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  1. Anyone who even faintly followed the Northern Territory’s Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton case from the 80s will recognise the similarities.
    Both of these women were condemned on questionable forensic evidence.
    Both of them victims of the failure of legal fairness.
    One has been set free, the other has not ...

    Posted by Dr.John R.Wilson  on  16/02/15  at  06:56 AM
  2. comment deleted

    Posted by Mark  on  16/02/15  at  07:33 AM
  3. Thank you Lynn for a different perspective on the case, which only backs up the flaws in the circumstantial case made against Sue.

    #2, reading the transcript simply reminds one of the circumstantial nature of the evidence. No hard proof of murder was presented to the court, only Tim Ellis’s imagined constructions on that circumstantial evidence. I wasn’t at the hearing, Lynn was and her observations based on body language of both defendant and witnesses for the prosecution add an extra dimension to her interpretation of what likely happened.

    The law does get things wrong occasionally, even on appeal, as Lindy Chamberlain discovered. There must be better grounds for proving innocence than the circumstantial discovery of the baby’s jacket. Hopefully the Attorney General is working on such a mechanism, a la S. Australia and the UK.

    Posted by John Biggs  on  16/02/15  at  09:24 AM
  4. “There is a photograph of Sue standing outside the Royal Tasmanian Yacht Club after having lunch with Bob Chappell’s sister, Anne. When I look at Sue in that photo, I find it impossible to think I am looking at a person who plans, in a few hours, to return to a yacht and murder her partner.”
    This is the same photograph that police used to prove Susan Neill-Fraser lied to them about a mysterious injury to her hand and wrist that occurred on the afternoon or evening of the murder.
    Neill-Fraser told police she had injured herself several days earlier, but the photo clearly showed her hand and wrist unmarked and unbandaged, just minutes before she became the last person to see Bob Chappell alive.
    The next morning, when police became involved in the investigation of the sinking Four Winds, it was noted that Neill-Fraser had a bandage on her wrist and a cut on her hand.
    With regards to the reason for Neill-Fraser’s odd behaviour, I think Sir Walter Scott summed it up best:

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practise to deceive.”

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  16/02/15  at  11:30 AM
  5. “If I had killed a person, would I tell the police that, just before the person disappeared, he was “snapping at me like a crocodile”?  I think not; I would be making out that all was ‘lovey-dovey’ between the two of us.”

    Fascinating self-analysis by the author!

    Posted by Mark  on  16/02/15  at  02:27 PM
  6. #5 Perilously close to an anonymous personal reflection, Mark.

    You should probably use your full name for those sort of comments. It’s only fair.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  16/02/15  at  07:02 PM
  7. Ben,#4, people in the kitchen, women in particular, are forever nicking their fingers on knives and slapping on a bandaid to keep the blood out of the food. Sometimes we remove them, sometimes they wash off. I wouldn’t worry about a bandaid that one policeman saw, reported, but detectives didn’t bother to check it out. You’d likely need more than a bandaid after murdering somebody with a wrench or a screwdriver or “something’. I am still pondering the “something’.

    Sitting in court, what bowled me over was Mrs Zochling being arrested and brought into court because she hadn’t appeared as a witness. She hadn’t appeared, she later told the court, because she had written to the prosecutor, hand-delivered her letter to his office, explaining that, having seen a picture of Susan Neill-Fraser, she realised she had the wrong woman, she was not the lady she had seen arguing with Mr Chappell on the beach. She stood up in court and clearly said, “The lady in the box is not the lady I saw”. I thought, “Now we will get to the truth”, but the show rolled on.

    Outside court she pointed to Bob Chappell’s sister as the woman she saw. She had the wrong woman (Anne Sanchez) on the wrong day (25th). Yet in his cross-examination of Sue, the prosecutor said, “and so when Mrs Zochling, his patient ... saw him and another woman they seemed to be arguing, that would most likely be you, berating him about overfilling the dinghy”. He was looking for “a possible source of friction, possibly fatal source of friction, between the accused and Mr Chappell”.

    It seemed to me, sitting in court, the truth slipped by the wayside.

    Ben, don’t worry about a bandaid, people who work in the kitchen are frequently looking for one and they haven’t even killed the chook they are roasting.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  17/02/15  at  09:31 AM
  8. I regret that I did not attend the trial and find Lyn’s intuitive approach an interesting one worth reflecting on.
    From the point of view of people who know a bit about yachting, my husband and I do not believe it would have been possible for Sue to have single-handedly disposed of a body in the way the prosecutor described. We are told conditions that night were choppy which would have made the task even more impossible for a lone middle-aged woman.
    Telling a lie and “odd behaviour” may not be endearing to the jury but they don’t mean you are guilty of murder. I think it was largely Lindy Chamberlain’s unusual behaviour in the eyes of the public that wrongly convicted her.
    Lyn sums up the case well in her last sentence. How could you be convinced beyond reasonable doubt?

    Posted by Alex Tanner  on  17/02/15  at  11:02 AM
  9. Despite all the subjective inferences on could make from the transcript, there is still nowhere near sufficient evidence to convict anyone beyond reasonable doubt. 

    The judgment seems to arrive from the judge’s insistence that he is the law, rather than an interpreter of it. It’s not an isolated occurrence.

    John Hayward

    Posted by john hayward  on  17/02/15  at  02:45 PM
  10. #4 Ben: When a person is missing believed murdered, police should investigate those close and if they see suspicious injuries, they should take photos. It was WEEKS later when the so called bandaid became an issue reported by police and a 1-2cm cut was reported (note that on a small-average woman this is a very big cut).

    Weeks later one officer said he had called his superior officer at 9.30pm that 1st night Bob was missing to report the cut on Sue’s thumb. YET there is NO RECORD of that call. That superior officer saw Sue the very next morning to take a DNA buccal swab. IF he was alerted to this “1-2cm cut” the night before wouldn’t best practice policing or even minimal practice be to EXAMINE and PHOTOGRAPH that supposed cut.

    This is one of the many examples of a shocking miscarriage of justice, that perhaps could be unlocked if someone came forward with essential information. There is a reward of $30,000.

    Sue has been in jail for 2000+ days while Tasmanians argue Sue’s innocence/guilt. Meanwhile legal and forensic experts around Australia and overseas are SHOCKED by this disgusting miscarriage of justice.

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  17/02/15  at  03:00 PM
  11. #4 Ben, the bandage/bandaid proves what? supposedly it is seen in the photo, then let’s see a blow up of that. it is said a constable so concerned rang his senior officer, yet the senior officer wasn’t so concerned and made no written note about this. sue’s hands would have been in full view of many on the day and at times during interviews in close proximity to other police officers. rather than an “injury”, makes it sound very serious sue stated she often has used bandaids to cover scratches by her cats. common enough occurence. perhaps when the review back in court takes place of evidence in her case, there will be an opportunity for a medical assessment to locate a scar that could confirm if there had been a serious injury ie a cut. that and many other theories could either be confirmed or thrown out, interesting how the burden of proof instead of falling squarely on prosecution evidence, it has turned to Sue having to prove her innocence another flaw in the case.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  17/02/15  at  03:03 PM
  12. Is there an online petition I could sign?

