A Member of Tasmania’s Upper House, Michael Gaffney, has used the Parliament on 31 Aug 2021 to expose massive, newly-discovered flaws in the the original (2010) and subsequent appeal cases presented by the Crown against Sue Neill-Fraser. She is in her 12th year of a 23-year sentence for allegedly murdering her husband, Bob Chappell. CLA and most independent observers believe the woman was wrongly convicted and should be freed, immediately, and acquitted. A formal criminal appeal is under way, awaiting the verdict of three judges.
ACT Bar Association Vice-President Jack Pappas has defended the organisation’s support of Bernard Collaery, the Canberra barrister caught up in a political prosecution authorised by former federal Attorney-General Christian Porter. The ACT Bar called for the case against Collaery to be dropped, Pappas says, as recently as April 2021.
Was Operation Ironside illegal under Australian law? There is doubt, created by the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, whether the much ballyhooed Operation Ironside was carried out according to the law of the land. The first duty of our police is to obey the law, even before enforcing it. We need open and honest answers rather than confuseed bluster and PR spin, CLA says.
It has been reported that NSW police are accepting secret reports of sexual assault in a dangerous new type of vigilantism. Asked to comment verbally by the media, Civil Liberties Australia chose to put our concerns in writing. Here is our statement.
Police investigating police misconduct – and producing no case to answer, or a whitewash – is common throughout Australis. Paul Gregoire tells of some recent cases, and CLA provides some better ways of handling complaints against police generally.
Today’s the day! Risdon prisoner Sue Neill-Fraser’s long-awaited, long-thwarted, and long-delayed appeal is due to start on 1 March 2021, this CLArion issue’s cover date. The tortuous, uphill climb to today began on 2 August 2013 when CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman and CEO Bill Rowlings briefed then-Shadow Liberal AG Vanessa Goodwin on the need for Tasmania to ‘mirror’ the then-new law in South Australia allowing a second appeal. On 2 November 2015, the now-deceased Goodwin was true to her word: the second ‘Right to Appeal’ became Tasmanian law too. Since that date – 5 1/2 years ago – SNF has been striving for an appeal court to overturn what CLA believes is her wrongful conviction for murdering husband, Bob Chappell, on their yacht moored in Sandy Bay on the night of 26 January 2009.
Sudden, dramatic apologies by the Tasmanian Premier and Police Commissioner over investigative and management failures by Tasmanian Police since 2009 have added a possible late-breaking, new dimension to the appeal by Sue Neill-Fraser against her murder conviction, which begins in Hobart on Monday 1 March 2021. The apologies bring back to public notice a 60-page critique of alleged police failures in the SNF investigation: it was submitted to a coroner’s court in 2014, but its contents have never seen the light of day. The appeal court could be better informed if it demands to examine the dossier.