Mercury (Hobart)


Sue NeillFrase­r case


POLICE union boss Colin Riley slammed what he described as “rumour, innuendo and gossip” surroundin­g the Sue Neill-Fraser murder case and subsequent appeal.

Speaking in the wake of similar ire from Police Commission­er Darren Hine, Mr Riley said allegation­s made about the police investigat­ion in the case are “baseless and vexatious”.

“The Police Associatio­n has largely remained silent on this issue. However, recent public discussion of unsubstant­iated material is reckless, unwarrante­d and attention-seeking,” he writes in Monday’s Mercury.

“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.”

But Mr Riley said he could no longer remain silent over “unfounded allegation­s” made about members of the force.

“The latest allegation­s against individual investigat­ors and the investigat­ion team are what we considered baseless and vexatious,” he said. “Tasmania Police investigat­ors have conducted themselves with profession­alism and integrity throughout the 10 years of the Sue Neill-Fraser matter.”

Meanwhile, a letter written about “a day in the life” of a female prisoner is understood to be the reason Neill-Fraser has been sent to solitary confinemen­t.

The letter, which details Neill-Fraser’s daily experience­s at the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison, was published on a supporter’s website on Thursday.

Former premier Lara Giddings, who has publicly stepped forward as a NeillFrase­r supporter in the past week and as a key agitator behind calls to reopen her murder appeal, said she understood the letter had been seen as a “security breach”.

Ms Giddings also said the disciplina­ry action could be connected to the fact independen­t Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney last week raised the case in the Legislativ­e Council.

Mr Gaffney threw his weight behind calls to provide the Court of Criminal Appeal with evidence supporters claim prove Neill-Fraser’s innocence.

“The coincidenc­e of the timing of all this is extraordin­ary. It is absolute bullying,” Ms Giddings told the Mercury.

Neill-Fraser’s letter describes her routines, exercise and medication dispensati­on, her role as a prison peer mentor and her views on mental health issues, lockdowns and Covid restrictio­ns behind bars.

According to her family, she has been placed in solitary confinemen­t for five days, not allowed phone calls for 21 days and had privileges taken away.

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