    Posted by Dr.John R.Wilson  on  17/02/15  at  03:11 PM
  13. not only has the strangeness/mystery of the disappearance of Bob Chappell inspired so many theories and speculation in the court room and out,

    but has got many lawyers questioning,

    Posted by Rosemary  on  17/02/15  at  03:24 PM
  14. #12 There is an online petition with almost 1500 signatures- yes please sign and share it round!

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  17/02/15  at  03:48 PM
  15. I have read some of the transcript of the trial and am shocked that the prosecutor was able to ‘propose … a scenario’(to quote the judge) – a story the prosecutor (speculated) as to how Bob Chappell died, which included a description of the weapon – and that the judge in summing up for the jury said ‘… it’s not essential that you be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt as to the correctness of any or all of those propositions’. As no weapon, no witness and no body have been found, it seems to me unlikely that the prosecutor’s story is correct. Yet a woman has been sentenced to 26 years imprisonment, and already served 2000 days. I think it is time for an inquiry.

    Posted by Sue Headley  on  17/02/15  at  04:31 PM
  16. #12. Dr Wilson, try

    You should be able to click on a petition there.
    Thanks for your interest.
    Lynn Giddings

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  17/02/15  at  04:43 PM
  17. Congratulations to Lynn Giddings on an article worthy of reading.

    I didn’t know Sue, and didn’t live in Hobart at the time of the trial, but I have since read about it and listened to those with first-hand knowledge of Sue and Bob. I find it deeply troubling. How Sue can be guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ is beyond my comprehension. Bob is, as I understand it, still on the missing persons list. What is worrying for us all, is that it seems that this sort of scenario could happen to any one of us caught in similar circumstances after the death of a loved one: dazed, confused, in shock, relying on the police for support in the search for truth, but in fact transformed without basis into a suspect.

    I understand that the State Government is planning to write legislation similar to some recently enacted in South Australia that will facilitate a criminal review process in Tasmania where new evidence comes to light. This seems essential, and truly worrying that we don’t have such a process here already.

    I have also heard it said that Labor and the Greens are in favour of such legislation, so I call on the Attorney-General to expedite the writing of this legislation as a matter of extreme priority – not just for Sue Neill-Fraser, but for the protection of us all.

    Remember: if this happened to Sue, it could happen to you.

    Posted by Melanie Roome  on  17/02/15  at  09:18 PM
  18. Thank you, Mrs.Giddings (4.43) and Eve (3.48).
    It’s good to know that Susan has friends.
    Never give up.

    Posted by Dr.John R.Wilson  on  18/02/15  at  07:21 AM
  19. Anyone who is comfortable with the verdict of ‘guilty’ without reasonable doubt should sleep well and relax. But please don’t argue against a re-examination of the trial, in which several rules of law were broken by the prosecution (in my view), most notably the speculation about the cause of death, when Mr Chappell’s body has never been found. It’s absurd. What a catastrophic failure of the criminal justice system in Tasmania.

    Posted by Andrew L. Urban  on  18/02/15  at  12:00 PM
  20. Much public discussion has occurred, some of it informed based on (i) knowledge of matters, or (ii) reading the trial transcript.

    At times, I noticed that Keystone Cops was alive and well. Thus other commentary was / is uninformed, which I find annoying and insensitive insofar as both Bob Chappell (deceased?) and Susan Neil-Fraser are human beings. They have family and loved ones.

    What is apparent to me is that of those who have opined, very few sat though the Supreme Court trial as did you, Lynn.  A bit like reading the transcript of the movie compared with watching it; incomparable in my view.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  18/02/15  at  02:48 PM
  21. I limit my comment “on the legal or forensic issues” to — there are blatant blunders and indeed seriously questionable procedures in the modus-operandi (mo) of both Tasmanian Police and ODPP prosecution. That is an informed observation based on my personal experience with and knowledge of, both arms of criminal prosecution.

    Comparing my real-life experiences with certain details (published, private informed discussions, film, trial transcript and trustworthy blogs) as they relate to the SNF conviction, the dubious investigation / prosecution process common-denominators are disquieting and intolerable, most especially when a Supreme Court Criminal trial was imminent together with the possibility of an innocent person being convicted.

    Every Tasmanian ought feel frightened and seriously concerned, as do I.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  18/02/15  at  03:10 PM
  22. Re #5 I apologise to Lynn for any offence. I understood what Lynn meant, but was snarky regardless. I thank Ben for pulling me up. *Moderator, I am happy for my comment to be removed.

    Posted by mark (no secret) hawkes  on  18/02/15  at  07:52 PM
  23. #19 Andrew, Tasmanian prosecution practices are (considered by me) to be dubious ... in order to achieve a successful prosecution, at any cost.

    Worse still, and but for a few objections, that deplorable state of affairs is (in my opinion) tolerated both within and outside the justice system.

    I write Tasmanian because I know of awful deviations from duty to the court etc. Nevertheless, undoubtedly this misconduct is not limited to this state. That is verified by relatively recent overturned convictions in other states.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  18/02/15  at  07:57 PM
  24. #23 yes of course, sadly Tas isn’t unique in failures of the system. My research shows it is a broad problem and that is distressing for Australian democracy.

    Posted by Andrew L Urban  on  18/02/15  at  09:19 PM
  25. Lynn Giddings wrote about Barbara Zochling following her death in November last year, seemingly prompted by her singular and rather sad death notice, posted by a funeral home.

    Mrs Giddings acknowledged that she had never actually spoken to Ms Zochling, but then went on to say she believed Zochling to be “a woman with a sense of responsibility and duty”. Based on intuition, I guess.

    In actual fact, Barbara Zochling had to be arrested and compelled to give evidence in Sue Neill-Fraser’s trial. On her first appearance following her arrest, she argued with the judge and was subsequently ejected from the courtroom. On her second appearance she wore a nautically-themed tracksuit, and tried to change her statement while giving evidence, as mentioned by Lynn above.

    Greg James, a publican who actually knew Ms Zochling, posted a comment (#2) on Lynn’s article strongly implying that Zochling was a pathological liar, and describing her as a violent fraud. His comment included the following:

    “If Barbara was capable of telling the truth I would be amazed.”

    “If Barbara told me it was daylight I would go to the window and check.”

    “Barbara was banned from all the waterfront hotels, for mostly dishonesty and plain violent trouble making.”

    If Barbara Zochling was a police officer or a witness for the prosecution, she would have been torn down long ago by the nit-picking defence adopted by Sue Neill-Fraser’s supporters.

    Have a look at #10 and #11 for textbook examples of this technique - ignoring the fact that Neill-Fraser did suffer mysterious injuries to her hand and wrist on the night of the murder, and instead hooking into some weird debate on procedural police issues about the reporting of that fact.

    Ask yourself, when was the last time you injured your wrist and cut your hand so badly that you required a bandage and a Band-Aid, and then forget entirely how, where, and when you did it?

