Sue Neill-Fraser case demands Royal Commission: Richter QC

Andrew L. Urban.

On Tuesday morning, August 20, 2019, Robert Richter QC joined documentary maker Eve Ash on Seven’s Sunrise program, at the Melbourne vigil marking the 10th anniversary of Sue Neill-Fraser’s arrest for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell. Richter said the controversial case demands a Royal Commission, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming appeal. Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 16 Comments

Murder by the Prosecution – ‘Live On Stage’ 2

A second presentation by Andrew L. Urban (Saturday, September 14) at Parramatta College, Sydney, will bring to life further the contents of his book, Murder by the Prosecution.

Robert Xie

Following the inaugural presentation in May 2019, Andrew will tell more of the stories that comprise his book, adding some of the latest astonishing details in some of the cases, including a full update on the Sue Neill-Fraser case, due to be in court on appeal in the near future. He will also discuss the controversial case of Robert Xie, convicted of the brutal murder of five family members. But did he?

He will discuss issues around such wrongful convictions, including reforms that are urgently needed to minimise miscarriages of justice.

He will answer questions and also sign copies of the book, selling at the discount price of $20.

The presentation will begin at 1.30pm and finish at 4.30pm, including a 20 minute interval.

It’s part of the Parramatta College Hub Club – which means that if students join our Hub Club (details are at the link) they can attend this course and some other crime related courses for free, as our Hub Club Membership scheme is focusing on talks for Crime Buffs. So it’s only $49 to join (T&Cs apply)

Booking essential 




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Pell conviction upheld

Andrew L. Urban.

Cardinal George Pell’s conviction of child sexual abuse has been upheld today in a 2-1 decision by the appeal court judges.

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Court of Appeal President Chris Maxwell dismissed it, while Justice Mark Weinberg upheld the appeal. The two judges agreed it “was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Cardinal Pell was guilty as charged” and also dismissed the appeal on technical grounds.

The decision means Pell will remain behind bars and continue to serve his six-year prison term. Pell, 78, will be eligible for parole three years and eight months into his sentence, although he is also free to appeal the decision to dismiss his appeal in the High Court.

In his dissenting judgment, Justice Weinberg found that, at times, the complainant was inclined to embellish aspects of his account. He concluded that his evidence contained discrepancies, displayed inadequacies, and otherwise lacked probative value so as to cause him to have a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt.

He could not exclude as a reasonable possibility that some of what the complainant said was concocted, particularly in relation to the second incident. Justice Weinberg found that the complainant’s account of the second incident was entirely implausible and quite unconvincing. Nevertheless, Justice Weinberg stated that in relation to the first incident, if the complainant’s evidence was the only evidence, he might well have found it difficult to say that the jury, acting reasonably, were ‘bound’ to have a reasonable doubt about the Cardinal’s guilt. He went on to note, however, that there was more than just the complainant’s evidence. In Justice Weinberg’s view there was a significant body of cogent and, in some cases, impressive evidence suggesting that the complainant’s account was, in a realistic sense, ‘impossible’ to accept.

To his mind, there is a significant possibility that the Cardinal may not have committed the offences. In those circumstances, Justice Weinberg stated that in his view the convictions could not stand.

Cardinal Pell’s spokeswoman, Katrina Lee, has issued a statement expressing his disappointment at today’s decision and maintaining his innocence.

“Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today,” Lee said. “However, his legal team will thoroughly examine the judgment in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.

“While noting the 2-1 split decision, Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence. We thank his many supporters.”



Posted in Case 07 George Pell | 4 Comments

Sue Neill-Fraser arrest 10th anniversary – Tasmania’s shame

Andrew L. Urban.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, marks the 10th anniversary of Sue Neill-Fraser’s arrest and incarceration for the Australia Day 2009 murder of her partner Bob Chappell, on board their new yacht, Four Winds. (See below for details of vigils.) But the case against her was never convincing and many Tasmanians, among others, have expressed anger and shame at the monstrous miscarriage of justice in the name of their State – and subsequent inaction to correct it. And no wonder: after years of grave doubts about her guilt, on March 10, 2019, Meaghan Vass, the eye witness to the murder, finally told the world publicly (on 60 Minutes) that Neill-Fraser was not there; she was not the killer. She repeated that yesterday.

Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 9 Comments

‘I will tell the court’: Meaghan Vass

Andrew L. Urban.

Meaghan Vass says she will say in court what she said on 60 Minutes, that she was on board Four Winds (the crime scene) when Bob Chappell was killed – and Sue Neill-Fraser (who has been convicted of his murder) was not. “If I have to go to court I will say the same as I said to 60 Minutes – as it’s the truth.” Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 15 Comments

Sue Neill-Fraser appeal will rest on real evidence

Andrew L. Urban.

In the lead-up to her new appeal getting to court, and on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Sue Neill-Fraser’s arrest in Hobart on August 20, 2009 for the murder of Bob Chappell, we look at how the grounds of appeal focus on real evidence. (Our Special 10th Anniversary report will be published on Thursday, August 15, 2019.) Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 31 Comments

Integrity Commission dismisses complaint

Andrew L. Urban.

Tasmania’s Integrity Commission has dismissed my complaint against Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Cowling, in which I raise the contradiction between his statement to the media and the summary of facts presented in court, regarding Meaghan Vass recanting her statement made on 60 Minutes (March 10) in which she admitted witnessing the murder of Bob Chappell and stating Sue Neill-Fraser was not there. Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 14 Comments

Sue Neill-Fraser guarded optimism at appeal start

Andrew L. Urban.

Sue Neill-Fraser and her family have responded with guarded optimism to the lodgement of appeal grounds with the Supreme Court yesterday (2/8/19), the first step towards the hearings that will determine whether her 2010 murder conviction was wrong and should be quashed. See yesterday’s report.

Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles said her mother had been told that the papers were lodged and was glad, but with the history of delays and complications, she was quietly optimistic. Sarah and her sister “Emma and our whole family is very lucky to have these wonderful lawyers (Paul Galbally and his team, Tom Percy QC and his team) but we don’t really know what to expect.” Or when to expect it … a hearing date is yet to be set, and there are indications that it may not be too far away. “The family certainly hopes so,” Bowles told

The Mercury, August 3, 2019

Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, but Meaghan Vass, the eye witness whose DNA was found at the crime scene, has recently (March 10, 2019) stated on 60 Minutes and in an affidavit to the court that Neill-Fraser was not the killer. This will be the leading (and compelling) ground on which the appeal will be built.

Three judges will be assigned to hear the appeal.

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 10 Comments

Sue Neill-Fraser appeal papers lodged

Andrew L. Urban

Lawyers for Sue Neill-Fraser have today (August 2, 2019) lodged paperwork in the Hobart Supreme Court to start the long awaited process for her new appeal against the murder conviction which saw her sentenced to 23 years in prison at the end of the 2010 trial. Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, but Meaghan Vass, the witness whose DNA was found at the crime scene, has recently (March 10, 2019) stated on 60 Minutes and to the court that Neill-Fraser was not the killer. Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 23 Comments

Questions for Sue Neill-Fraser case after Lawyer X

Letter to The Editor,
Wrongful Convictions Report

Recent developments in Victoria have thrown wide open the question of wrongful convictions. We learn [Sarah Marsh – The Guardian: 27 July 2019] that 40 cases may have been tainted by involvement of police informer Nicola Gobbo. [ ] Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 16 Comments