasy stories of a woman who should be in the record books for lifting a dead weight of Bob through a hatch ..drag him on deck ..then heave him overboard My goodness she should have represented Tasmanis in the Olympics for this astonishing feat ..
    Admit the henious fantasy stories tunnel visioned investigations and release this woman before she loses her sanity having to spend the twilight years of her life locked away for a crime she didn’t do .
    Ease don’t revert to the times of early Tasmaniians the genius doings simple minded uneducated as most were to torture a person’s life on fairy tale stories without using any common-sense or logic ..

  3. Grant S says:

    Thank you, Bill, for a clever input. I wonder why Andrew had to have a last word and why he questions the reason for Meaghan inserting herself into the crime scene. To me, as well as to many Tasmanian’s I spoke to, it is clear that Meaghan was pressured and threatened to help Sue’s appeal by stating that she was on the boat when Bob was attacked by her male friend. Why is this so difficult for Andrew to accept?

    • andrew says:

      The last word? And yet here you are … I didn’t question the reason for Meaghan inserting herself into the crime scene, Bill didn’t provide one; and I noted there wasn’t one if she had actually left her DAN on board at Goodwood. As for you and all those Tasmanians you spoke to who speculate about Meaghan being pressured and threatened, I think there has been more than enough speculation in this case. That’s how it went off the rails from the start.

      • Grant S says:

        I am not speculating about Meaghan being under pressure and threats to say that she was on the boat and witnessed the attack on Bob.

        There is actually a court witness who stated that Meaghan lied about being on the boat because she was pressured and threatened to do so. The witness is Meaghan herself.

        Meaghan told the Court in 2017 and then again in 2021 that she was threatened into lying about witnessing the attack on Bob.

        Your problem is in non accepting that Meaghan was truthful when she told the Court on two separate occasions that she was threatened to say that she was on the boat on the night of Bob’s murder.

        • andrew says:

          Keep Vass of the boat! The campaign continues …

          • Grant S says:

            Meaghan statement in Court that she wasn’t on Four Winds and doesn’t know what happened is supported by the defence forensic expert whose opinion was that Meaghan’s DNA was most likely deposited after the night of murder (because of the non-degraded quality of the DNA). But you don’t accept his opinion just like you don’t accept Meaghan’s in-court statement that she was never on Four Winds. What have you got other than speculation, Andrew?

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Grant it appears to me that you are selective in choosing which of Meaghan Vass’s evidence you choose to remember & discuss. FACT – Meaghan Vass was on Four Winds yacht the night of Australia Day, January 2009; Sue Neill-Fraser was not on the yacht that same night.

      • Grant S says:

        This post concerns the topic of Meaghan Vass’ DNA, a topic which has been exhausted over many posts – current and previous. We no longer publish posts that regurgitate speculation about when/where that DNA was deposited.

      • Grant S says:

        This post concerns the topic of Meaghan Vass’ DNA, a topic which has been exhausted over many posts – current and previous. We no longer publish posts that regurgitate speculation about when/where that DNA was deposited.

      • Grant S says:

        This post concerns the topic of Meaghan Vass’ DNA, a topic which has been exhausted over many posts – current and previous. We no longer publish posts that regurgitate speculation about when/where that DNA was deposited.

      • Grant says:

        This post concerns the topic of Meaghan Vass’ DNA, a topic which has been exhausted over many posts – current and previous. We will no longer publish posts that regurgitate speculation about when/where that DNA was deposited.

      • Grant says:

        Geraldine Allan,

        This post concerns the topic of Meaghan Vass’ DNA, a topic which has been exhausted over many posts – current and previous. We will no longer publish posts that regurgitate speculation about when/where that DNA was deposited.

  4. Bill P. says:

    I am a newcomer to this case, via the excellent Aussie podcast “Casefiles”.

    As I found it to be a compelling story with many strange twists and turns, I have looked into it in my spare time during the last while. I have been reading the transcripts of the trial. I am almost lost for words.

    I have to ask why this lady testified in her own defense. Don’t defense attorneys usually try and not have murder accused testify?

    This lady really messed up in court. She could not keep her story straight from one minute to the next. It is quite painful to read. It must have been painful for the jury to observe.

    If jurors had given her the benefit of the doubt upon entering the room, as we hope they did, they can have been left with little doubt that she was not only a liar, but terrible liar.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.

    I am staggered that her attorneys let her perform so poorly. They should have made her remain silent throughout her trial and she may have stood a chance.