    It’s an absurd proposition, like so many other elements of Neill-Fraser’s defence.

    Susan Neill-Fraser has yet to provide an adequate explanation about the cause of the injuries to her hand and wrist, much like the jacket she left on the waterfront and then denied was hers, and her mysterious trip back to the boat in the dead of night. All of which occurred on the night of the murder.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  18/02/15  at  11:17 PM
  26. Lynn, for you to spell out your observations and feelings is admirable. My suspicion is that sticking your neck out, so to speak is not stress-free; undoubtedly criticism would follow.

    You appear to know SNF far better than “the trial judge”. I trust the credibility of observations and feelings-from the-heart, as you describe. I get it, when you write about Sue that you “believe she has been naive and foolish”.

    Reflecting on my personal experiences to which I have intermittently referred over several years, I witnessed a similar gullibility and lack of caution (by the accused) towards a system in which citizens are led to believe they can place trust.

    As it did for you, the defendants’ unwariness increased my belief in their innocence. After a Supreme Court trial, that confidence pushed me to further depths of investigation that uncovered shocking facts of impropriety and cover-up in the processes leading up to trial. Appalling!

    But, as in the SNF trial, it was too late after the objective of those players in pursuit of seeking more ticks-on-their ‘successful prosecution by whatever it takes’ board, became a reality; “guilty” your honour.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  19/02/15  at  08:01 AM
  27. #24 Andrew my rhetorical question is why is ‘the system’ turning a blind-eye to the unacceptable and undemocratic mo?

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  19/02/15  at  08:23 AM
  28. As a sailor (yachtie) of 35 years experience I can also witness that there’s no way SNF could have got a body up and out from the interior of the yacht as described in her prosecution.

    This case is astonishing.  There are so many points on which plausible doubt exists, in so many reasonable and intelligent minds - a prima facie basis in law for at least a re-trial - yet no-one seems to be bothered that there may be an innocent woman losing nearly half a precious lifetime locked away.

    Posted by Dave Abbott  on  19/02/15  at  01:23 PM
  29. #27 Dunno Geraldine, but it seems to me the spirit of Salem witch trials is alive and well, with aggressively irrational and uninformed commentary whipping up a case where one doesn’t exist. A murder conviction requires evidence of murder. Of murder, I stress. How can we even begin without a body?

    Posted by Andrew L Urban  on  19/02/15  at  01:54 PM
  30. #29. Quite easily, in Tasmania, as is evidenced in the subject matter of this discussion.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  19/02/15  at  02:01 PM
  31. Lynn — my answer to your question is no, when you ask, “Would a person who had killed someone give eight hours of interview, over two sessions, to a group of detectives at a police station, and twice decline the presence of a lawyer?” Because they, the citizen who has never before walked the criminal interrogation path believes ‘the system’ will do what is right, they trust that if they tell the truth, all will be well.

    Isn’t that how we all thought, before we came to know the reality of how imperfect the criminal system of [in] justice is? Appears to be precisely how Sue thought as you deduce from “watching the record of these interviews in court”. Why would she think any different?

    Conversely, Sue is promptly co-operative as her logic would tell her — the more helpful she is, the more likely the police would be able to perhaps establish what happened to Bob. That apparently was her paramount concern. Totally normal reaction, reasoning and behaviour, in my opinion.

    Susan Neil-Fraser’s confusion and grief at the time, is unthinkable. I think I would be shocked out of my brain.

    In spite of Sue’s best effort to answer frankly,  it was only when it was too late the penny dropped for her and in all probability her family too, that (i) she was directly in the police target line and, (ii) she had shot herself “in the foot and has some of her answers turned against her”. Aaaah and ouch! She realises SNF is the answer to their who-dunnit questions!

    I need go no further than quote Wikipedia:-
    “A whodunit or whodunnit (for “Who [has] done it?” or “Who did it?”) is a complex, plot-driven variety of the detective story in which the audience is given the opportunity to engage in the same process of deduction as the protagonist throughout the investigation of a crime. The reader or viewer is provided with the clues from which the identity of the perpetrator may be deduced before the story provides the revelation itself at its climax. The investigation is usually conducted by an eccentric, amateur, or semi-professional detective”.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  19/02/15  at  02:11 PM
  32. Re #28 that’s interesting Dave. I’ve heard other yachties say that as soon as they heard Neill-Fraser had left Bob Chappell on the boat overnight with no tender, they knew she had killed him. Because no experienced yachtie would ever leave a vulnerable person alone overnight on a vessel with no tender.

    And you should be aware that Neill-Fraser was extremely adept with ropes and pulleys, and that fresh rub marks were found around the cockpit that fit the pattern of a pulley rig being used in conjunction with the nearby hand-winch to lift something heavy out of the cabin.

    Interestingly, before Neill-Fraser was a suspect police took her onto the yacht for a look around to see if anything had been obviously disturbed. Despite being clearly instructed not to touch anything on the yacht, Neill-Fraser very deliberately grabbed the handle of the winch while onboard.

    It’s worth mentioning that no one piece of evidence is damning, but that the weight of all the evidence is extremely damning.

    I’ve spoken to a number of people who were either involved in the trial, or who know people who were closely involved in the trial, and they all say the same thing.

    They all believe Neill-Fraser is guilty because of the huge volume of evidence against her, much of it given by complete strangers with absolutely nothing to gain from telling lies, capped off by the serial lies told by Neill-Fraser herself about her whereabouts, clothing, injuries, relationship status, and so on and so on. You name it, she lied about it.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  19/02/15  at  06:03 PM
  33. #32 Ben, is “You name it, she lied about it” accurate, or loose talk?

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  19/02/15  at  07:26 PM
  34. #32 “I’ve heard other yachties say that as soon as they heard Neill-Fraser had left Bob Chappell on the boat overnight with no tender, they knew she had killed him. Because no experienced yachtie would ever leave a vulnerable person alone overnight on a vessel with no tender.”

    Oh please. That’s exactly the level of “evidence” that we’re fighting against. Gossip and circumstantial.

    “It’s worth mentioning that no one piece of evidence is damning, but that the weight of all the evidence is extremely damning.”

    aka circumstantial. This is the level of gossip peddling that did for Lindy Chamberlain. Nothing you have said makes a case against SNF that is “beyond reasonable doubt” as required by law. .

    Posted by John Biggs  on  20/02/15  at  08:34 AM
  35. #22, Mark, in reference to my #5 comment, I accept your apology graciously but was not offended by it. When I wrote those words, I knew I’d get a bite from someone along those lines. It came from the fact that for 18 years in Tasmania, and longer before that in Papua New Guinea, I have worked with the Justice System.

    Of the 18 years in Tasmania, I was both a probation and parole officer and for over 5 years of that time, I was the first female welfare officer employed in the male prison at Risdon.

