During my extensive review of the Sue Neill-Fraser case, a new piece of evidence was to emerge some time ago during a careful analysis of the police investigation. An entry on the Police Investigation Log (PIL) or investigation running sheet for Operation Ransack for 1845 on 27 January 2009 had simply stated:
The Sue Neill-Fraser case was undoubtedly troublesome in that it was very difficult for police to preserve the crime scene and prevent contamination. The yacht was partially submerged when found and it was critical to keep the vessel afloat. (A report by Lean Marine Survey Pty Ltd on 9 March 2009 stated that the vessel had been immersed to approximately 200 mm over the wheelhouse floor and the vessel had been down at the head. Attending police had described the water in the saloon area as approximately “waist deep”). Nevertheless, wherever possible, the preservation of possible homicide scenes is critical to any police investigation.
Supervision, management and leadership were found to be factors sorely lacking within policing in the Kennedy Royal Commission into the WA Police (2004). After my 30 years of policing experience, including three and a half years as the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Corruption Prevention and Investigation for WA Police (2006-2009), I am firmly of the view that the importance of appropriate supervision, management and leadership in the investigation of major crimes cannot be overstated.
In the Sue Neill-Fraser case, much has been made, in some media, about blood spatters (or "splatters"), giving the impression that there was a lot of blood found in the cabin of the Four Winds yacht, blood that might even have been consistent with an attack by a weapon, such as a wrench (even though there was no wrench as an exhibit at court and the CCA found that there was no evidence that one was used).
I refer to yesterday's blog posting in relation to the importance of the "Golden Hour" in the Sue Neill-Fraser matter. In this posting, I deal with the issue of phone calls to the Tasmania Police from members of the public wanting to provide information.
Public Lecture in Perth at Edith Cowan University on Monday 15 September 2014 re Sue Neill-Fraser Case and Miscarriages of Justice
I am currently an Adjunct Professor at Edith Cowan University in Perth WA, in the School of Law and Justice. I am looking forward to presenting a 2 hour public lecture at the Joondalup campus of the University on Monday 15 September 2014. See http://www.ecu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/622070/Sellenger-Centre-Public-Lecture-Miscarriages-of-Justice.pdf. I will also be lecturing to the Sellenger Centre's Innocence Project students on Wednesday 17 September 2014. Whilst in WA, I will also be holding a range of meetings and hope to get up to speed on the latest developments re the Lloyd Rayney case.
The Not So "Golden Hour" in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case - Get it Wrong Early and the Community Pays the Price
The “Golden Hour” principle is well known in policing – it is absolutely critical in the early stages of an investigation to capture and record all important information. Effective early action can result in securing significant material that would otherwise be lost. See my blog posting and link to the UK Murder Investigation Manual 2006 (MIM) at: http://www.betterconsult.com.au/blog/the-golden-hour-principle/
Luminol Testing of the Four Winds Dinghy in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case and the relevant Australian Standards
There has been much debate in the last week following 60 Minutes about the luminol testing of the Four Winds dinghy and the fact that the jury and Judge were led to believe that the blood of Bob Chappell was found in the dinghy. I have provided what I hope is a helpful analysis of the evidence in an earlier blog posting this week which covers relevant statements by the DPP and Judge, as well as the relevant forensic scientist.
The lead investigating detective defends the comments made in the 60 Mins show on Sunday 24 August 2014. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VepBkTuC0vQ
The Crown case, put forward by the DPP, in the Sue Neill-Fraser case claimed that Sue had told lies, “bare faced lies” (also a “convocation” or “constellation” of lies (CT pp.1383 & 1406), to police concerning her movements on the afternoon of Australia Day until the early morning of 27 January 2009 (CT p.68). As examples of those lies the DPP gave the story about going to Bunnings, denials about going back down to Marieville Esplanade and her reported account of not having seen the red jacket before (CT p.69).