Did she get a fair trial?

Editor, Hobart Mercury: K. Cupit’s letter (16 May 2014) re the Sue Neill-Fraser case illustrates a common public misconception as to how our legal system actually works.  The appeals process is very narrowly defined:  it is not there to probe the question ‘Did we get this right?’, but rather to confirm ‘Was correct legal process followed?’  There is no further judicial mechanism for admitting new evidence.  It all depends on what was presented at the original trial.

And the trial has left far too much doubt and disquiet.  It was a very rare circumstance of a conviction for murder on a wholly circumstantial case, with no motive, no body, no weapon and credible alternative scenarios to that depicted at the trial.

The issue here is not about ‘believing in’ Sue Neill-Fraser’s guilt or innocence.  The question that needs to be asked is whether she got a fair trial.  Those who perceive this as a devastating miscarriage of justice will not be silent on the issue.  Nor should they be.

– Jan Hardy, Murray St, Hobart

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