    Over the years I have talked to hundreds of offenders, some of them murderers, taken them on pre-release shopping trips into Hobart CBD. I think I have some clues how people in strife react. Sue was ‘in strife’, but because she was innocent, she told the truth.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  20/02/15  at  12:05 PM
  36. Mark, in relation to my response to your #22, I should have added that over the years, many, many times I sat in the lower courts with a pre-sentence report. Sometimes I felt the sentence was a bit tough, sometimes I marvelled that someone got a slap over the wrist, but not once did I think a Magistrate punished an innocent person, never once did I think a Magistrate got it WRONG.

    When I worked in the prison, only one person on a charge of murder claimed he was innocent, that the verdict was wrong. At the time I felt he couldn’t take it on the chin like the others, but having sat through the trial of Susan Neill-Fraser, I think he may have been an innocent person in prison. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes: put yourself in prison on a horrendous charge for something you didn’t do.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  20/02/15  at  12:37 PM
  37. Ben, I am catching up with what you wrote on 18/2/15,your #25.

    Yes I read #2 on the thread after my obituary to Barbara Zochling following her death in November last year. I also read #1 which was full of praise for her. I cannot comment on either, but I can comment on her presence in the trial. You can put any slant you like on situations. When I read #2 I thought “Well that might be why she was treated so roughly by the court, perhaps they knew her from court cases of her own, but why then, would the Crown chose such an unreliable and supposedly ‘unworthy’ person as a Crown witness?

    She said in court that, on seeing a picture of Sue, she realised she had seen a different woman so she wrote to the prosecutor and told him she would not come to court, and she hand-delivered the letter. When she didn’t get a phone call from him, she assumed it was accepted that she didn’t have to come. Hence she wss arrested for not answering her summons to appear. When she returned to court, she was taken through the statement she had made to police around the time of Bob Chappell’s disappearance. She could only say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and was given no opportunity by the prosecutor to enlarge on what happened to change her mind. Under cross-examination from the defense counsel, we learned that she had seen a news report and that the woman in the photo was definitely not the same woman she had seen walking behind Bob Chappell on the morning of Australia Day. And she was right, she had seen Bob’s sister, Caroline Anne Sanchez, the day before. Wrong woman on the wrong day. I understand that when Mrs Sanchez realised she had been mistaken for Sue, she spoke to the Inspector about it, but nothing was done to correct the information that the members of the jury received.

    I’m not much interested historically in her previous misdemeanors - I gathered something was wrong in her life that the obituary notice was so sadly simple - no other names mentioned, no condolences to family members. For me it boils down to the fact, she was deemed credible to be a crown witness, it seems she had the wrong woman on the wrong day, nothing was done to clarify this situation, and the jury were led to believe Sue was probably berating Bob on the beach that day.

    I have been told that you are a very nice man, Ben, and that we should meet over a cup of coffee sometime. I’d be willing to do that, because I do wonder where you are coming from when you appear so determined to ‘nail’ Sue.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  20/02/15  at  01:26 PM
  38. interesting #32 you have Bob as a vulnerable person, rather he was fit and strong and confident enough to swim to shore if necessary, unless of course should the unthinkable occurr of foul play. there was no proof of sue neill fraser returning to the yacht in the night ofJan 26 th 2009, only a theory. as time goes by theories somehow turn magically into facts in this case.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  20/02/15  at  02:14 PM
  39. Lynn, in the lead article you posed a few questions that I have paraphrased somewhat.

    “If I had killed a person, would I tell the police about
    (i) Bob “snapping at me like a crocodile”?  and,
    (ii) would SNF tell Bob’s sister that, “she told a lie to the police ... because she was trying to protect a step-daughter”?
    Yep, no other phrase comes to mind than understandable SNF naïveté.

    Digressing — as for the “Off the record” confession of her “...‘lie’ to an ABC journalist who then told Detective Inspector Peter Powell”, I’m still drawing breath on that one. I thought there was an unwritten journalists’ confidentiality understanding? Seems I thought wrongly.

    Addressing your specific question: “If I had killed someone, would I tell that person’s sister I was near the scene of the crime?” worse still, would I tell a journalist?”
    Having never murdered anyone, I can’t say for sure. I hypothesise that if I did, I suspect I would for the most part be guarded about admitting anything that could go towards suggesting I dunit.

    “Had Sue been planning to kill her partner, would she simultaneously be planning to visit Bob’s sister with a new boyfriend?”
    Eliza Doolittle — ‘Not bloody likely’ comes to mind here.

    Like you Lynn, I “find it impossible” to believe the Crown-created story of SNF being a murderer.

    “With no body, no weapon, no eye witness and no plausible motive, how could any jury find Susan Neill-Fraser guilty BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT?”
    Lynn, again from personal experience (I have sat on a jury on 3 separate occasions), undesirably and terrifyingly, juries are not distinguished for (i) possessing an in-built ‘bullshit’ detector, and (ii) having a reasonable comprehension of “guilty BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT”. 

    Furthermore, it is a recognised fact that no judge will go too far in explaining it, for fear of providing grounds for appeal by erring in (over)instructing the jury.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  20/02/15  at  03:33 PM
  40. corpus delicti

    1. The basic premise, there is a true fact, that a murder occurred.

    It is only then reasonable to presume a perpetrator exists for the crime.

    However, what I heard as I sat in the SUPREME COURT in 2010, was a process that showed how suspicious Sue’s actions were. How cold, deceitful and calculated she was. And I heard the court actively dismissing the logical relevance of evidence indicating the possible involvement of others. I was lead to belief by the court that a presumptive luminol test for blood in a dingy is good enough in itself to lead to a fact.

    In the end, the whole court concluded, that given enough suspicion, then this equates to proving a murder must have occurred.

    Presently, the evidence that indicated serious suspicion continues to be eroded, and the “logic” that “proved” no other possible alternative could reasonably exist other than Sue murdered Bob continues to be shown to be contradictory, factually inaccurate, and hence logically invalid.

    2000+ days, and still in prison…

    Posted by Ben Dean  on  21/02/15  at  09:12 PM
  41. Ben Dean, re your comment #40, I think there is an alternate possibility to murder, and that is manslaughter.
    Without a dinghy attached to the yacht anyone, be it homeless people, or drug traffickers,or someone with a grudge, would think the yacht had no-one on board. I think this is more likely than pre-meditated murder. A person, or persons, has surprised Bob and surprised themselves. He might have been asleep when they boarded. He could have died of a heart attack or an injury from a fight.
    I find it hard to believe that Sue crept up from behind with a wrench, or a “screwdriver, or something”, and he didn’t look around because he recognised her footsteps and she murdered him with some weapon that obviously had no blood or DNA on it to become a potent exhibit. The DPP was truly being honest when he said, “I don’t know”.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  23/02/15  at  02:55 PM
  42. Dear All - without a body, the cause of death cannot be established. Without a cause of death it is impossible to know what happened. The Crown would not normally initiate proceedings on a charge of murder in such cases.

    Posted by Andrew L. Urban  on  23/02/15  at  04:06 PM
  43. Andrew #29 & #42. Are you really comparing Susan Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction to the Salem witch trials?

    Come on.

    If you actually believe what you’re saying about the lack of a body and cause of death, why aren’t you campaigning for Bradley Murdoch’s release?

