A Further Response to Tasmania Police Media Release 25/8/14 in Sue Neill-Fraser Case from the lead investigating Detective
The media release dated 25 August 2014 by the lead detective in the Sue Neill-Fraser murder investigation stated the following in his media release of 25 August 2014:
In a media release from Tasmania Police dated 25 August 2014, in response to issues raised in Sunday's 60 Minutes in the Sue Neill-Fraser case, the Inspector who led the investigation stated:
This is the powerpoint presentation that I gave to the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Sydney on Wednesday 20 August 2014, the fifth anniversary of Sue Neill-Fraser's imprisonment. The presentation makes no mention of the new DNA evidence concerning Meaghan Vass as this event was before the airing of 60 Minutes on Sunday 24 August 2014. The presentation was well received by an audience of around 80 persons including leading forensic scientists, lawyers, academics and interested community members. I will be attending the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) conference in Adelaide next week as I believe it is important as a criminal lawyer, also working in the coronial area, to keep abreast of current issues and best practice in forensic science.
The following analysis is provided in response to the Tasmania Police media release dated 25 August 2014 in relation to the comments made concerning blood in the Four Winds dinghy. Clearly, the Judge and jury were not properly informed about the matter of luminol and presumptive testing in this case. The material was more prejudicial than probative see analysis
The Tasmanian Coroner's Comments in Relation to Meaghan Vass and the DNA issue Concerning the Death of Bob Chappell
It is useful to consider the findings of the Coroner, where it was decided to not hold a public inquest, in light of the new independent expert report from Victoria which clearly states that the Meaghan Vass DNA was deposited onto the deck of the Four Winds yacht via primary transfer. In hearings in the Supreme Court, the Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court it had been suggested that the DNA evidence was a "red herring" and that the "core evidence" was that Vass was not on the boat. It was suggested that the DNA was on the deck as a result of a secondary transfer.
An Analysis of the Supreme Court Trial, the Court of Criminal Appeal Submissions and Decision and the High Court Application in relation to the Meaghan Vass DNA Sample
Please see attached an analysis of the Court transcripts and decisions relevant to the consideration of the new and startling DNA evidence in the Sue Neill-Fraser case in light of the new expert report from Victoria which indicates that the relevant sample was more than likely directly transferred to the deck of the yacht, contrary to theories put by the Crown to each of the courts. See see analysis here
Background - Enlightening new DNA evidence - from Victorian Police Forensic Services Department (VPFSD):
Tonight on 60 Minutes there will be breaking news which will cast serious doubt on the safety of the Sue Neill-Fraser murder conviction here in Tasmania. Sue has now been in gaol for 5 long years. See the promo at http://video.au.msn.com/browse/news/60minutes
On 13 August 2014, the High Court handed down its decision in the case of Fitzgerald, a murder conviction involving DNA issues. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/high-court-rules-didgeridoo-dna-insufficient-murder-evidence/5668010. Reference should be made to my previous blog on 10 July 2014.
Joint Standing Committee on Integrity Calls for Further Submissions into the Functions, Powers and Operations of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission
An ad on page 53 of Saturday's Mercury advises that the Joint Standing Commitee on Integrity which is required under the Integrity Commission Act 2009 to undertake a review after three years of the commencement of the Commission's operations, is calling for further submissions as part of the 3 year review. This is more than likely as a result of the State election that was held in March 2014 and led to a change in membership of the Committee. Submissions are due by Friday 22 August. The Integrity Commission will have been in operation for four years on 1 October 2014. It is due for an independent/external review at the 5 year mark. Tasmania so badly needs a properly empowered, structured and resourced anti-corruption authority with appropriate investigative powers.