    The stumbling over her own many lies and pivots must have left little doubt as to her reasons for these lies. You really can’t blame them for a guilty verdict.

    What am I missing here?

    • andrew says:

      What are you missing here? Well, quite a lot. We have published nearly 200 articles on this case over the past 9 years and if you read just a few of them, you’ll find you are missing quite a lot. If you are really interested, may I suggest you start with this one. Your comment reads like the prosecutor’s false assertions about the lady being a liar. The lady told police just one well-intentioned lie, to protect a family from public embarrassment. Lies, by the way, do not constitute credible, probative evidence of murder.

      • Bill P says:

        Well sure, thanks. However that does not explain why her attorneys let her shred her own credibility before the jury.

        I have decided to go to a primary source for her own account of what happened to begin with, given the controversy. So far, no good.

        If she were telling the truth, then her story should not keep changing from one hour to the next. Alas, it did.

        She repeatedly fumbled, very badly, under cross examination from Mr Ellis. It becomes all too evident on reading, that she has told so many lies, both in and out of the courtroom, that she simply cannot recall what she said the last time she was lying, or the time before that. No consistency whatsoever.

        Do you know if her attorney thought she would make a good witness, or if she insisted on testifying? In either case it was the undoing of her.

        • andrew says:

          You’re sounding more and more like a proxy for the prosecution. But I do agree that her defence counsel left much to be desired… as outlined in the Enquiry article to which I pointed earlier.

      • Bill P. says:

        Let’s give this unfortunate lady the benefit of the doubt in that case. Everything she has said (by your estimation), apart from one lie, was honest.

        You must be aware that in her trial, she stated that she was ‘fairly certain’ tools ‘went missing’ from the boat, while it was at the Cleanlift Marine at Godwood.

        She also stated that ‘we lost quite a lot of other things out there too while the boat was there’ and that ‘The boat wasn’t locked for days’ (at Cleanlift Marine)

        So the theory of the unlocked boat having being boarded illicitly by persons unknown for the purpose of theft, is introduced here by the accused.

        Megan Vass, whose DNA was undisputedly deposited on the boat deck, and I accept, more likely as a direct primary deposit, associated with petty criminals, and burglarizing vagabonds.

        Given these two things together, would it not then follow that the accused herself has given a very plausible explanation for both the DNA deposit. and the disappearance of tools.? Both having occurred at the same time and in the same circumstances.

        Occam’s Razor.

        • andrew says:

          The scenario you are presenting here is what the DPP Coates tried to sell to the appeal judges; that Vass left her DNA on the deck at Goodwood. At trial, then DPP Ellis preferred the secondary transfer scenario to try and keep Vass off the boat, interfering with the Crown’s impermissible speculation about the murder. That scenario, unlike yours, at least didn’t require some fantastical tale to explain why Vass would then place herself into the middle of a murder (more like manslaughter actually) by saying she had witnessed a fight on board … her vomit is the evidence that anchors her story. For more on this, please see Keep Vass off the boat

          Occam’s Razor indeed.

  5. Keith says:

    Unable to get home due to floods, I am holed up in a motel in Noosa watching the rain. What to do? Having just flown in from Hobart, and having just regained my copy of Southern Justice from a non-believing Tasmanian relative, I have just re-read the book. I have decided that all that is required to clear Sue in any re-trial granted by the High Court is to give the jury a copy of his and Robin Bowles’ books – case dismissed.

  6. Mark Slater says:

    There is so much that is wrong about Sue’s trial and conviction that nothing can be taken on face value. Until that entire phone call is played or a transcript is released, the selected words have no context or relevance. Hopefully the High Court will recognise that there is no way that the criminal standard of proof was met in the trial because so much evidence was ignored. Sue should not only be granted leave to appeal but I believe she will be acquitted. Then she must hold Tasmania Police and the DPP accountable for their laziness and tunnel vision, which has cost Sue so many years of her life while Bob’s killer remains free.

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Mark, re your, “… Hopefully the High Court will recognise that there is no way that the criminal standard of proof was met in the trial because so much evidence was ignored. …”

      Only matters that were raised (and not abandoned which most were) as grounds of appeal in the 1-3 March 2021 CCA hearings, and to which were referred in the 30 November 2021 decision (refer WCR article https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/11/30/sue-neill-fraser-appeal-judges-mistaken-view/) can be the subject of application of appeal to be heard and a HCA decision made if the current preliminary step — application to be heard, is successful, which of course we who seek justice for wrongful convictions, hope it will be.

