Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sue Neill-Fraser: Her case is at the core of this powerful call for a national debate on the need for a national criminal case review body in Australia - a case in which "there is not a scintilla of evidence which implicates Ms. Neill-Fraser in the murder of her partner" - and a case in which "it is equally clear that there is no evidence that he has in fact been murdered." Tasmanian Times.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:   Dr.  Bob Moles, played a huge role, along with Professor Bibi Sangha, of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, in the enactment of a new statutory right of appeal in South Australia. Having broken the ice there, he is now pushing for a national review body  to put an  end throughout Australia  to an untenable system in which miscarriages of justice  can only be pursued at the good will of the politicians where judicial remedies have been exhausted.  In this comprehensive article, Dr. Moles uses the Sue Neill-Fraser case as an example of why a national review body is necessary.

COMMENTARY:  "Australia needs a national response to miscarriages of justice," published by the Tasmanian Times on De ember 2, 2013; (Dr Bob Moles is a joint author of Forensic Investigations and Miscarriages of Justice (Irwin Law, Toronto, 2010) which deals with miscarriages of justice in Australia, the UK and Canada. He has also published books on miscarriages of justice in South Australia. He previously taught in law schools at Adelaide University, the Australian National University and Queen’s University in Belfast. He has developed the Networked Knowledge website at;"

SUB-HEADING:  "The criminal appeal system in Tasmania is in breach of international human rights obligations - and has been so for over 30 years. Most people would think that if that were so, someone would have noticed it and done something about it. Also, if it transpired that a major criminal conviction (the case of Sue Neill-Fraser) was contrary to reason, common-sense and the law, one might think that it would be quickly sent back to the courts for review. Neither of those things has happened yet. To understand why, we need to place the case into a broader context."

GIST: "It is clear that there is not a scintilla of evidence which implicates Ms Neill-Fraser in the murder of her partner. It is equally clear that there is no evidence to show that he has in fact been murdered. The case gives rise to a very legitimate concern as to his safety and well-being. It is important to note that the Australian Federal Police web site states that “each year 35,000 people are reported missing in Australia. While 95 percent of people are found within a short period of time, there remains approximately 1,600 long term missing persons; those who have been missing for more than six months.” This means that there are around 130 people who go missing in Australia every month. Clearly, it is not sensible to suggest that all of those people have been murdered. In this case, there is no compelling evidence-based criteria by which one could distinguish whether Mr Chappell is in fact missing or murdered.........I would suggest that the time has come for a national debate on this issue. Clearly there needs to be a national CCRC. Investigators, prosecutors and expert witnesses in all states and territories must be required to adhere to their professional ethics and their own codes of conduct. Blanket denials of wrongdoing in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is simply not consistent with a mature democracy which claims to respect human rights and the rule of law. Australia, in this respect, must awaken from its slumbers and meaningfully engage with the scholarship and reforms which are taking place in other similar jurisdictions."

The entire article can be found at the following links:

Part one of article:

Part two of article:

See Sue Neill-Fraser supporters web-site; "On Australia Day 2009 Mr Bob Chappell, Royal Hobart Hospital’s chief radiation physicist went missing. His body has never been found. His partner of 18 years Susan Neill-Fraser has since been found guilty of his murder in the Tasmanian criminal courts. Bob had been doing maintenance on their yacht Four Winds, purchased by the couple from its previous owners at Scarborough Marina in Queensland. The yacht was to be the focal point of Bob and Sue’s retirement together. The conviction, which relied entirely upon circumstantial evidence, resulted in a prison term for Susan of 26 years. During the trial, there was no proof presented of a murder weapon and no witnesses to the alleged act. Susan has never waivered in her claim of innocence. The accusation that she is responsible for his death, has shocked and hurt her deeply.
From her arrest on August 20 2009 and the subsequent trial in October 2010, Susan spent the entire time at Risdon Women’s Prison, despite being under the presumption of innocence. During this period Susan was only able to see her Daughters Emma and Sarah up to three times a week and had limited access to her lawyers. Sarah Bowles and Emma Fraser-Mills, Susan’s daughters, remember Bob Chappell as a father figure and an inspiration. Notably, Sarah was motivated by Bob to also pursue a career in the Health Sciences. Sarah and Emma remain heartbroken since his disappearance and now face life ahead with their mother in jail. Susan is a self-made businesswoman and independently financially secure. The family remain bewildered by the prosecution’s claim that the murder was an attempt to secure Mr Chappell’s assets. An appeal was lodged in August 2011 in an effort to achieve an overturning of the conviction of murder. Susan Neill-Fraser, her mother and daughters, their partners and friends are united in overturning the murder conviction. In a statement to the media, Sarah Bowles affirmed “I think that we’re quite ready to fight this one straight on and keep going.” On Tusday 6 March 2012 the appeal against conviction was rejected. The family and legal team worked to advance Sue’s plight and lodged an application seeking leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia. This Application was rejected on Friday 7 September 2012. 


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