    He was convicted of murder with no body and no cause of death, and the key witness had a possible motive (having recently had an affair).

    He appealed repeatedly, and they all failed.

    And he’s got his own innocence supporter, who wrote a book saying Murdoch’s conviction all came down to police misinvestigations, cover-ups, and incompetence.

    The book “reveals the show trial in which the jury was lied to and pressure-cooked resulting in a shocking miscarriage of justice [and] contains warnings about corrupt cops, kangaroo courts, and the official disregard for Truth and Justice in the Northern Territory”.

    Sounds very familiar, doesn’t it.

    So why not? Why not go into bat for Bradley John Murdoch?

    Is it gender, class, or appearance?

    I think its all three, but not all murderers are scary looking bastards. Some of them look like little old ladies.

    [The book quotes are here: ]

    John #34, you seem to have missed that I was responding to an equally anecdotal and circumstantial comment. I didn’t notice you pulling that one up.

    Lynn #37, thanks for your considered response.

    I think the best thing I can say is this:

    I believe a travesty of justice would occur if Susan Neill-Fraser was set free, just as you believe a travesty of justice has occurred with her conviction.

    There’s no conspiracy, just divergent beliefs.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  24/02/15  at  08:37 PM
  44. all miscarriages of Justice have similarities, #43 and there does exist many other cases worthy to fight for other than Sue’s but that does not diminish Sue’s. Bob Moles, eminent legal academic and expert on miscarriages of Justice having reviewed over 400 of them around the world has described Sue’s verdict as the worst miscarriage of Justice he has seen. Those in attendance were astonished at the proceedings. Those of us following it in the news and reading the transcript are equally astonished that it was even accepted for prosecution on such flimsy evidence.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  24/02/15  at  10:22 PM
  45. #43 ‘witch hunt’ - a phrase used to economically describe the irrational, emotionally driven pursuit of a person where there is no proof ...i.e.the Salem with hunts. I am referring to the continuing ‘witch hunt’ in which the hunters have no proof of a murder but nevertheless insist Neill-Fraser is guilty of it. That is the antithesis of a healthy and reliable justice system. That is what I characterise as a ‘witch hunt’.

    The trial was just the start.

    As for the case of Bradley Murdoch, I am not conversant with it. I became engaged in the Neill-Fraser case in the course of my role as a film critic, after reviewing the Eve Ash documentary, Shadow of Doubt. I have since researched the case in detail as I believe the conviction is unsafe and the matter should be referred back to an appeals court.
    There are several reasons why her trial was riddled with errors of law -  even “The judge’s summing up was in breach of legal rules and was seriously prejudicial,” according to legal academic Dr Bob Moles.

    Here is an overview:

    There are several instances where initial appeals - and even leave to appeal to the High Court - failed, before a successful appeal revealed the truth. EG Henry Keogh, Lindy Chamberlain..

    Posted by Andrew L. Urban  on  25/02/15  at  08:09 AM
  46. Andrew #45, adding to your list off the top of my head, Andrew Mallard, Mickelberg brothers, John Button and Graham Stafford. The list is far more extensive, but these more recent ones immediately spring to my mind.

    Let’s never forget the at times, similar processes leading up to the convictions of the Guilford Four and Birmingham Six, in order to gain a conviction

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  25/02/15  at  09:55 AM
  47. Bias = “a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived”.

    The reality of this whole situation is that the author of this article has an association with Ms Neill Fraser and sat through her trial with a particular bias.  The filmmaker of Shadow of a Doubt also had an association with the family and, not surprisingly, the film depicts Ms Neill Fraser as innocent.  Mr Urban, with little knowledge of the case, reviewed that film before becoming an advocate for Ms Neill Fraser.

    It is interesting that the police case was reviewed independently by the Office of the DPP before Ms Neill Fraser was even charged.  Yet the supporters of Ms Neill Fraser dredge up the spectre of “bias” on the part of the police.

    46 - Anyone who has knowledge of the criminal justice system knows of cases of travesties of justice, but let’s not forget it was clear in cases such as the Guildford Four and the Mickelberg stitch that the authorities did the wrong thing.  There is no such evidence in the case of Ms Neill Fraser.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  01/03/15  at  04:44 PM
  48. #47 What, bias like the absence of evidence of murder? Like the absence of the body? Like the absence of keeping to the basic rule of law at trial? Nothing matters except the proof that has not been led to the court. No obfuscation and side tracking will hide that fact.

    Posted by Andrew L Urban  on  01/03/15  at  06:12 PM
  49. #47 John re bias — I declare I have no previous association with SNF, Mr Urban, and Eve Ash or to my knowledge any of SNF supporters.

    My zealous and particular interest is in Tasmanian justice. I hold an abhorrence for and intolerance of, injustice anywhere.

    Having knowledge of and experience with Tasmania Police and ODPP (team prosecutorial) most serious wrongdoing — causing grave injustice, I rebut your attempt to limit allegations of wrongdoing as it relates to investigative and trial processes as being only associated to the Guildford Four and the Mickelberg stitch. 

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  01/03/15  at  06:40 PM
  50. And another thing: QCs, lawyers, legal academics, journalists and general public are concerned that the conviction is unsafe. All they want is an independent court of appeal to review the case. That is the proper legal course.

    Posted by Andrew L Urban  on  01/03/15  at  07:43 PM
  51. I am with you Ben @4 @25, The court brought down the correct judgement.

    Posted by Andrew Everts  on  01/03/15  at  10:39 PM
  52. 48 - Absence of evidence of murder?  Here we go again.  There was plenty of evidence to establish that fact.  Even Ms Neill Fraser accepted Mr Chappell was dead.  Blood on the boat, sinking of the boat.

    Absence of keeping to the basic rule of law at trial.  That is your opinion and funnily enough a Court of Criminal Appeal didn’t find it that way.  But hey what would they know?

    50 Some QCs, some lawyers, a legal academic and some journalists have expressed concerns about the conviction.  The general public??  What evidence is that the general public are concerned?  There are some people in the community concerned and hardly a surprise that some take notice of the conspiracy theories.  49 is a prime example.  There are many others who can see why the verdict was given.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  02/03/15  at  05:17 AM
  53. #52. I take offence at your remark “49 is a prime example”.

    Rather than using the word “conspiracy”, when referring to both Tas Police & ODPP as the relate to prosecutorial misconduct and wrongdoing, my preference is to stay with FACTS.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  02/03/15  at  06:25 AM
  54. #52 There was no evidence at all to establish murder. If you do not have the victim’s body you can’t establish cause of death or manner of death. That is a fact.

