Monday, October 2, 2023

International Wrongful Conviction Day: (Part Two): Susan Neill-Fraser: Tasmania, Australia: A brief report on her case:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  On September 10, 2014, I published  a post  headed, "18 days to Wrongful Conviction Day: New appeal hope for convicted murderer Susan Neill-Fraser."

Some 9 years later,  as October 2 approaches,  her many supporters in Australia and around the world  continue the fight to exonerate her.

By way of update, her support site 'Save Sue'  "Sue Neill-Fraser spent 13 years of a 23-year sentence for allegedly murdering her longtime partner Bob Chappell, she was released on parole in 2022. She wears an ankle bracelet and has continuing restrictions imposed on her location and activities. The fight to clear Sue’s name is not over, she was wrongfully convicted and her supporters are determined to keep up the fight to address the injustice."

'Save Sue' informs us that: "Sue’s Trial was an entirely circumstantial case – no witnesses, no  body, no motive, no murder weapon, no forensics against Sue while plenty of missed evidence and other suspects who were not investigated. Bob’s body has never been found. Despite this, there was an  elephant in the court room – a large volume DNA sample found on  the deck of the yacht – DNA that proves someone else was aboard. The  owner of the DNA lied about her whereabouts. And police ignored her and her associates.The Tasmania Police investigation was deeply flawed, devoid of  accepted crime scene principles and procedures, and thorough crime scene  analysis. The forensics were problematic. Police just cherry-picked  what forensics they wanted. Witnesses were mistaken. Some lied, others were never identified or followed up. Tunnel vision was rampant, early in the investigation and  continues today. Key exhibits remain untested.The justice system has failed Sue."

I suspect that The Neill-Fraser case has become  the subject of so many books, documentaries and commentaries is because of the deeply flawed investigation (including 'lost', 'missing,'  'disappeared,' 'untested'' evidence)  a trial corrupted by prosecutorial abuse (astonishing, unsupported claims allowed to go to the jury), and a government that has been loath to correct the blatant miscarriage of justice.

In short, a perfect storm.

In spite of the gnawing passage of time, there is still room for hope. As Colin McLaren  Australian documentary filmmaker, crime writer and former police detective sergeant and task force team leader  wrote  to me in response to my queries on his  aptly named book ‘Southern Justice’: A chilling cold case examination that uncovers how an innocent  Australian woman was found guilty of murder. And why she must be freed…now!' "The defence team for Sue Neill-Fraser and all its helpers as well as Professor Bob Moles and Eve Ash, the brilliant co-ordinator of the defence team, still work tirelessly to have the missing exhibits located and others tested and re-tested under modern forensic technology. Standby, there could be a breakthrough due to the dogged persistence by the defence, after constant pressure on politicians and media, as well as the incompetent and worried Police department. One day the truth will shed its light. Stay tuned!"

I hope to have a much better report next  International Wrongful Conviction Day.

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.


Excellent resources for understanding the Susan Neill-Fraser case; 

Save Sue: (Support site)


Networked Knowledge Homepage (A valuable compendium of resource materials):


Wikipedia entry: 



'Southern Justice': Colin McLaren:  (Amazon Page; I ordered the Kindle version. Great read; Excellent analysis of the forensics in the case); 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;


FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices.

Lawyer Radha Natarajan;

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;



David Hammond, one of Broadwater’s attorneys who sought his exoneration, told the Syracuse Post-Standard, “Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it’s the perfect recipe for a wrongful conviction.”