      • andrew says:

        I think there is more scope for argument in the High Court:
        In Gipp v The Queen [1998] HCA 21; 194 CLR 106; 155 ALR 15; 72 ALJR 1012, Kirby J quashed the conviction and ordered a new trial. Goudron J and Callinan J in separate judgments also upheld the appeal, agreeing that the court had jurisdiction to hear an appeal on grounds not raised at the trial or before the Court of Criminal Appeal.
        At 135: The Court is not obliged to ignore a manifest miscarriage of justice demonstrated to it simply because the grounds to demonstrate it were not earlier raised.
        At 137: …where an argument is raised which appears to involve a manifest miscarriage of justice, it should not be ignored because the argument ought properly to have been expressed earlier…

        That’s hopeful…

        • Geraldine Allan says:

          yes indeed. I have read both the APPLICANT’S and RESPONDENT’s documents, thus far.
          Generally speaking, they seem to me to be staying within the scope of CCA matters.
          Yet, I hope there is scope for broadening the details, if and when the application to be heard is accepted.

  7. andrew says:

    Just a further reflection on the reported phone call by Sue Neill-Fraser from prison in 2016: she is said to have regretted to have gone down to the boat and to have “decided to stay on it that night, yeah.” That’s funny… (as in peculiar): in what scenario would she have stayed on it that night? After she had supposedly murdered Bob and somehow heaved him on deck and then into the dinghy, and then out to drop him in the water…and then returned to the yacht? And then bunked down for the night? Ignoring the water rising in the yacht (pipes severed)? And then got into the dinghy before dawn and returned to shore before the yacht was towed – unoccupied – by police?

    • Owen Allen says:

      Smoke and mirrors, bullshit, and more bullshit.
      Believe me. The cops proved themselves corrupt to me; I wouldn’t be participating if this is not the real deal.
      Royal Commission Tasmania, South Australia, Bring on a Federal Criminal Case Review Commission Mr Prime Minister. Release Sue Neil_Fraser NOW,

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Andrew, we who are reasonable, and have an overview of the details of that night, can surely deduce what Sue meant in her private (albeit recorded by ARUNTA system). Unless and until the full context of the discussion is published, I for one, understand Sue’s, “You know, oh God, I wish I’d never gone out to the boat that night, oh”, as meaning gone ‘out’ [of their home], and then walked down to Marieville Esplanade.

      A question — does the audio clearly say “out” and not “down”? We know that audio transcribers can ‘mishear’ certain words. One only has to refer to court transcripts.

      Sue’s, “Mmm. Or decided to stay on it that night….” Makes sense to me. Of course don’t we all wish that with Sue?

      Had Sue decided to stay with Bob on the yacht that night of 26/01/09, their Zodiac dinghy would have been tied up alongside Four Winds, sending a warning to any would-be offenders intending to steal from it, that there were people on board. Additionally, in the broader picture Sue is talking with a friend who knew both Bob & Sue very well. In such a limited and timed conversation it was unnecessary to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Without spelling it out, Sue is saying Bob would not have suffered the attack/death he did, Four Winds would not have been sabotaged and Sue would not be in prison. Rather life as planned would have continued.

      • andrew says:

        I am indebted to you for this comment, mostly because it alerts me to my garbled reading of the alleged transcript. I wrongly understood the alleged transcript as suggesting she HAD stayed on the yacht…silly me. I must have been so incensed at the unethical behaviour of those involved I lost concentration…

        • Geraldine Allan says:

          Easy to do Andrew. I’ve had to re-read it numerous times. Like you I was aghast at the insinuations and inferences in the content. Having received some private messages from some who’ve not been able to access full article, they too were indeed alarmed. The headline!!!! Grrrrr. PRISON PHONE TAP CATCHES CONVICTED KILLER SAYING SHE WAS THERE

          Then proceeding to publish the EXCLUSIVE article.

          Appalling journalism, or is it how it landed in the email inbox of MATTHEW DENHOLM, Tasmanian correspondent for The Australian, with a specific intention?

  8. Ben Dean says:

    If, as Bob Moles suggests; “So, this ‘new evidence’ whatever it amounts to cannot be relevant to any of the current appeal procedures”
    Then TasPol use of resources to collect evidence that is not relevant to the Court, to shore up a conviction of someone who has been convicted and remains in goal, is an action for ‘a purpose which does not arise out of, and in the course of, the performance or execution of their duties’ (Tasmania Police manual, 13.2 General Conduct). And to ‘show or disclose particulars contained in any Tasmania Police book, document or record to any person outside Tasmania Police’…, is an act of defiance to duty, as a campaign to imply justice would be best delivered by The Australian newspaper, with a confessional claim, inferred from secret evidence, that cannot be tested, or seen by anyone other than the exclusive few. Its not about justice, its about protecting self interest. What ever it takes.
    I’m sure the Minister for Police will sort it out for us.

