Sue Neill-Fraser’s fate still to be decided after appeal against murder conviction wraps early


After two-and-a-half days of twists and turns, Susan Neill-Fraser’s appeal against her murder conviction has wrapped up.

The appeal, which was five years in the making, came to an early end after Neill-Fraser’s lawyers abandoned their star witness.

Neill-Fraser is about halfway through her 23-year prison sentence for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell aboard his yacht in 2009.

In August next year, she will be eligible for parole but supporters say she wants to go free as an innocent woman.

Neill-Fraser’s appeal against her conviction centred on the evidence of Meghan Vass, who was homeless and 15 at the time of Mr Chappell’s disappearance.

Meaghan Vass recanted her previous evidence on Tuesday and was relieved of giving further evidence.(

ABC News: Luke Bowden

)

Ms Vass’s DNA was found on the boat — in the original trial and this appeal the Crown argued she had never been on the boat and it had been transferred there accidentally by another person.

Meaning, someone might have trod on it and then walked it onto the yacht.

Ms Vass, too, told the trial she had never been to Sandy Bay or on a yacht.

Neill-Fraser’s team maintain that Ms Vass was on the yacht that night and that is the most plausible explanation as to how her DNA got there.

Bob Chappell's yacht, Four Winds, on the River Derwent
Bob Chappell disappeared from his yacht on Australia Day, 2009, and was never seen again.(

AAP

)

But Ms Vass’s witness testimony during the appeal was contradictory.

On day one, she told the Court of Criminal Appeal she had been on the yacht with three other men, at least one of whom assaulted Mr Chappell.

By day two, in cross-examination, she had changed her story, telling the Director of Public Prosecutions she had never been on the yacht.

Neill-Fraser’s lawyers eventually decided to relieve her and abandon her evidence. Confirming in their closing argument that all of it was irrelevant to the case before the judges. The DPP did the same.

Christopher Carr and Robert Richter.
Susan Neill-Fraser’s lawyers Christopher Carr and Robert Richter leave the Supreme Court of Tasmania.(

ABC News: Luke Bowden

)

They instead focussed on what they labelled “issues” in the original trial, namely the DNA evidence of Ms Vass.

In closing arguments, Neill-Fraser’s junior counsel Chris Carr SC said reports by DNA expert Max Jones supported their argument that the DNA was deposited by Ms Vass herself.

This was for two reasons:

  • His explanation of how it could have got there with a secondary transfer did not match the explanation given by the Crown.
  • He said that such a large patch of DNA was more likely to have come from Ms Vass herself.

Neill-Fraser’s team said their explanation of Ms Vass visiting the yacht with some friends was just as plausible as the Crown’s version of events.

Mr Carr told the court that if the jury in the original trial had been given this evidence, there would have been some doubt in her guilt, meaning it was a “substantial miscarriage of justice” and he called for a retrial.

Director of Public Prosecutions Daryl Coates SC maintains that Ms Vass was never on the boat.

Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions Daryl Coates arrives at court (2).jpg
Director of Public Prosecutions Daryl Coates says there is overwhelming evidence Fraser-Neill was involved.(

ABC News: Luke Bowden

)

He told the court that the Four Winds yacht was not initially treated as a crime scene and therefore it was moved to Constitution Dock and then Goodwood, an area that Ms Vass had earlier told the court she spent time in.

He said at least 21 people had been on the boat before the sample was taken, which is how the secondary transfer could have occurred.

“[There’s the] sheer unlikelihood of Ms Vass being involved. At the same time, there’s overwhelming evidence that the appellant [Susan Neill-Fraser] was,” Mr Coates said.

After the case wrapped up, Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles said she felt very “optimistic” and hoped the judges would recognise the “substantial miscarriage of justice”.

“Mum is innocent and this needs to be rectified so that she can get out and be acquitted,” she said.

Woman with dark hair speaks to people in a group.
Susan Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles is hoping for an acquittal.(

ABC News: Luke Bowden

)

Ms Bowles said she would never stop fighting and was prepared to look at other avenues if this failed.

“I have heard many times that this is our last chance and yet here we are again,” she said.

“Whilst in some ways a lot rides on this, we will never stop fighting for this case.”

Neill-Fraser supporter Rosie Crumpton-Cook said “it was going to be a “tough” wait.

“Who knows how long it will be? she said.

“I hope for Sue it’s not too long.”

