An totally compelling court docket listening to will begin in Hobart this morning: the ultimate enchantment of Sue Neill-Fraser, who was convicted of murdering her husband Bob Chappell onboard the couple’s yacht in 2009.
There’s quite a bit to unpack however principally Neill-Fraser was convicted completely on circumstantial proof, Chappell’s physique has by no means been discovered, and far of the enchantment is about to deal with why DNA from a troubled teenager was on the yacht.
Additionally it is a check of proper to enchantment legal guidelines, which have been carried out in some states to permit for court docket hearings if new proof emerges.
Right here’s a narrative from AAP:
Greater than a decade after being convicted of murdering her companion, Hobart grandmother Susan Neill-Fraser has one other probability to show her innocence.
The physique of Bob Chappell, who disappeared off the couple’s yacht on Australia Day 2009, has by no means been discovered.
Neill-Fraser, now 67, is serving 23 years in jail however has at all times maintained she didn’t kill the 65-year-old, her companion of 18 years.
As we speak she is going to embark on a landmark enchantment listening to within the supreme court docket of Tasmania having satisfied a choose there “recent and compelling” proof that was not heard on the unique trial.
The reliability of the proof – which centres on then 15-year-old homeless woman Meaghan Vass whose DNA was discovered on the 4 Winds yacht – shall be examined in entrance of a three-judge panel.
Vass denied being on the boat on the unique trial however has signed an affidavit saying she was on board when Chappell was attacked.
Neill-Fraser’s attorneys have additionally questioned proof led by the prosecution on the trial regarding DNA and blood testing and a “deceptive” winching reconstruction on the yacht.
It was discovered Neill-Fraser attacked Chappell, dumped his physique within the Derwent river after which tried to sink the boat.
“It was a deliberate killing for the aim of some form of private acquire,” Justice Alan Blow wrote in sentencing remarks after her 2010 conviction.
The case in opposition to Neill-Fraser was based mostly completely on circumstantial proof.
If the enchantment is profitable she might face a retrial or her conviction might be quashed.
Excessive-profile lawyer Robert Richter QC, who represented Cardinal George Pell, will lead Neill-Fraser’s authorized group on the five-day listening to.
Vass is anticipated to offer proof through video hyperlink.
Neill-Fraser, who’s eligible for parole in August 2022, gained the suitable to a second enchantment in 2019 below new Tasmanian legal guidelines that required “recent and compelling” proof to be introduced ahead.
Her first enchantment was dismissed by the court docket of prison enchantment in 2012.