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
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.