  9. Andrea says:

    At the end of the day it’s disgusting the lengths they will go to and the people they stomp on to keep their names untarnished. The only people who still think they are for the good of the community are others as crooked as they are.
    Meaghan was definately stirred up and made look like she didn’t know what she was talking about with pretty hardcore gaslighting techniques. I was even shocked.
    And the ph call from bobs daughter…. maybe a guilty conscience for sending people to the boat to see what was on it?
    Missing evidence.
    Witholding evidence
    Scare tactics
    No supression orders on naming of people responsible.
    LPBT complaint rejected with the most ridiculous reasoning.
    Obviously the money and scare tactics work.
    But i’ll die knowing i fought to help because i knew the truth.
    Not being a slimy underhanded snake getting awards undeservedly.
    Egos are shocking. Newsflash Sinnitt…. we all live breathe n die the same way.

    • Owen Allen says:

      Good onyer Andrea, great work, following your heart.
      Overcoming the fear, in a violent local environment.
      I know only too well about the environment you live in. I drove cabs nightshift out of Glenorchy and Moonah. And when my stuff was at its peak, it was suggested I do not work Hobart, stay out the burbs, Claremont.
      The last time I did that I drove into the Claremont Hotel carpark and a bloke came running out being chased by somebody else, and was smashed in the back of the head. At the same time I got a job over comms, people came out of the pub and I pissed off.
      I know Andrea, the burbs of Hobart are psycho.
      We all Love You and Meaghan, Meaghan who was only 15 years old at the time, a child, and has lived in fear ever since. GOD BLESS YOU BOTH,
      My next visit I would like to meet you (plural) and break bread together.

      • Owen allen says:

        And psychos live in Sandy Bay, Hobart. I was strangled on duty as a taxi driver diagonally opposite the nightclub on the corner of Sandy Bay Rd and King St. My assailant was a Sandy Bay resident, a stockbroker, and was protected by Tasmania Police, the thug who was demoted from CIB back to uniform, whose brother, ex cop, was prison boss, where I ended up, because I would not give up to bullies. Corrupt bullies, who Prime Minister Morrison, and ex cop Minister of Defence Peter Dutton are loud mouthing on the international scene about international bullies, yet they protect state and suburban bullies, their mates.
        Come on Aussie come on,

  10. Diane Kemp says:

    So the corruption continues with this so called information being provided to a specific reporter. This information is supposed to have been in Sinnet’s notes!!! Yes the same Sinnet who has just received an award!! This raises so many questions – first, is it authentic and has it been scientifically checked for any dubbing? Second – who has authorised the release of this information to one particular journalist? Third – why now? Fourth, why is this comment permitted when the AG has consistently and persistently commented that ‘she cannot comment as the matter is before the court’. Fifth, why has the journalist not been charged by police for contempt of court? Six, where are the statements about this media release (admittedly only to one journalist) from the Police Minister, the Attorney General, the Premier, and many others.
    How can Tasmanians permit these ongoing dirty tricks in their state?? There is indeed a stink of something rotten at the heart of this state. Way past time for a CCRC to be held.
    People starting to get worried about the High Court???

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      You ask numerous of my questions (still in draft) for me, Diane Kemp.

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Diane Kemp you ask the following (dot-pointed for convenience) questions: –

      • first, is it authentic and has it been scientifically checked for any dubbing?
      My response — I too ask for a reliable and transparent check. Has the recording been transcribed accurately, or conveniently in this instance. Who transcribed it? TASPOL?

      • Second – who has authorised the release of this information to one particular journalist?
      My response — questions that come to mind here are: –
      1. In this instance, has a selected section (the quoted words) been transcribed accurately, or in this instance is it more conveniently converted into the quoted written form to suit a spurious purpose,?

      2. Who transcribed it? TASPOL?

      3. On what basis was it requested and what justified its release? Maybe an RTI application is necessary here to establish the answer?

      4. I’m aware in certain instances inmates’ telephone-intercepted content can be released upon request, for police/prosecution purposes. That is not the case here. This appears to have been surreptitiously released and worse still, published, for purposes other than legitimate.