The judges have reserved their decision.

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Police appeal for information after an alleged road rage incident leaves man fighting for life


Police are appealing for information after an alleged road rage incident in Sydney’s south-west left a man fighting for his life in hospital and three others injured.

Two groups of men in a Honda Civic and a ute were allegedly involved in an argument at an intersection of Henry Lawson Drive and the Hume Highway at Georges Hall around 10.45pm yesterday.

The ute allegedly then forced the Civic from the road and into bushland, where it rolled onto its roof.

Darren Sly
NSW Police Detective Chief Inspector Darren Sly said the incident was “something which our community just cannot stand for”. (9News)
Police are conducting an investigation after several men were seriously injured in a road rage incident in Sydney’s south-west overnight. (Nine)

The Civic driver, a 20-year-old man, and his passenger, a 17-year-old boy, managed to escape the car before being confronted by the second group of men.

The men from the ute then allegedly assaulted the pair, with the Civic driver stabbed in his left leg.

The ute then took off, driving north at high speed before colliding with a motorbike and a silver Toyota Camry.

The driver did not stop and continued travelling north along Henry Lawson Drive.

NSW Police Detective Chief Inspector Darren Sly said the incident was “something which our community just cannot stand for”.

“It is dangerous. And that’s why we’re trying to seek systems of the public today to try and locate these men, and in particular the vehicle as well,” Mr Sly said.

The 24-year-old motorcyclist is now fighting for life after being taken to Liverpool Hospital in a critical condition.

The road rage incident and alleged assault occurred on Henry Lawson Drive in Georges Hall. (Nine)

The male driver of the Toyota was also taken to hospital with chest injuries, along with the driver of the Honda – who remains in a serious but stable condition – after being stabbed.

The teenage passenger from the Honda was treated by paramedics at the scene for minor injuries.

“I actually just saw flashing lights through the blinds. I thought ‘I wonder what’s going on’. My wife said, ‘I think there’s roadworks going on’,” witness Frank Abel said.

“And I thought ‘not with all the police cars there’.”

Henry Lawson Drive between Flinders Road and Tower Road was closed this morning as police examined the scene.

It took authorities about six hours to clear debris from the incident.

Police have appealed for public assistance to identify the men who may be able to assist with their investigation.

Anyone with information about the incident, or has dashcam footage, is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Victoria Police release CCTV footage in appeal for information after sexual assault




Victoria Police are appealing for information regarding a sexual assault in Pakenham on March 2. They have released CCTV footage of a man they believe may be able to assist with their enquiries.

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Appeal to locate wanted man – Hunter region – 16 News


Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man wanted on an outstanding warrant in the Hunter.

Jason Soars, aged 50, is wanted by virtue of an outstanding arrest warrant for an assault offence.

Officers attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District have commenced inquiries into his whereabouts.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, between 185cm to 195cm tall, with a medium build, brown hair and green/hazel eyes.

Anyone who may have seen Jason or may know of his whereabouts is urged not to approach him and to call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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Good Friday Appeal | Herald Sun


Good Friday Appeal

Thanks a mil, Layla

Teenager Layla Hopkins and her supporters have their sights set on a million-dollar milestone for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

Good Friday Appeal

Former olympics synchronised swimmer Tarren Otte is holding a boot camp fundraiser on the beach ahead of the 'virtual' Run for the Kids. It is in support of the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Picture: David Crosling

Tarren’s run for her life

Dual Olympian Tarren Otte says the lifesaving medical care she received as a child has motivated her to take part in the Herald Sun Transurban Run for the Kids. This is how she is preparing.

Victoria

Jackie Ginefra and Bailey gets some practice for Run for the kids.Picture:Rob Leeson.

Run at home to run for the kids

Run for the Kids might be delayed until later in the year but Victorians can still lace up the runners and do their bit for the Good Friday Appeal. Here’s how.

Good Friday Appeal

The GFA Charity Home is now finished.
Nine year old Ava Pattie who has celebrated two years clear of leukaemia and was a patient of the Royal ChildrenÕs Hospital paints her hand prints with RCH patients hand prints on the mural by artist Justine Millsom aka Juzpop Creations. 
Picture: David Caird

Patient lends a hand

Ava Pattie will never be able to thank all the people who helped while she underwent treatment for Leukaemia, but has joined scores of patients lending a hand for the Good Friday Appeal charity home.

