CLA on Australia Day 2019 asked SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman for a Royal Commission into 400 convictions over 30 years based on faulty forensic evidence. She refused. But, the situation is identical to the ‘Lawyer X’ issue in Victoria, where a Royal Commission is inquiring into “illegal” evidence accepted by the courts. Here, author Andrew Urban and SA legal academic Dr Bob Moles explain why she must change her mind so that she abides by the rule of law.
A former Tasmanian, and noted crime author, Robin Bowles brings a unique perspective to her skilfully crafted, disturbing and compelling new book on the Sue Neill-Fraser case. The third book on the wrongful conviction released in just six months, Bowles brings a different insight to the sorry saga, which is still being played out in the Tasmanian courts 10 years after Bob Chappell disappeared off a yacht, his body never found. All actors in this drama await judge Michael Brett’s imminent decision on whether the woman sentenced to 23 years jail will get another chance to appeal her innocence.
“Our polite request to Attorney-General Elise Archer for the Tas Govt to consider holding a Royal Commission in 2020 or 2021 has been met with an emphatic ‘NO’ in record time, and on a long weekend,” CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman said. “You would think the government would be a little more circumspect, and wait until after legal cases had concluded to respond, as we suggested.
“Throughout Australia, governments unthinkingly backing their police and state legal systems have come completely unstuck over the past decade or so, and many Ministers have egg on their faces. I’m reminded of South Australian AG Michael Atkinson who for years repeatedly, inside and outside parliament, said the Henry Keogh conviction for murder was rock solid, safe, and a fine example of SA police, forensic and prosecution work. Keogh’s conviction was not long ago overturned by the SA Supreme Court after 19 years. SA has just paid Keogh $2.5m compensation.”
The Sue Neill- Fraser case, now 10 years old, is becoming Australia’s new ‘Dingo Took My Baby’ saga. Tasmania has jailed a woman for 23 years after her husband went missing from a yacht on Australia Day night in trendy Sandy Bay. No body, no witnesses, no believable motive and a trial skewed by a major Crown blunder not corrected before the jury made its wrongful judgement. Tasmania desperately needs a Royal Commission into its legal/justice system. In this Australia Day letter, CLA invites Attorney-General Elise Archer to announce one.