Wilkie MHR joins calls for inquiry

Andrew Wilkie MHR and Barbara Etter at the Canberra screening.
Andrew Wilkie MHR and Barbara Etter at the Canberra screening.

Andrew Wilkie, MHR for where the Yacht No Body case occurred, calls for an inquiry into a conviction for a murder that may not have happened, the Mercury reports.

TASMANIAN MP Andrew Wilkie has joined calls for an inquiry into the murder conviction of Susan Neill-Fraser.

“Here we have someone convicted of murder in the absence of a body, absence of a weapon and absence of a motive,” he said.

“I think that’s wrong … the community must have confidence in the justice system and the Sue Neill- Fraser conviction takes away from that confidence.”

Neill-Fraser is serving 23 years for the killing of her partner Bob Chappell, a former Royal Hobart Hospital radiation physicist who disappeared from his yacht on the River Derwent on Australia Day 2009.

Mr Wilkie said he was calling for a commission of inquiry into the case after meeting with family of Neill-Fraser and visiting her in prison.

Mr Wilkie said he wanted to meet Neill-Fraser in person to “look Sue in the eyes” and “get some understanding of her”.

“I have no idea if she’s guilty or innocent [but] it would be a terrible injustice if she has been imprisoned if she was innocent,” he said.

“I’m hoping to add to the public pressure on the Government, in particular the Attorney-General Brian Wightman, for this matter to be revisited.”

Mr Wilkie has met with former Integrity Commissioner chief Barbara Etter, who is leading the push for the case to be reopened.

They join high-profile Melbourne lawyer Robert Richter QC, Greg Barns, Madeleine Ogilvie and Tom Percy QC.

Mr Wilkie attended a special screening of a documentary outlining concerns about the conviction, Shadow of Doubt, in Canberra last night.

The Attorney-General yesterday reaffirmed his decision not to reopen the case.

He previously said there was not enough new or fresh evidence to warrant it.

“[It] is important to note that the case has gone through a Supreme Court trial and an appeal in the Court of Criminal Appeal, in which there was no challenge to the jury verdict nor was the sufficiency of evidence appealed,” he said.

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