Viewing entries posted in August 2014
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
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 more likely 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.
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.