Calls to pass re-trial law

Shadow of Doubt Film poster
Shadow of Doubt Film poster

The Hobart Mercury has reported on Civil Liberties Australia’s lobbying efforts to have a ‘Right to Appeal’ law introduced to Tasmania. Other states and territories are to consider ‘mirroring’ the new SA law at an Attorneys-General meeting in October.

Calls mount for retrial ruling

From the Mercury (mercury.com.au – 7 August 2013 – by Matt Smith)

CIVIL rights activists are pushing Tasmanian political leaders for a new right to appeal law for cases that could be seen as a miscarriage of justice.

The law, which would allow Tasmanians a right to a retrial if new evidence emerged in contentious cases, is being pushed by Civil Liberties Australia.

CLA chief Bill Rowlings said yesterday the new law could be used in cases such as that of Susan Neill-Fraser.

Neill-Fraser is serving 23 years for murdering her partner of 18 years, medical specialist Bob Chappell, who disappeared from his yacht in Hobart in 2009.

And the calls come as further doubts have been cast on the conviction of Neill-Fraser following the release of a documentary about the case that is currently showing at the State Cinema in Hobart.

“They claim strongly it is a miscarriage and the film at least raises very serious questions,” Mr Rowlings said.

He was in Hobart this week to discuss the issue with the Tasmanian Opposition after meeting Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim earlier this year.

Mr Rowlings said the current law in Tasmania did not allow a wrongly convicted person to return to court with fresh evidence without a Royal Commission or Commission of Inquiry.

“The current situation in Tasmania is that after a conviction and an unsuccessful appeal, a person has no further legal right to any appeal,” he said.

“This applies even where totally compelling evidence emerges to show there has been a wrongful conviction.

“The Court of Appeal will refuse to reopen an appeal or hear a second appeal and the High Court will not admit fresh evidence.”

Mr Rowlings’ call follows the introduction of a similar law in South Australia.

The Premier said yesterday she had referred the matter to Attorney-General Brian Wightman to consider the Government’s response.
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One comment

  1. Hopefully the new law will come in but also, that no case or conviction finishes on a Friday! Susan Neill-Fraser should not be in prison on assumptions. There ought to be the right to legal appeal until the case is actually solved.

    Helma Stevenson

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