    Posted by Andrew L. Urban  on  02/03/15  at  07:39 AM
  55. John Dodd, #47 and bias. We, who support an
    inquiry into the unsafe verdict in this case, and who knew Sue Neill-Fraser, were friends of Sue, or in someway had an association with Sue,could ask of those who are so convinced that Sue murdered Bob,that justice was done, might declare if they know, are friends, or in someway have an association with the Chappell family and might have their own reasons for bias.
    I would like to say, Mr Dodd, that I went to the trial with an open mind, as did my husband, a former magistrate in Papua New Guinea. My first shock came when Barbara Zochling told the court that the ‘lady in the box’ was not the lady she saw arguing with Bob Chappell on the beach; the second came when a detective was being cross-examined about a homeless girl. Surprisingly, what we heard was deemed as hearsay evidence and inadmissible, but it did NOT have that girl safely tucked up in bed in a women’s shelter on that night. And I could go on. As Ben Lohberger said in #43, ‘There’s no conspiracy, just divergent beliefs’.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  02/03/15  at  01:49 PM
  56. 54 - Interesting “fact” since there have been many convictions around the world where the body wasn’t found.  On that basis murderers just make sure the body can’t be found.  Better inform the professionals involved that they got it wrong based on your “fact”.

    53 - It is up to you if you take offence.  I’m glad your interested in justice, but just because you prefer the argument provided by defenders of Ms Neill Fraser that doesn’t mean other people aren’t.  Justice is about coming to the right decision.  Your belief is that the right decision wasn’t made - that doesn’t make your belief right and that an actual injustice occurred.

    55.  Divergent beliefs - Yes and by all means have a review based on new evidence.  However it is clearly still under debate that new evidence exists.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  02/03/15  at  04:09 PM
  57. #55, Furthermore Lyn, perhaps those who ardently oppose supporters’  claims of prosecution-team wrongdoing and believe in SNF guilt, might “… declare if they know, are friends, or in someway have an association with …” Tasmania Police or ODPP officers involved in the matters of concern as intermittently exposed and vigorously discussed.

    If so, they too “have their own reasons for bias”.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  02/03/15  at  04:28 PM
  58. +54 Yes, other convictions where the body wasn’t found include Lindy Chamberlain.

    Posted by Andrew L. Urban  on  02/03/15  at  04:44 PM
  59. Come on John Dodd!

    Evidence?  Suggestion is not (in my book) evidence.

    You wrote “Absence of evidence of murder?  Here we go again.  There was plenty of evidence to establish that fact.”

    And then

    1.You wrote “Even Ns Neill Fraser accepted Mr Chappell was dead”  John, I accept that he is dead, but does that make me his murderer?

    2.You wrote“blood on the boat” as if blood on a boat owned and sailed by a nose-bleeder was indicative of a murder and/or that the murderer was SN-F.

    3.Your wrote “sinking of the boat ” when in my opinion the bald fact that a boat was sunk is not evidence that it was SN-F who sank it.

    4.You wrote “...funnily enough a Court of Criminal Appeal didn’t find it that way.  But hey what would they know?  Nice racy lingo, but the judge’s refusal to allow the homeless girl to be recalled to explain how it was she wasn’t where she said she was on the night – given that her DNA was found on the boat – amounts (in my opinion) to an MOJ … Miscarriage of Justice.

    5.Your last line of argument is negligible:  You quibbled over whether the ‘general public’ is concerned by her plight.  As it the general public’s concern is some barometer of the truth and justice of the case. You wrote “There are many others who can see why the verdict was given.” Indeed.  But they might well be wearing ‘virtual-reality’ glasses.  It seems you have mounted an ‘argument-by-numbers’ case.  Successful as it might prove to be to the general ‘hoi polloi’, it does not convince a modest number of Tasmanians (including myself and some from further afield) that justice has been done. 

    Is the worth of an argument demonstrated by a show of hands?

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  02/03/15  at  04:50 PM
  60. Thanks Garry #59 for taking time and effort — and effort it is, to respond to John Dodd. You have restored some sense to the discussion.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  02/03/15  at  05:00 PM
  61. 57 - Answer: Why a jury was used in the first place - to avoid bias.

    58 - Touche - but your point is mute as there are a number of overturned convictions where a body was found.  Do you agree with the conviction of Bruce Burrell??  The conviction of Bradly Murdoch and I could go on.

    59(1) - No - not on that evidence alone and no one said that alone makes a murderer
    59(2) - Refer 59(1)
    59(3) - refer 59(1)
    59(4) - A statement by you - MOJ is your opinion - there is no actual general acceptance that this was an MOJ - only select people are saying it is a MOJ.
    59(5) - A show of hands - no god help us if that ever occurs.  No one is saying the case should be judged by numbers and that is not what I said.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  02/03/15  at  05:12 PM
  62. #59, 1, 2 & 3 That’s an interesting response Garry, but I’m not sure you know that when Neill-Fraser accepted Bob Chappell was deceased, it was in the context of there being blood in the yacht and the vessel being found sinking.

    As for point 5, supporters of Susan Neill-Fraser have been mounting a PR campaign for some time now, in an effort to drum up enough support to pressure politicians into releasing Neill-Fraser, or at the very least re-opening her case and going through her trial yet again.

    It is these people who are playing the popularity game, Garry, and while you are spot-on in observing this isn’t a popularity contest, you seem to be ignoring the fact that John Dodd was responding to Andrew (#50), who was claiming the “general public” supports his view.

    I support John Dodd’s right to query the descent into populist campaigning, and in response to #50 I’d also note that following the most recent rally (at which Bob Dylan’s song, Hurricane, copped a hammering), the only published photos were of the speakers, because the ‘crowd’ was negligible to say the least.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  02/03/15  at  06:18 PM
  63. #62 Ben, there has been no denial of some blood on the yacht, a surprisingly minimal amount for a murder that may have involved a wrench, or a knife, or a screwdriver, “or something”, but nothing worthy of being an exhibit with blood on it. Most people, who have shown interest in this case,know by now that Bob Chappell was subject to nose bleeds, was hospitalised on the Gold Coast and did not continue the trip to Hobart on the yacht because of it. Perhaps Sue accepted Bob was deceased because of the sabotage of the boat, not the blood.

    An important piece of DNA was not pursued, that is a dark hair on the red jacket. Both Sue and the homeless girl had dark hair at that time. That could have been very helpful and lessened the need for this controversy.

    You are right to say that supporters of Susan Neill-Fraser have been mounting a PR campaign, but we prefer to call it PP, ‘People Power’, our democracy and freedom of speech at work.

    We are not playing any popularity game but you are right that we want the matter back in court, and we have to play politics because once the Petition is in the hands of the Attorney-General, it is in the political arena. That is why we are campaigning for a Criminal Case Review Commission so it is out of the political and back in the judicial arena where it belongs. That is why we are saying, ‘Justice for Sue is Justice for Tasmania’, because such a Commission would benefit, not just Sue, but the State of Tasmania, so there is no future need for the controversy we are now experiencing that is dividing this little community.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  03/03/15  at  07:47 AM
  64. #56 “Justice is about coming to the right decision.  Your belief is that the right decision wasn’t made - that doesn’t make your belief right and that an actual injustice occurred.”

    Justice is also about due process being followed as the means of obtaining the right decision. The controversy is not about innocence or guilt but that there were serious flaws in the process followed that calls into question the rightness of the decision. Thus, the decision of guilt is not “beyond reasonable doubt”. There could have been several reasons for Chappell’s disappearance other than SNF’s guilt, but these were not followed up when they should have been had due process been followed.

