Open Letter to The Hon Elise Archer, Attorney-General of Tasmania

Dear Attorney,

In my new book, The Exoneration Papers – Sue Neill-Fraser (Wilkinson Publishing), I challenge your claims as to why you have not and will not instigate a Commission of Inquiry into the case of Sue Neill-Fraser. I invite you to publicly respond to my criticisms of your reasons. 

The relevant section from my book is below:

In the first months of 2023, members of the Sue Neill-Fraser Support Group individually wrote to Tasmanian Attorney-General The Hon Elise Archer, once again urging her to establish a review into the case. The Attorney-General once again rebuffed the requests, citing grounds that cannot be sustained. She writes:

The separation of powers between the Executive, Judiciary and Parliament is an important cornerstone of our system of government. This means that Tasmanian courts hear and decide cases, independent of and without influence from, the government of the day. Similarly, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who prosecutes crimes in the Supreme Court and conducts appeals, exercises his or her functions independent of and without influence from the government of the day. This ensures there is no political, sectional or other interference.

This view seems to be contradicted by the Attorney’s own actions. On May 4, 2023, she intervened to direct the coroner to hold an inquest into the death of Jari Wise, a man who died after being struck by a car driven by his former partner, overturning a Supreme Court decision made just hours earlier. Asked if this was the first instance of an Attorney-General intervening in this way, the Justice Department said it “is not aware of a similar direction having been made”.  Yet reviews have recently been held in the NSW cases of Kathleen Folbigg’s murder convictions and Bruce Lehrmann’s abandoned rape allegation in the ACT, both established by the Attorney-General of the relevant jurisdiction. The establishment of an independent review by the Attorney-General would not constitute political interference. Rather, it would demonstrate respect for justice.

As you may know, our Government amended the Criminal Code Act I 924 to allow for a further application to the Court of Criminal Appeal in cases where there is further evidence that is ‘fresh and compelling.’ This provides for further judicial review of matters, such as Ms Neill-Fraser’s conviction, and a Commission of Inquiry has not been shown to be needed or justified in Ms Neill-Fraser’s case.

This statement can only be maintained by ignoring the long list of outstanding errors which have not been considered by the courts – see Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction. The Attorney also ignores the number of legal practitioners (among others) that have called for an inquiry over the years – see The Bleak History of Calls for an Inquiry/Review.

Ms Neill-Fraser and her experienced legal team took the opportunity to make an application under this new law. Ms Neill-Fraser also later made an application for special leave to the High Court. In both instances, the applications were dismissed by the respective courts.

One of my duties as Attorney-General is to uphold the rule of law. This means ensuring that a case is adjudicated independent from the executive arm of government. Tasmania and Australia’s highest courts have each now considered Ms Neill-Fraser’s case in great detail. It is important that the courts’ decisions be respected. For me not to do so would undermine the rule of law and the judiciary.

This argument is erroneous. It conflates the appeal heard in the Supreme Court with the application seeking leave to appeal to the High Court. In the latter, the High Court refused leave to hear the appeal; it did not hear any arguments on the ground of the proposed appeal. There is a long history of court decisions (convictions) overturned after several appeals were initially lost.

Public confidence in the rule of law is maintained only when such confidence is justified, while the above issues, plus a petition with over 36,000 signatures (as at early 2023) suggest that such confidence is not being maintained.


Later in the book I list outstanding matters that have been identified by Flinders University legal academic Dr Bob Moles, Tony Jacobs, Principal Crown Counsel & a Crown Law Officer for over 30 years,  plus material from the Etter Selby papers probing the police investigation – none of which have been considered by any court.

I look forward to your response; you can buy a copy of the book from the publisher.

Andrew L. Urban

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6 Responses to Open Letter to The Hon Elise Archer, Attorney-General of Tasmania

  1. Keith says:

    I have just read your book Andrew which, as with previous books, podcasts and documentaries, points out the very many failures by very many Tasmanian police and legal entities.
    One thing however resonated with me, and that was a point raised by, I think Benjamin Dean, and that was that there was never any evidence led that Sue was ever on the yacht, yet there was clear evidence that others were.
    This should have been the end of the matter, but sadly as we all know, it was not.

    • Father Ted Whalensky says:

      Keith – The Answer my friend is written – (in the wind) NO – It’s written in these contributions from many decent “ordinary” souls – Thank you Andrew for this forum ! Decent Ordinary Folks NEED to have a say or more importantly -read the contributions and thoughts / experiences of others – Here is a Question – How is it that so many “Ordinary Decent Australian” can seek and find the truth so easily ? It’s basically because in many many “events” the truth is so damned EASY to see – Not for Dear Little DNA on the boots Policeymens – not for Screenplay delivering DPPs. – Not for the ILLEGAL users of the Maniackle Manocks – Not for Juries who have been fooled by Professionals – Not for Political AGs – (Politics seems to be the Art of lying and bastardary) Judges reading Screenplays to Juries – Appeals Court Judges verging on the Halfwitted – Drongoes- Gits and Schweinhund- All of them ! Many reforms could also be so easy – If a Jury finds later they have been “done over” – Lied to / conned / tricked/ had crucial evidence concealed from them / read a bullshit screenplay – That Jury should be obliged to (not a choice) speak up ! But who too – too whom -Maybe a properly funded/ properly independent/ untouchable CCRC– ” Dear Mr.CCRC Commissioner – We -The Jury- are in a state of Anguish -having found now what a mongrel act was done on us and Sue / Lindy/ Derek/ Darryl/ Ray- etc etc etc. We now seek substantial damages for us poor bastards and don’t forget the poor prick we mistakenly threw in the Slammer!

  2. Keith says:

    The only way to advance this is may be by political pressure, and that means getting more of the public outraged by the governments inaction. How to do this after all these years?
    Perhaps a series of full page ads in the Mercury with a statement of innocence and signed photos of all of the eminent legal minds and other experts could start to sow the seed of doubt for the general public.
    Maybe get these people to write regular opinion pieces for publication in the Mercury? Would they print them though!

  3. LB says:

    Can anyone explain to me how the A/G can possibly continue to ignore calls from eminent practitioners and others to review or intervene in the Neill Fraser matter? Clearly there is no political pressure to act….never seems to have been… and very few scruples….the drover’s dog would be able to see there are so many unanswered questions …Tasmania, what an ugly situation! Again Andrew, well done….

    • Chissy says:

      The audacity to mention Jari Wise’s matter. His mother fought to have an inquest which had been denied.
      There has been an inquest into Bob Chappell’s death, but not Jari Wise.
      Absolutely no comparison.

  4. Owen Allen says:

    Amen and Amen.

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