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Sue Neill-Fraser wins her case for a new appeal

Sue Neill-Fraser wins her case for a new appeal

Sue Neill-Fraser will get a new appeal before three Supreme Court judges in the near future.

That’s the decision on 190321 by judge Michael Brett of the Tasmanian Supreme Court.

Sue appealed under new ‘Right To Appeal’ legislation which Civil Liberties Australia initiated in Tasmania, and championed with the help of others.

The legislation was passed in November 2015 under the watch of the outstanding then-Attorney General Vanessa Goodwin, now dead.

Judge Brett has agreed there is “fresh” and “compelling” evidence which the panel of three appeal judges may accept in a trial later in 2019.

Bob Chappell – Sue’s husband of 18 years – disappeared from the yacht Four Winds, which was moored in upmarket Sandy Bay on the night of Australia Day 2009.

Sue was convicted of killing him. She has always said she did not: CLA believes her, and has supported her since 2013. She is a member of CLA.

Sue has been in jail 9 years and five months, wrongly.

Soon police, prosecutors, politicians and the Tasmanian establishment will have to explain their reluctance to pursue justice in the case. Eventually, there must be a public inquiry into all circumstances surrounding her arrest, conviction and continued jailing when it became obvious she was not guilty.

That happened in about 2014, thanks to the work of former senior Australian police officer Barbara Etter, who is also a qualified lawyer among a host of other accomplishments, and Eve Ash, the dogged, never-say-die psychologist/film producer and director. Together, they assembled the evidence that pointed to Sue’s innocence, and to the allegedly guilty parties.

They told the police.

Those people were named in court as “Sam” and “Paul”. Their surnames are known to police, and have been for nine years in one case, and at least five in the other.

Much of the pertinent evidence on which judge Brett granted the new appeal hinges on a large A4 size sample of DNA, found on the yacht, belonging to Meaghan Vass.

At trials, she denied even being aboard the yacht.

But, after a six-part Undercurrent doco series produced by Ash and shown by Ch 7 in February and March, she eventually submitted to a recorded interview by Ch 9’s 60 Minutes in which she admitted, on camera, being aboard the yacht.

She has said in affidavits that she saw the fight that ended up with Chappell’s death, and named “Sam” and “Paul” in court.

On other occasions, she has denied those same affidavits. Now her TV-recorded evidence at least, which is undeniable, can be put before appeal judges.  In it, she says Sue was not on board the yacht on the fateful night.

On the basis of that evidence Sue should be freed.

She should be released and out of jail today, if the state of Tasmania’s justice system worked properly.

– Bill Rowlings, CEO, Civil Liberties Australia



One comment

  1. Had Meaghan Vass actually been on Four Winds to see the assault on Bob Chappell then she would have told the police the location in the river where Bob’s body was dumped. Wouldn’t that be the one undeniable proof that she saw what happened? But this hasn’t hapened, not because she conveniently lost all her memory for what happened after the assault but because she wasn’t on the yacht and doesn’t know who killed Bob. The above article says: “On the basis of that evidence Sue should be freed. She should be released and out of jail today, if the state of Tasmania’s justice system worked properly.”

    But the article doesn’t mention that Meaghan Vass was re-interviewed by the police a few days before her interview was aired on 60 Minutes. This is what was reported on 11th March: “The version of events given by Ms Vass on 60 Minutes is contrary to her previous police interview, contrary to her sworn evidence in court and contrary to last week’s police interview,” Commander Cowling said.”

    – Christopher K

    Tasmanian police have proved throughout the Sue Neill-Fraser case to be extraordinarily adept at securing statements from witnesses that accord with police-selected scenarios. This is one of the reasons why CLA believes a full inquiry into the case is required once the series of current court cases concludes. For example, it was reported that, at the most recent court hearing, Vass finished giving her evidence and then looked towards a police officer at the back of the court and said: “Was that alright, Damien?” It is not usual for witnesses to seek acknowledgement/approval from police for their appearances/statements in court.

    Vass, in one of her various statements, has allegedly said that she demanded to be taken ashore some minutes after an alleged bashing of Bob Chappell on the yacht by Vass’s companion(s) ended. She was therefore, according to her statement, on shore when Chappell’s body was dumped somewhere in the river, if that is what happened. (Obviously, where in a major, quick-moving river a body was dumped would probably have very little relevance to its being located hours, days or years after the event).

    You be the judge: The Tasmanian and wider Australian public has an opportunity to view for themselves exactly what Vass has said about how Chappell died: they can watch her appearance on ’60 Minutes’, for which she received no payment, according to Ch 9. Make your own decision – do you think Meaghan Vass is being truthful in this interview, entitled ‘Witness to Murder ‘(expires 9 March 2020)?

    For a text precis of Vass’s appearance on 60 Minutes, also with a link to the video footage:

    NOTE: CLA will not be accepting any further comments on this article, as other websites relating to the Sue Neill-Fraser case have a history of being been hijacked by trolls and cranks.

    – Bill Rowlings, CEO, CLA

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