      Crucial and valid questions of accountability are: –
      a) Who released this content for publication?
      b) Is it legal to release without consent, content of any prisoner’s private telephone discussions for publication, other than validly legal purposes?
      c) What is GREG BARN’S opinion on prisoners’ human rights together with their rights to privacy?

      Both TASPOL and ODPP must provide answers whilst elected representatives, MHA’s and MLC’s, please note and ask Attorney-General, Archer the questions relevant to the circumstances ASAP when parliament resumes.

      • Third – why now?
      My response —
      1. We can but speculate here, yet reading the article more closely, refer to column 3, paragraph 3, commencing “Prison inmates”. Second sentence reads: –
      “…The exchange, discovered in a Tasmania Police review of historic evidence, was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
      The conversation is revealed in a detailed defence of police actions in the case penned by senior ¬detective Shane Sinnitt, who worked on the initial and related investigations. …”

      2. It goes further, and here’s the telling point —
      “Sergeant Sinnitt’s document addresses what it calls “distortions” and “falsehoods” in a dossier being used by Neill-Fraser’s supporters to push for a commission of inquiry, Tasmania’s equivalent of a royal commission.”

      Ahhh — ETTER/SELBY papers seem to have touched few internal nerves methinks. To my mind, herein lies the answer to your question — why now?

      3. Journalist MATTHEW DENHOLM continues;
      “…The dossier, tabled in Tasmania’s upper house in August 2021, written by lawyers Barbara Etter and Hugh Selby, alleges ¬errors by police in the original ¬investigation and nondisclosure of evidence. Former premier and prominent Neill-Fraser supporter Lara Giddings and Ms Etter, Neill-Fraser’s former lawyer, claim the material, also known as “the parliamentary papers”, justifies government intervention, which has been rejected. …”

      The article persists with Sergeant SINNITT’s analysis: –
      “Sergeant Sinnitt’s rebuttal ¬argues nothing in the papers is new and much is inaccurate. “The paper(s) consists of a distorted representation of evidence, facts, issues and complaints previously addressed by police and civilian witnesses, and guesswork as to what has or has not been disclosed by police and the DPP,” his analysis says. “At any stage in the application or appeal preparations and process the vastly experienced SNF defence team could have questioned police/civilian witnesses about any of the relevant material mentioned in this report.
      “The critical evidence against SNF is substantial, credible and not referred to in any detail in these papers.”

      Remembering, this echoing of the SINNITT analysis is as a result of, “…a Tasmania Police review of historic evidence.”

      My questions —
      1. When was this “Tasmania Police review of historic evidence”?
      2. Was it
      •After ETTER/SELBY papers were provided to Attorney-General Archer, ODPP and others mid-2021? or
      •After The Hon Mike Gaffney MLC tabled the papers in Legislative Council, 31/08/21?

      Back to the article content. It insists: –
      “The Etter-Selby papers allege nondisclosure of Sergeant Sinnitt’s notes from a conversation with a witness about a dingy sighting at 5pm on the day of the murder. The papers allege the notes show the dingy was “clearly not the Four Winds” but were not disclosed to the defence. Sergeant Sinnitt’s rebuttal says detail from the notes was recorded in running sheets disclosed to Neill-Fraser’s trial lawyer and that the witness’s descriptions of the dingy formed part of the evidence at the trial. …”

      • Fourth, why is this comment permitted when the AG has consistently and persistently commented that ‘she cannot comment as the matter is before the court’, and
      • Fifth, why has the journalist not been charged by police for contempt of court?
      My response — Hmmmn?
      Seems no contempt applies here, even though the matter is before the High Court of Australia (HCA).

      • Six, where are the statements about this media release (admittedly only to one journalist) from the Police Minister, the Attorney General, the Premier, and many others. How can Tasmanians permit these ongoing dirty tricks in their state?? There is indeed a stink of something rotten at the heart of this state. Way past time for a CCRC to be held.
      My response — As above-mentioned, it is high time for the need for elected representatives to urgently raise specific questions about how this can be?

      Di Kemp, referring to your question — “People starting to get worried about the High Court???”, my opinion is that it seems questions of SINNITT have been asked behind closed doors, and this is his best effort at accounting for his actions as raised in the ETTER/SELBY papers.

      Repeating the relevant paragraph that leads me to this understanding —
      “The exchange, discovered in a Tasmania Police review of historic evidence, was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
      The conversation is revealed in a detailed defence of police actions in the case penned by senior ¬detective Shane Sinnitt, who worked on the initial and related investigations.”