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Man who trafficked $17m of drugs for major syndicate wins court appeal


A man who trafficked millions of dollars worth of methylamphetamine between Sydney, Brisbane and Mackay as part of an interstate drug syndicate has had his prison sentence reduced on appeal.

The man, who is known only as TAS as he cannot be named for legal reasons, trafficked between $12 million and $17 million worth of drugs between 2013 and 2017.

According to a document published by the Court of Appeal, TAS was estimated to have carried between $5 million and $10 million of drugs and cash between Mackay and Brisbane between 2014 and 2017.

The documents revealed TAS reported to the head of the Queensland arm of the syndicate, known only as N.

He would travel to Sydney for N, delivering in total about $5 million of drugs and cash between Queensland and New South Wales.

He was also a “trusted courier” for two supply lines of the syndicate within Queensland.

One supply line was to a man called W, based in Brisbane, and involved in about $2 million worth of methylamphetamine transactions, while the other was to a man in Mackay known as C.

“[TAS] began to deliver drugs for N to C in 2008/09 and did so until late 2011,” Justice Philip McMurdo wrote in the document.

“In 2014, [TAS] recommenced couriering drugs and cash for the syndicate.

“N provided him with a Blackberry phone and instructed him to use encrypted email and the Wickr application in his work.”

Justice McMurdo said when TAS resumed his deliveries to C he delivered between 25 kg and 30 kg of methylamphetamine and 22.6 kg of cannabis.

“On each occasion, he obtained the drugs from N or another person in Brisbane and took them home so that he could securely pack them and hide them in various parts of the car to be used for the trip to Mackay,” the judge wrote.

“Once there he handed the drugs to C, who handed him a sum of cash to be taken to N.

It was while he was trafficking drugs to Mackay that TAS was introduced to W, by a Brisbane restaurant owner known as M, whose business was used as a cash exchange hub for the syndicate.

TAS only stopped trafficking drugs after he was caught by police and arrested on August 1, 2017.

“Police received information that a certain car was transporting a large quantity of drugs through Rockhampton,” Justice McMurdo said.

“They intercepted the car, which was being driven by [TAS] with N as a passenger.

“As a search of the car discovered drugs, three mobile phones belonging to [TAS] and a relatively small amount of cash.”

TAS pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane in August 2020 to trafficking dangerous drugs with a serious organised crime circumstance of aggravation.

At the time, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which was below what he could have received as the sentencing judge found he provided information to police that went “significantly beyond” the information they already had about the syndicate’s operations.

The information TAS provided to police, Justice McMurdo wrote, was “substantial enough to put him at risk of serious retribution”.

TAS was provided indemnity against prosecution for his trafficking conduct from Brisbane to Mackay between 2008 to 2011.

He was between the ages of 33 and 36 during the period of offending before the court. 

Soon after, he launched an appeal on four grounds, that the sentence was excessive, that the sentencing judge erred in law, the sentencing judge erred in relation to the granted indemnity, and the subsequent sentencing of C activated the parity principle which required the reduction of the sentence.

C, whose criminality Justice McMurdo said “was greater than that of [TAS’]”, was arrested in February 2018 and also pleaded guilty to trafficking a dangerous drug with a serious organised crime circumstance of aggravation.

Court documents revealed C trafficked about 56 kg to 64 kg of amphetamine, worth $15.68 million to $17.92 million, 30 kg to 36 kg of methylamphetamine, worth $5.4 million to $6.48 million and 186 kg of cannabis, worth $1.23 million.

C was sentenced to nine years in prison, with parole at the halfway mark.

Justice McMurdo, and fellow judges Justice Philip Morrison and Justice David North dismissed the appeal on grounds one to three but granted the appeal on the fourth ground.

TAS’s prison sentence was reduced to nine years, with a parole eligibility date set as June 10, 2025.

Thanks for dropping by and seeing this story involving “News & What’s On in Queensland’s Capricornia Region named “Man who trafficked $17m of drugs for major syndicate wins court appeal “. This news article was posted by My Local Pages as part of our QLD events and what’s on local news services.

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Sam Burgess acquitted on appeal for intimidating former father-in-law


Retired NRL star Sam Burgess has been acquitted on appeal of intimidating his former father-in-law Mitchell Hooke near Bowral.

Burgess was found guilty of intimidating Mr Hooke at his home near Bowral, on the NSW Southern Highlands, in February.

