A decade of denial, Tasmania still a legal laughing stock

Andrew L. Urban.

It was 10 years ago: “This case calls for an inquiry,” said the late and great defence barrister Chester Porter KC, after a public screening (at Sydney’s Chauvel Cinema) of Shadow of Doubt, Eve Ash’s documentary about the Sue Neill-Fraser case. You can watch him here. Accompanied and supported by former Lindy Chamberlain lawyer Stuart Tipple, the great man warned that Tasmania could become a laughing stock, if it wasn’t so serious. And ten years later, Tasmania has resolutely chosen to stay a legal laughing stock.

“His formidable ability to both charm and devour his prey during cross-examination as a top defence barrister earned Chester Porter two epitaphs. One, that he could walk on water, which he adopted in a book title. The other, he was not as fond of, as the ‘smiling funnel-web’,” Wrote Anna Patty (SMH March 17, 2021) on Porter’s death at age 95.

The late Chester Porter KC

Porter was only the first eminent lawyer with whom Tasmania’s Attorney-General Elise Archer disagrees, denying the need for a Commission of Inquiry into the controversial case.

She also disagrees with:

Barbara Etter APM
Dr Bob Moles
Greg Barns SC
Hugh Selby
Jeff Thompson
Lara Giddings
Marcus Einfeld KC
Margaret Cunneen SC
Paul Galbally
Robert Richter KC
Tom Percy KC

… and 37,000 signatories to a petition.

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21 Responses to A decade of denial, Tasmania still a legal laughing stock

  1. Dr Charles Wong says:

    Whilst researching the Neill-Fraser case I came across an analysis by a US based crime profiler Pam Brown.

    The link to the YouTube video is


    Ps: About Pam:

    In 1981, she graduated with a liberal arts degree from the University of the State of New York. She holds a MA in Criminal Justice from Boston University.


    • andrew says:

      This is not a helpful addition to the discussions about the case. It begins with a serious mistake, saying that people who claim Sue Neill-Fraser is innocent believe Meaghan Vass and her friends were responsible for the murder. That is 100% wrong and was enough to put me off watching the entire 2 hours….

      • Garry Stannus says:

        That’s an intriguing comment, Andrew. I must admit that I’ve twice lost patience with the You tube video … and will not attempt to watch it again. But your own comment:

        “… people who claim Sue Neill-Fraser is innocent believe Meaghan Vass and her friends were responsible for the murder. That is 100% wrong …”

        is difficult to understand. Is it possible to explain what you mean by this?

        Thanks, Garry Stannus.

        • andrew says:

          Sure. Perhaps I didn’t put it clearly…what I mean is that nobody believes Meaghan was implicated in killing Bob.

          • Garry Stannus says:

            Thank you, Andrew: from what Meaghan has said in various arenae and… supported by the fact of her DNA on the deck … while the murder seems to have happened below deck … yet no one except Tim Ellis (and maybe Daryl Coates?) has ever had the gall to suggest that Sue’s counsel had ever suggested that Meaghan herself participated in Bob Chappell’s murder. Gunson never did … no one ever has … except Tim Ellis … unless my copy of the trial transcript is incorrect.

  2. Don Wakeling says:

    Great to see the departure of Elise Archer. Will we now see political pressure for her replacement to call an Commission of Inquiry into the Sue Neill-Fraser disgrace?
    In the meantime, is Sue still forced to wear an ankle location devise ?

  3. Moni says:

    Well there you go – Elise Archer is out!! And what a shameful way to go. Resigning after being kicked out of cabinet, following allegations of bullying and leaked texts. What a disgrace of a woman. She should lose all her entitlements and refund the state for the cost of the by-election to replace her, and all other expenses including the rebranding that comes with staff moving portfolios.
    It is time politicians were made to pay for the waste of money that’s incurred on taxpayers and especially where they resign before the end of their term.
    The pig in the trough attitude has got to stop!!

  4. Keith says:

    Fabulous news today, it seems the karma bus has finally run over Ms. Archer. Don’t let the door hit you on the bum on your way out. A chance now for renewed representations to the new A-G who hopefully might have a spine.

  5. Keith says:

    The lawyer for Zac Rolfe, the Territory policeman acquitted of the murder at Yuendumu, lodged a request to the NT Commissioner of police to hold an inquiry into the investigation. There were five issues of concern, chief of which was an allegation that an investigating officer edited a witness statement and tried to create a case to fit the facts.
    The new Commissioner has now engaged the services of Victoria Police to conduct an independent review of the case.
    Wouldn’t it be great if Sue’s lawyers could get the same result from a request to the Tasmanian Commissioner given the intransigence of the Attorney General.