  11. Lynn Giddings says:

    Does this sound like another Stitch-Up?
    What it does is throw more weight behind the need for the Commission of Inquiry with an interstate judge, or a Criminal Cases Review Commission as in the UK and NZ.

  12. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    SH, the wonderful thing about seeking natural justice is, it doesn’t discriminate. You are so correct. Anyone, including those who choose to go down this sordid path, may one day, appreciate, the voices against injustice. Ordinary people, such as the attorney general or the leaker, who, it appears, believe otherwise, may just need a helping hand. As Bob Moles puts it, this attempt “to stir prejudice”, can be seen also, as attempting to create doubt, possibly to those sitting on the fence, regarding Sue Neill-Fraser. Look at how, when our world population was being prejudiced into believing that, “…there were weapons of mass destruction”. Supposed credible world leaders. We all know the consequences of that, the lives that were lost, the state the invaded countries were left in, after withdrawal. All to satisfy, the intelligence messages, being pumped out before invasion, no different from the same intelligence, that can’t even find a body, in small little Tasmania. I believe what Bob Moles may be referring to, is propaganda, but for what reason, at this time! Is there panic, once again setting in?

  13. Ian Ronald Gardner says:

    As an ex-Tasmanian I have followed this disturbing case. I am pleased that I left Tasmania many years ago, as obviously it is a bad place these days comparable to some of the southern states of USA. This whole Fraser-Neill case is an example of bad government, corrupt police and legal officers. The Tasmanian A.G. is a disgrace and should have been kicked out a long time ago. I just cannot see this sort of travesty going on in any other state. It is my guess that the real murderer -if ever discovered – will turn out to be a top public figure or a well-connected associate or relative of such a person.
    Most of all I am disappointed in the lack of action by the residents of Tasmania. Wake up you idiots and do something about your corrupt system.

    • Helen says:

      Hi Ian,
      I left this State many years ago and found that it was quite a culture shock coming back to such a backward and parochial State as my eldest daughter did after being away 18 years in Qld and Sydney. Having such a mindset here, unfortunately many uneducated residents of Tasmania still believe that Sue is guilty, even my sister who is living on the mainland. This minority refuse to even read and analyse the case.

      My late uncle many moons ago was Attorney-General and held the portfolio of Minister for Police and and Ethnic Affairs and chose to select a Commissioner of Police from ACT. Why!!
      I also have a long time friend with two daughters who became Barristers in Queensland and refuses to ever come back here as my yougest daughter does having gone to Univ of Sydney and cannot stand the laidback attitude here. It is such a shame Tasmania being such a beautiful island but being an island state has its skeletons.

      You are so right about a well-connected associate or relative being the murderer. I have a close friend who was a Police Officer here but resigned due to the corruption and is now on the Mainland.

      Mark my words it is all going to come out one way or another.

  14. Robert Moles says:

    Robin Bowles asks a question which might occur to many of us:
    “If the police believed the alleged recording had any evidentiary value, why not produce that ‘damning piece of evidence’ at her appeal, where it would have had more relevance than in a newspaper story?”
    The answer to that is that the law states quite clearly that in an appeal to the High Court, the court cannot allow the introduction of ‘fresh evidence’ in an appeal to it (it says there are important constitutional reasons for that view).
    In a normal appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal the task of the court is to examine the adequacy of the evidence ‘at the trial’ which led to the conviction. It is an accepted principle laid down by the High Court that a conviction cannot be upheld on the basis of evidence which has not been put before the jury. The appellate court cannot ‘usurp the function of the jury’.
    So, this ‘new evidence’ whatever it amounts to cannot be relevant to any of the current appeal procedures. It could only become relevant once the conviction has been overturned, and consideration is given to the prospect of a new trial. I would presume that the police and prosecution would know about these rules governing the appellate process and the fact that the ‘new information’ whatever its worth cannot possibly be relevant to them.
    They should explain that when releasing information which might help to stir prejudice but cannot possibly assist the current legal procedures.

  15. Rosemary says:

    https://www.change.org/p/justice-for-sue-neill-fraser-is-justice-for-all

    I see you have referred to the male in the reported conversation as most likely long term friend of Sue and Bob Chappell, another Bob as in Bob Martyn. He has humbly started this petition to help get a Criminal Cases Review Commission set up in Australia . It was obviously comments by Sue to a friend well aquainted with events on 26.1.09 expressing regret of the decision for her partner Bob to remain on board Four Winds that fateful night.