    Posted by John Biggs  on  03/03/15  at  08:27 AM
  65. John Dodd (#52 & #61):  Thanks for your (#61) reply.  But it seems to me that you’ve grouped three matters together as if together they indicate guilt, while individually they don’t.  Your response to my #59…

    59(1) - No - not on that evidence alone and no one said that alone makes a murderer

    59(2) - Refer 59(1)

    59(3) - refer 59(1)

    lacks detail.  Are you saying that the boat being found sinking, then his blood being found on the boat and her after-the-fact acceptance of the fact/likelihood of his death, is collectively sufficient to establish guilt?  That would be too long a bow to draw.

    Maybe you were referring to other compelling evidence.  In that case would you mind stating it?  Meanwhile, I recall reading that circumstantial evidence should only lead to a guilty finding when there is no other possible explanation to account for a death etc.  Of course there are obvious scenarios which would account for his disappearance/death.  None of them were explored or eliminated at trial, and collectively, they all needed to be before SN-F’s trial could come to a conclusion of guilt.  That’s the law, in my opinion. 

    And in my opinion, the judge denied natural justice to the accused when he would not allow that young girl to be recalled to explain how it was she was not where she said she was on the night of Bob Chappel’s disappearance.  After all, her DNA was found on the boat.

    Were there some local homeless who thought maybe they could find something on the boat of value, but instead found Mr Chappel?  Was the yacht an unwitting transport for a drug shipment?  Such possible scenarios in my opinion should have been shown at trial as contradicted by facts.  It is my opinion that such scenarios weren’t ruled out.  And yet there was the ridiculous scenario – created by Tim Ellis ex-DPP and encouraged by the beak – of a hypothetical weapon, which could be described … a wrench … or some such thing … described hypothetically and then … smoke and mirrors … gaining existence by its suggestion. 

    Just in passing, comparisons to the Chamberlain case are valid to a degree.  As John Biggs points out (#34)...

    #32 “I’ve heard other yachties say that as soon as they heard Neill-Fraser had left Bob Chappell on the boat overnight with no tender, they knew she had killed him. Because no experienced yachtie would ever leave a vulnerable person alone overnight on a vessel with no tender.”

    -Oh please. That’s exactly the level of “evidence” that we’re fighting against. Gossip and circumstantial.

    “It’s worth mentioning that no one piece of evidence is damning, but that the weight of all the evidence is extremely damning.”

    aka circumstantial. This is the level of gossip peddling that did for Lindy Chamberlain. Nothing you have said makes a case against SNF that is “beyond reasonable doubt” as required by law. .

    Alex Tanner also made a similar point, earlier (#8)...

    Telling a lie and “odd behaviour” may not be endearing to the jury but they don’t mean you are guilty of murder. I think it was largely Lindy Chamberlain’s unusual behaviour in the eyes of the public that wrongly convicted her.
    Lyn sums up the case well in her last sentence. How could you be convinced beyond reasonable doubt?

    Last matters: 
    -I have to accept Ben’s telling me that I seemed

    to be ignoring the fact that John Dodd was responding to Andrew (#50), who was claiming the “general public” supports his view.

    ... Well yes, Andrew did sort of say that and possibly it was indeed an argument-by-numbers ambit.  But Ben, your #62 in closing seemed to adopt the same means yourself.

    -John Biggs most times ‘hits the spot’ for me, when he writes.  That’s not a demonstration that he is correct, informed or any such thing, but only that (subjectively) he is pretty good, and in the case of his (#64)

    Justice is also about due process being followed as the means of obtaining the right decision. The controversy is not about innocence or guilt but that there were serious flaws in the process followed that calls into question the rightness of the decision. Thus, the decision of guilt is not “beyond reasonable doubt”. There could have been several reasons for Chappell’s disappearance other than SNF’s guilt, but these were not followed up when they should have been had due process been followed.

    John Biggs comment is incisive.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  03/03/15  at  03:43 PM
  66. Gee Garry, I’m amazed to see you quoting John Biggs’ #34 as if it meant something, especially without including the comments it was related to, which provide much-needed context.

    I thought I was pretty clear in #43, but apparently not. 

    You also completely miss the point about the lack of “general public” attending the Neill-Fraser freedom rallies.

    Andrew Urban’s opinion is that the general public supports the cause, but the actual evidence (ie the photos) shows otherwise.

    It’s not an unusual occurrence in this debate.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  03/03/15  at  06:18 PM
  67. 65 - Grouped three matters together as if they indicate guilt?

    Please, the basis of evidence was all the witness and material evidence that was presented during the trial.

    A number of people have tried to say that you can’t prove a murder without a body.  This is factually incorrect.

    A number of people have said that there was no motive, yet a motive was established.

    A number have people have said that how can you convict someone without a murder weapon.  This factually incorrect.

    Now, based on your previous posts I will await you distorting what I have just said and asking me to go into detail to prove my point.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  03/03/15  at  07:53 PM
  68. “Off the record” she confessed her ‘lie’ to an ABC journalist who then told Detective Inspector Peter Powell. My question is: “If I had killed someone, would I tell that person’s sister I was near the scene of the crime?”; worse still, would I tell a journalist? Such trust in other people, I call ‘naivety and foolishness’. It supports ‘innocence’ to me.”

    So according to the author of the article evidence of a clear lie supports innocence.  This actually supports the theory of bias and hence why people aren’t tried by their friends and associates.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  04/03/15  at  05:18 AM
  69. The author also suggests that a murderer would not answer questions asked by police.  Again facts show that many murderers have answered questions by police and told them many lies, before they were found out.

    Gary Ridgway an American serial killer originally agreed to take part in a lie detector test with police and passed it.  It was later that other evidence linked him to the crimes.

    Again a proposal of innocence based on bias, not on judging all the evidence.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  04/03/15  at  05:23 AM
  70. Sorry Ben, I was trying to agree with you where you had corrected me on my understanding of Andrew’s use of “general public.  And sorry also to John Dodd if I have distorted any of his comments.  It wouldn’t have been intentional.  Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying, John.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  04/03/15  at  06:35 AM
  71. #69 “Gary Ridgway an American serial killer originally agreed to take part in a lie detector test with police and passed it.  It was later that other evidence linked him to the crimes.

    Again a proposal of innocence based on bias, not on judging all the evidence.”

    And Ridgway is evidence in the SNF case? Again, I have to say that this and related discussion is focusing on guilt or innocence. The issue is one step higher than that: it is whether due process was followed and according to international experts like Bob Moles it was not. Why are Ben and John playing at being prosecutors? 

    Posted by John Biggs  on  04/03/15  at  09:59 AM
  72. Intermittently, numerous articles, posts, debates for or against the guilt of Susan Neill -Fraser, have occurred.

    More often than not, “The Red Jacket” evidence is raised in thread discussions. The following seems to me to be a worthwhile addition to this article: -
    The Red Jacket in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case
    Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 26 September 2014

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  04/03/15  at  04:31 PM
  73. @ #60, because a handful of dissidents to the SNF case for justice were in my view, cherry-picking the facts and at times misinterpreting comments (on purpose?) I gave up bothering to further debate FACT as opposed to FICTION. Being tired of re-stating the obvious, enough has been said and re-said.