  6. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Andrew – Humans sure are interesting
    creatures – In trying to understand the puerile behaviour of The Tanzanian – oops – Tasmaniac Injustice System and their Penchant for Courageously Locking up Grandmas – and imprisoning young girls in Ashley Rape Centre – it’s worthwhile reading (not experiencing) the “Doing Over System” in other Jurisdictions – Back in my ignorant dark ages- I thought the High Success of Convictions in Japanese Courts of “Justice” 90% Confessions – was due to Japanese Policeymens honest diligence – lack of Wrongful Arrest (chargijng) Meticulous Work . A Japanese (resigned) DPP recently gave a description of highly trained methods used to achieve these Confessions and then Convictions – He admitted the method was a form of torture – persons who plead Not Guilty are described as trouble makers ! The method is well known in Australian Police Training – Was used to get the Confession from Little Innocent Ray Bailey in Queensland – Taken to the other Mongrels in South Australia and hung with the Guvmint rope – Still refusing an Appology to his children – we hung your innocent Daddy – We have the power – So you stuff off – A primary reason for the Establishment of the Pommy CCRC was Dear Policeymens bashing Confessions from the innocent ! If Sue NEIL-FRASER was in the South Australian Do You over jurisdiction- as Poor Derek Bromley – She would still be in a stinking SouthAustralian Guvmint prison ! Unless She Lied – In the Manner of a Policeymans-I done it – Quote from the DPP “We know it was physically impossible for you to be Guilty” But I’m on 500,000. And a Mercedes Panzer Ramming Wagen – Life’s Goot ! My Chidren Admire ME and my virtue !

    • Garry Stannus says:

      …having had a quick look [e.g. http://www.steve.bishop.net/correcting-the-biggest-frame-up-in-australian-history.html%5D I’ve seen two things which I also see in the Neill-Fraser case:
      1 a poor defence by the accused’s counsel
      2 a prosecution witness ‘not of good character’

      I might add that in both trials, there are perceived difficulties with the evidence disclosed/not disclosed by police officers investigating the cases.

      Just in closing, the following [refer: the above link] might be of interest to those who have followed Tony Jacob’s recent inputs:

      9.16) The Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG has written that: “…in keeping with greater realism, courts in Australia have developed principles to protect litigants from incompetent counsel…It is easy to be wise after legal events – a privilege that specially belongs to appellate judges. But today, where a person is denied a fair trial because of incompetent legal representation, the courts do not wash their hands; neither should they.” (2002 (23) Adelaide Law Review)

  7. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Poor little Rich Girl – Greta Thundercarbon’s handlers were planning on Her Dropping Anchor in Old Hobart Town on her “friends” multi million dollar Carbon fibre yacht- round the World Blue Cloth Planetary Carbon Crusade ! After Reading the Mercury Toilet Paper Rag – as all good Skandonavigators do – The reports of Murdering Yacht Pilfering Policeymens Protected Thugs STILL on the loose – said “NO! – was to Scream at The Tasmaniac Parliament “Shame on Youse – what youse do to Grandmas – and Blue Cloths – Stuff The Carbon ” !!

  8. Owen Allen says:

    Tasmanian Police are liars in court and on the street. Magistrates do not listen, and reject police lie, they ignore the lie.. Lawyers go with the flow of the police and judiciary.
    Not all of them of course, or all the time; but when they have to protect a family member of their tribe of cronies, they will no worries.
    And protect a murderer from Justice, who has the power to blow the whistle on the naming of 100 sex offenders of a 12 year old girl, pimped by her mother and a crim related to the murderer of Bob Chappell. We all know it, they all know it, and it is as it is.
    So what happens next?

  9. Pauline Chalmers says:

    I don’t believe the Tasmanian government is as intransigent as lacking in skills and sound knowledge! They have just published their findings on the Commission of Inquiry into Child Sexual abuse in State run institutions, and yet omit to report accurately on the Let Women Speak rally held outside Parliament building in Hobart, on the 21/03/2023. There are alarm bells tolling LOUDLY over the safety of children in Tasmania, following the passing of the so called Transgender Justice Laws, and where gender ideology is taught it is KNOWN to be inflicting grave mental and irreversible physical harms on children! Green’s Senator Nick McKim was threatening to throw Posie Parker “into the bin” and as he spoke in the debating chamber he could only name call. Tasmania has not lost it’s penal colony mentality and a rigid sense of self righteousness? I know the Standards of Reasonableness to take correction is not evident! They are trying to pull it off with the CoI but God help anyone who believes children, girls in particular live with a high level of State induced risk and disadvantage under the new Trans laws that have been passed but not reviewed!

  10. Keith says:

    Get their photos, signatures, qualifications and a quote from each on Sue’s innocence and compile it all in a full page ad in the Mercury and on social media in Tasmania. The only way this intransigent government is going to act is to have community pressure applied and the Tasmanian community needs further education on this miscarriage of justice.

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