He was sentenced him to a two-year good behaviour bond before appealing the decision.

Burgess was stood down from his roles as a coaching assistant at the South Sydney Rabbitohs and commentator at Fox Sports following the allegations.

We hope you enjoyed checking out this news release on “News in the City of Sydney named “Sam Burgess acquitted on appeal for intimidating former father-in-law”. This news release was posted by MyLocalPages as part of our Australian events & what’s on stories services.

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Sydney businessman Ron Medich loses Michael McGurk murder appeal


Millionaire businessman and convicted killer Ron Medich is unlikely to ever see the outside of a jail cell again after losing his appeal.

Medich has served three years of a maximum 39-year sentence for ordering the murder of his business rival Michael McGurk outside his Cremorne home in 2009.

The property developer paid $500,000 for the hit after their business relationship became toxic, with the pair fighting over millions of dollars in and out of court.

“It had led the offender to form a deep-seated hatred of Mr McGurk and provide a motive for him to want to have Mr McGurk killed,” Justice Geoffrey Bellew said at sentence.

He was not on screen today as his appeal was dismissed two to one.

Justice Peter Hamill said he would have allowed the appeal against conviction and ordered a re-trial.

That decision was based in part on the evidence given by Senad Kaminic, an accessory to the murder.

Kaminic told the trial he heard a conversation between two other players, Haissam Safetli and Lucky Gatellari.

He said Safetli pointed to a pictured of Mr McGurk as he said “this man is causing you a lot of problems” and that he understood the “you” was a reference to Medich.

Kaminic agreed it was the first time he had given that evidence in seven and a half years.

“It follows that the admission of the inadmissible evidence of what Kaminic understood Safetli to mean when he told Gattellari that “[McGurk] is causing you a lot of problems” constituted a miscarriage of justice” Justice Hamill said.

Justice Hamill also found merit in two other grounds of appeal but was ultimately outnumbered.

Medich can still ask the High Court to consider his case, but at this stage he will be almost 100 years old when he’s first eligible for parole.

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Queensland police appeal for help to find man who sparked emergency declaration on Gold Coast


A man who sparked a six-hour emergency declaration on Queensland’s Gold Coast remains on the run.

An exclusion zone was set up in Ormeau just after 10:00am on Tuesday, with police searching for a man they believed may have been armed with a gun. 

Police said in a statement that officers were searching for 37-year-old Mark Lutgenau as part of an investigation into a domestic violence incident in Upper Coomera last night.

At a press conference earlier today, police said no-one had been injured at the Upper Coomera property.

Earlier today, specialist officers searched dense bushland looking for Mr Lutgenau but his whereabouts remain unknown.

Boundaries were put in place on Tuesday morning between Mirambeena Drive and Pimpama Jacobs Well Road, Creek Street and Lumeah Avenue, with the area including Ormeau State School.

The emergency declaration also sent Ormeau State School into lockdown for several hours, with parents only reuniting with their children this afternoon.

The declaration was revoked late this afternoon, with police now issuing an appeal for public assistance in finding Mr Lutgenau.

Police said in a statement they did not believe there was any specific threat against members of the community.

However, police have urged anyone who sees Mr Lutgenau to not approach him, saying they should instead call triple-0 immediately.

Mr Lutgenau is described as Caucasian, about 190 centimetres tall and of a proportionate build.

He has short brown hair and hazel eyes.

Police are also appealing for Mr Lutgenau to hand himself in to authorities.

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Flinders Street driver who killed grandfather loses appeal to leave jail early



A man who drove into pedestrians on Flinders Street in Melbourne, killing an elderly grandfather, has lost an appeal for an early release from jail.

Saeed Noori, 37, is serving a minimum 30 years prison for the murder of Antonios “Anton” Crocaris just days before Christmas in 2017.

Saeed Noori has lost an appeal to be released from prison early.

He appealed for an early release from prison which was today denied by a judge.


Noori drove down the busy street on December 21 of that year and injured 15 people, including a four-year-old boy, during the rampage.
Antonios “Anton” Crocaris, 83, died from head injuries sustained during the attack.
During his initial sentencing Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said it was fortunate the father-of-three did not hurt or kill more people during the incident.

Noori pleaded guilty to one count of murder, 11 counts of recklessly causing serious injury and five counts of conduct endangering life in 2019.

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