Last night attended a weekly Innocence Project meeting at Edith Cowan University (ECU) Joondalup campus in my capacity as Adjunct Professor with the School of Law and Justice at the University. Was very interested to meet the students undertaking the Project as well as the Uni staff involved. The meeting was also attended by a high profile local criminal lawyer who provided advice and guidance to the students. A number of presentations were made on some current cases including a well known case in WA which has already seen a petition presented, with no success, to the WA A-G. I was very interested to hear about the project protcols and procedures and the fact that they were also taking on interstate cases. Students from psychology, law and criminology currently participate in the Project. I was happy to ask questions following the presentations and provide some suggestions on lines of inquiry. It seems that getting timely access to necessary records, such as police investigation files, is challenging - no real surprises there.
My two hour public lecture at Edith Cowan University yesterday was well attended with around 150 persons. Good to see so many "blue shirts" in the audience. Quite a few familiar faces from my WAPOL days. The talk seemed to have been well received given feedback post the event. Was really good to speak to and meet the School of Law and Justice staff as well.
Sue Neill-Fraser told police, when she was interviewed at her West Hobart home on 5 February 2009, that when she came into the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT) on the afternoon of Australia Day to secure the Four Winds dinghy up for the night, that she saw a girl with dark hair standing on the walkway. Reference to the girl is also contained in the typed notes of Constable Milazzo. Her diary entry about a conversation between Sinnitt and Sue Neill-Fraser read:
The Tasmanian A-G has this morning announced that she will move to introduce further right to appeal legislation in Tasmania, similar to that in SA. See http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tasmanian-attorneygeneral-announces-plan-to-change-criminal-appeals-law/story-fnj4f7k1-1227052364906
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.