CLA is delighted modern forensic science has freed Kathleen Folbigg from jail and the the guilt of murdering her babies. Now it is time that up-to-date forensics in 2023 re-examine the Tasmanian case of Sue Neill-Fraser for previously tested and never tested evidence samples. SNF served 13 years in jail, is out on monitored parole for the next 10 years…and continues to maintain her innocence in what CLA believes was a wrongful conviction.
Recent revelations of secret recordings of lawyers and their clients at Risdon Prison by Tasmanian Police over two months raised major alarm bells. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has been consistently calling out TasPol for its recording devices and surveillance warrant failures for years. TasPol's “compliance culture” is lacking, the Ombudsman says. In other words, TasPol does not obey the law. SPECIAL ANALYSIS reveals how extensive the TasPol problem is: nothing less than a full inquiry into TasPol will get to the root causes of its problems.
Police can self-authorise some warrants, or get a magistrate or judge to issue others. But whatever method is mandated, warrants are frequently incorrectly issued in Australia on false, dodgy or incomplete information containing wrong details and not meeting legal requirements, or by unauthorised people. The Commonwealth monitors warrant processes, and its Ombudsman has singled out one state in particular, Tasmania, for compliance and culture criticism over the past few years
Horrific stories of kids locked up 23 hours a day forming suicide pacts, regular riots and a juvenile jail smashed to pieces are the backdrop for an urgent need to change tack on how the state of WA treats its young, and old, prisoners. Australia needs an inquiry – one it has never had in its 120 years – into the state of justice in the nation, CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings writes.
Derek Bromley refuses to leave prison because he is innocent. He has served 38 years. He was eligible for parole 14 years ago. But to be paroled, he ‘must express remorse for his crime’. Bromley maintains he did not commit a crime, and so is unable to express genuine remorse. His case will soon be before the High Court, with the state of South Australia having a lot to answer for.
Crime in on a 20-year decline, but the number of prisoners in Australia has been growing dramatically over the same period (except for during Covid-19 lockdowns). Why are taxpayers being forced to pay about $330 a day – the price of a top notch hotel stay – for each prisoner each day across Australia? Our justice system generally is no longer fit for purpose, and Productivity Commissions, both national and in Queensland, have recently tried to come to grips with the prison end of Australia’s ‘justice’ system, which CLA says is Unjust By Design.
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.
All Australian jurisdictions have agreed, after years of research and national discussions, to raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility for children from 10, but have failed to act together on an agreement reached in 2020. The ACT has decided the issue is so important that it will go it alone by the end of 2021, showing a lead to the other states and the NT, and will raise the age from 10 to 14.