Mercury (Hobart)

Real facts behind police investigat­ion into Sue Neill-Fraser case

The profession­alism of Tasmania Police investigat­ors in the Sue Neill- Fraser case has been unfairly attacked, says

- Colin Riley Colin Riley is the president of the Police Associatio­n of Tasmania

SINCE the conviction of Susan Neill-Fraser for the murder of her partner, Bob Chappell, individual investigat­ors and the investigat­ion team have faced relentless scrutiny, media muckraking and attacks over the past 10 years.

Those attacks, which have extended to all members of the Police Associatio­n of Tasmania, have continued in the media in the past week.

Member for Mersey Michael Gaffney has tabled documents in the Legislativ­e Council purporting to question the investigat­ion.

The Police Associatio­n maintains what is now being offered up as evidence is rumour, innuendo and gossip.

Whatever has been said now and previously by Ms Neill-Fraser’s supporters, other public persons and in media, the facts remain:

SUSAN Neill-Fraser stood trial in the Supreme Court.

SHE was convicted by a jury.

HER appeal was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

A CORONER’S investigat­ion reviewed all the evidence and supported the findings of the criminal proceeding­s.

The Police Associatio­n has largely remained silent on this issue. However, recent public discussion of unsubstant­iated material is reckless, unwarrante­d and attentions­eeking.

I am extremely sensitive to the fact there is a current appeal decision pending.

Obviously, I make no comment regarding the ultimate outcome of that appeal, which the Police Associatio­n is confident will be just and correct whatever the outcome. We are not, however, prepared to remain silent as individual­s make unfounded allegation­s against our members without reprisal.


THE four key investigat­ors of the Chappell murder have more than 100 years of combined policing experience. They have spent the greater part of their careers as investigat­ors, successful­ly investigat­ing murders and serious crimes.

THE investigat­ion has been scrutinise­d inside and out by the courts, including the High Court, and is subject to a current appeal in the Criminal Court of Appeal. No case in the history of Tasmania Police has been subjected to the same level of scrutiny.

The latest allegation­s against individual investigat­ors and the investigat­ion team are what we considered baseless and vexatious.

The content of such allegation­s is based on an ignorance of critical evidence widely known in the Chappell murder case.

These same allegation­s have been repeatedly aimed at the investigat­ion team since 2012. The nature of these claims is evidence of a lack of understand­ing by those making them of investigat­ive processes, rules of evidence and court process.

The content of recent claims aired by the media is not fresh. Most of it was known to the vastly experience­d Neill-Fraser defence team, which used none of it as grounds for her appeal.

The same defence team could have called any member of the police investigat­ion team to give evidence in support of Neill-Fraser’s appeal – they didn’t.

A lead investigat­or was called by the defence to give evidence in Neill-Fraser’s applicatio­n to seek an appeal.

He gave extensive evidence to the court in August 2018 in relation to the same matters raised in the recent submission to the Attorney-General. He was not called as a witness in the appeal.

Investigat­ors maintain the motive behind ongoing allegation­s is a vendetta against the investigat­ing police and has nothing to do with the interests of justice.

Such allegation­s ignite relentless negative media, targeting police investigat­ors.

Tasmania Police investigat­ors have conducted themselves with profession­alism and integrity throughout the 10 years of the Sue Neill-Fraser matter. They continue to do so. They are unconcerne­d over any scrutiny or testing of their investigat­ion.

They are concerned about the Chappell family, whose loss appears to have been completely disregarde­d.

The Police Associatio­n fully supports the legal process.

We remain absolutely confident in the integrity, thoroughne­ss and profession­alism of the investigat­ive team, including the forensics experts, and the

DPP’s prosecutio­n case.

However, we hold no such confidence in those raising criticism or repeated allegation­s.

We have serious concerns about them continuing to raise these matters while an appeal decision is pending.

And people chiming in with special comments are perhaps just trying to keep their faces and names in the media to raise their profiles.

Please go back to looking at yourselves in the mirror and let the appeal run its course.

 ??  ?? Bob Chappell disappeare­d in January 2009.
Bob Chappell disappeare­d in January 2009.

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