    What mechanism can really explore this and everything else to do with Sue Neill-Fraser’s wrongful conviction? Every action and every voice raised everywhere against injustice is important. Please consider adding your voice to Bob Martyn’s petition to all Attorneys General in Australia to hurry up and get a CCRC set up and stop the ‘heads in the sand’ style of operations by governments Australia wide.

    • Helen says:

      Hi Rosemary

      So pleased you mentioned Bob Martyn – Bob and his late wife and children were all close friends of my ex husband and myself with our three daughters and his late wife and I used to race our children to respective schools in our different coloured renaults. We have since gone our own ways. I certainly will be adding my voice to Bob’s petition. What absolutely is gobsmacking is the fact he signed an Affidavit.

  16. SH says:

    Thank God that these people (see all those commenting previously) exist and keep continuing… if they didn’t, SNF and her case would be ‘dead in the water’, as it were.
    I’ve just been thinking on how, anywhere else in a civilised society, SNF would be out, great apologies, financial compensation given (how to compensate this massive mess??!!), and she would’ve been out. Out FREE!
    The shadowy figures who’ve kept her inside and down (but not out), would’ve been exposed and be under scrutiny themselves. The film and docu series already in the pipeline or can. The people of Tasmania (especially those who’ve been so sure of SNF’s guilt, MIGHT be asking for her forgiveness (most probably not – BTW what IS wrong with such people that they can’t just look at the evidence and court transcripts for themselves and see the truth?!!!)
    A number of the shadowy ones obviously hope that SNF and her case will die in a dark jail cell – and they’re hoping that the truth won’t see the light of day, and then they may be able to sleep at night…
    Thank God that these extraordinary women and men (supporters of SNF – NO! Supporters of Justice everywhere, who have just so happened to become supporters of SNF during the process), keep on keeping on.
    The rest of Tasmania should be grateful that these people exist.
    If this can happen to a woman such as SNF in this day and age, in a ‘civilised’ country, you had better hope and pray that this strange turn of events doesn’t visit one of your family members or, if it does, that a similar group of people will think justice for you and your family matters as well!

  17. Rodger Warren says:

    Thanks Andrew
    We continue to need theWrongful convictions Report for the latest shenanigans in the Tasmanian justice system.
    Take care
    Rodger Warren

  18. Peter Martin says:

    If a public servant deeply involved with the case can release this sort of information to the media at a very inappropriate stage, then the Attorney General really doesn’t need to remain silent any longer. What a low quality AG she is.

  19. John Ferris says:

    Obviously I have not heard the phone conversation but relying on the report given above I can’t see that use of the word “return” is verified. To me it seems that Sue might have been simply saying to her friend that she wished, in hindsight, that she had not gone to the boat that night with the intention of staying on board. She went once, had second thoughts, left Bob on board, and came ashore before the drama. I reckon it is the OZ reporter’s interpretation that she “returned” later.

  20. Loretta brooks says:

    It’s an outrage that sue us still in prison and the girl that went on 60 mins walks free all these yrs taken away from sue when she done nothing , this is Tasmania police for you not a hope in hell

  21. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    This is amazing. An attorney general of the Tasmanian Government cannot comment, or become involved in any matter related to Sue Neill- Fraser, while it is undergoing a court appeal to the High Court, yet a government of Tasmania employee, an Australia Day honours listed police officer can have released, apparently, new revelations, about this person, whose matter is still undergoing this same matter, that a minister of the crown, is compelled, not to comment on. What’s going on in Tasmania’s justice system, when a policeman’s notes, are given to a journalist, for publication? Can the attorney general’s reluctance to make comment about this, be further seen as subservience, to this officer’s release of damning new information, and if so, then who is really in control of the Tasmanian justice system? Smacks of collusion, unless this minister, or any other minister of the crown for that matter, denies having approved release of prison phone conversation recordings, that appear to have been provided to this journalist. No doubt, a commission of inquiry, will one day, expose this all, as has been the case, with many wrongful convictions of the past. This is an appalling release of information, to a selected source, for public exposure, further to appeal application proceedings. Grubby work.

    • Keith says:

      The Queensland Government is under extreme pressure at the moment, solely due to the fact that the Courier Mail journalists have doggedly followed up on information from whistleblowers and others into obvious major integrity issues.
      That this is not the case in Tasmania over the spurious legal and police management of the SNF disaster is a sad indictment on the quality of journalism in Hobart, specifically the Mercury.
      And it didn’t take 28,000 signatures to get action in Queensland, just a vigorous press campaign seeking to root out corruption and nepotism. Where is the editor of that paper? What is he/she doing? Where is the Attorney General?
      If she used her powers, the case would not be “before the court” and there would be no need to use that as an excuse. Why more Tasmanians are not outraged about this case is beyond me.

      • Pauline Chalmers says:

        I have concluded Tasmania as a State, is VERY poorly served with high calibre long form investigative journalists. There is nothing in main stream media to compare with the quality of reporting we take for granted in New Zealand!

  22. Robin Bowles says:

    Good questions Andrew! I might ask a few in yet another Letter to the Editor tomorrow. Don’t know why I bother— they rarely print any of the many I write. I saw the Oz article early this morning. Denham no longer pulling back from showing his true friendship with TasPol. As you rightly question, has this ‘leak’ been approved by Police Media or Det Sinnitt’s superiors? If so, why not a general release? They don’t say they have the actual recording and transcripts can be doctored. I’ve seen it happen . After getting the very disturbing phone call Sue DID ‘go back to the boat’ that night to check from the shore. If the police believed the alleged recording had any evidentiary value, why not produce that ‘damning piece of evidence’ at her Appeal, where it would have had more relevance than in a newspaper story? All the outrage about Sinnitt’s APM must have hit him where it hurts! Apparently he has written a ‘detailed report’ as well. I’m amazed that Police Command in Hobart allows this sort of thing—politicising of theAPM, allowing an officer time and resources to compile such a long report, condoning individual ‘mates’ leak to the media, it goes on and on!Imagine wasting all that police time and public money trawling thru old notes to find one recording from thousands in the hope it will shore up the reputation of TasPol. Hasn’t worked for me! Hope they are ready for the next round, which is in the pipeline as I write! Stay tuned!

  23. Sue Marsh says:

    So if we look at this why don’t they just go ahead with her appeal if they are so sure they have extra evidence etc. How confident are they! Her sentence is extreme anyway. A guy killed another in Qld. Evidence-yes, witness-yes, body- yes. Was given 9 years and they say he will be out at the end of this year meaning he spent 3 years in prison.
    Sue, I feel for you. How can you get your life back? Come on people, we just expect justice so get on with it.

  24. Owen Allen says:

    The Tasmania Police Force is too corrupt to do anything about, from inside Tasmania. They protect the corrupt in society who protect them. A nasty can of worms, which reminds me, at a Party Function I pointed out a cop to a Party Faithfull and said he is a thug and she said, thats how we like them. This statement went up a couple of years ago somewhere else. Specifics can come later at the Royal Commission.

  25. Rosemary says:

    Sinnitt ‘on the ropes’. How much is this costing to claw through the hours of recordings of visits? Colin McLaren estimate of surveillance at approx $15 million 5 years ago. Deep pockets into taxpayers dollars to protect the flimsy conviction, months of phone tapping at the Allison street home, not even used in the original trial. Seizing hundreds of hours of Undercurrent series footage, going through them at what cost per hour with what result? What little context is provided, quoted here is a turn of phrase re heading down that night to see the yacht. One sentence in 13 years of visitor calls and visits listened in to. Smacks of desperation. Bring on the Inquiry. Detective Sinnitt is welcome to provide everything he has to the Inquiry. What about Attorney General Elise Archer unable to comment as it is before the court? Unless some juicy stirring in the media helps the police. Like the example of muckraking by police when Meaghan Vass provides her story to 60 minutes. The little gossip re alleged note smuggled out from prison from Sue has never been seen? When you are on the ropes and get desperate, you play dirty….ho hum…nothing to see here. CCRC time! Let it all be revealed.

  26. Brian J. Hurlock says:

    Hmmm! I read this story with some skepticism, I must confess. My olfactory senses told me long ago “There is something rotten in Hobart” (with due apologies for the paraphrasing!). Why now! Why this! Has anyone from Sue’s family and Defence Team been given a copy of the full alleged conversation so it can be electronically scanned for edits and/or deletions? After the several indications of corruption in terms of the handling, storage, and even losing of important evidence in Sue’s arrest, trial, and flawed finding of “Guilty”, nothing should surprise us! The low and dirty depth to which some Tasmanian authorities, past and present, will stoop, in a desperate attempt to stop the lid being blown right off this egregious miscarriage of justice, is mind-boggling.

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