    Loud applause to those who persist to detail the arguments, in order that dust is not allowed to settle on a grave Tasmanian miscarriage of justice.

    Being lazy in further debate, here’s another worthwhile and informed read: -
    The Girl with Dark Hair in the Sue Neill-Fraser Murder Case - Why was she not followed up?

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  04/03/15  at  04:42 PM
  74. For those who are still reading, here are more links that outline the facts of matters being publicly debated from time to time.

    In my view, Barbara Etter has far more extensively reviewed the case that have others, thus I give higher credence to her posts, that I afford to others who appear to have far less insight into the case.

    The Issue of Call-Taking and Recording in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case

    Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Evidence in the Sue Neill-Fraser matter

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  04/03/15  at  04:55 PM
  75. Re #71 - As I’ve already said in #43, I believe it would be a travesty of justice if Susan Neill-Fraser was released.

    Your turn, Hercule.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  04/03/15  at  05:19 PM
  76. 71 - Playing at Prosecutors??  One could also ask why some people are playing at being defence counsels.

    I haven’t said she is guilty.  I wasn’t present when the evidence was given.  I wasn’t there to consider the credibility of each witness.  The jury was.  The arguments put forward by some people defending her are hardly based on fact.  The theories are put forward, especially by this author, showing the evidence in the best light for Ms Neill-Fraser.

    Opinions relating to due process are just that.  I respect the ability for Bob Moles to make an informed opinion I don’t just accept its right, no more than I accept every court gets its decision right, but let’s stop misrepresenting actual facts.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  04/03/15  at  05:26 PM
  77. Thank you for taking trouble to post additional information, Geraldine (4.45).

    I am one of the people “still reading” ...

    Posted by Dr.John R.Wilson  on  04/03/15  at  07:34 PM
  78. #76, because you continue to dispute certain opinions, I suggest it is difficult to criticise those of B Etter in the links I have above-posted, together with those as follows: -

    Supervision, Management and Leadership in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case and the Critical Grey Dinghy

    The “Weatherbeaten Man” in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  04/03/15  at  07:39 PM
  79. The one fact that a large volume DNA sample, matched months later to Meaghan Vass, was found at the crime scene and she lied about her whereabouts that night - SHOULD cast doubt in everyone’s mind. The day that DNA was matched was the day the police should have started a more THOROUGH investigation, despite Sue having been in jail for several months. But it was likely viewed as ‘bad evidence’. This vital clue was overlooked and the jury were led to believe it was DNA transferred on the shoe of a policeman onto the crime scene. Now readily disputed by Victoria Police Forensic Sciences lab. The CCA in TAS and the High Court were wrong to dismiss this and when it unfolds this will be one of the biggest learnings and another important stimulus for change of the Australian and Tasmanian justice systems.

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  04/03/15  at  08:17 PM
  80. 72-74 Ms Etter is employed by the family of Ms Neill Fraser.  Have you ever looked at all those articles with an open mind?  Have you thought about why each articles outcome is to show Ms Neill Fraser in the best light?

    What about the link;

    Why did she never publish the Victorian Police Forensic Services report despite a request by Garry Stanus on 11/9/14 ( Refer: - comments 3 & 4 ) She was happy to publish part of the report that she alleged provided basis for a judicial review, but when asked for the full report she stated she had to speak with her client.  One presumes her client was happy for only part of that report to be published?

    Informed decisions require all FACTS to be taken into account.

    Also have a look at the key strategies that Ms Etter presented to the Academy of Forensic Sciences.  It is quite clear Ms Etter has researched the matter on the basis of defending her client, not on the basis of determining what really happened.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  04/03/15  at  08:54 PM
  81. 79 - Now readily disputed by Victoria Police Forensic Sciences lab.

    Thankyou for bringing the report to everyone’s attention again.  It appears you have access to it.  I for one would be pleased to see the report in its entirety.

    Thanks in advance.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  04/03/15  at  09:01 PM
  82. Eve Ash, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s despicable that Susan Neill-Fraser’s supporters continually name, and blame, a homeless girl who was 13yo at the time of the murder.

    Especially when there was another suspect with motive, opportunity, and access, who lied repeatedly about her whereabouts, clothing, and injuries, as well as her failing relationship with the victim.

    I don’t even want to talk about your mis-representation of the less-than-compelling report from Victoria Police’s Forensic Science lab. Suffice to say, it wasn’t nearly as definitive as you are.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  04/03/15  at  10:09 PM
  83. #80. My view is the Ms Etter has at all times, acted as a professional legal practitioner is obliged.

    Yes I did read

    What is your point? I am not privy to the circumstances prompting that post. Nevertheless, I read it as Ms Etter yet again proficiently publishing in order that there was no mis-interpretation taken from a previous post. I would do the same if I conceivably left myself open through any post “suggestion”. It’s called being on the front foot and acting pragmatically.

    The answer is yes to your questions, “Have you ever looked at all those articles with an open mind?  Have you thought about why each articles outcome is to show Ms Neill Fraser in the best light?

    I am unable to directly respond to your question, “Why did she never publish…?”. What immediately comes to mind is that any legal representative has specific professional obligations together with those to their client. Seems to me that was a consideration as well it must be.

    You won’t receive any debate from me re your “Informed decisions require all FACTS to be taken into account”. Tasmania Police and ODPP failed the Supreme Court trial in that aspect. The Crown as the Model Litigant was AWOL. Thus the jury were duped and unable to make an “informed decision”.

    If and when “all FACTS to be taken into account”, I speculate the possibility of a turnaround in the SNF conviction.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  05/03/15  at  09:40 AM
  84. It seems we are all agreed, then: we are all keen for the FACTS to be laid bare for public consumption. This is exactly what a court of criminal appeal is supposed to do and what I have advocated for the past 18 months (since becoming aware of the case details). That is how 350 criminal cases were overturned in the UK thanks to the Criminal Cases Review Commission reviewing cases and sending back to court those which had unsound convictions. There is no logical, rational, justifiable resistance to such a course of action.

    Posted by Andrew L. Urban  on  05/03/15  at  12:18 PM
  85. Seems relevant post for here: -
    Right to Appeal legislation to be released for consultation in coming weeks

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  05/03/15  at  02:55 PM
  86. Re #85

    This is the most relevant section: -

    “The bill will provide for a new Right to Appeal in circumstances where there is fresh and compelling evidence.”

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  05/03/15  at  05:28 PM
  87. For any readers who have stayed with the discussion — following on from #86, this may be of assistance.

    Further Right to Appeal Laws - the Restrictive Nature of “Fresh and Compelling” Evidence
    Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 17 February 2015

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  05/03/15  at  05:46 PM
  88. 83.  So the jury were duped?  Or the other alternative is you have been.

    What is my point?  A retraction was probably made to avoid litigation.  I have to use the word probably to avoid issues myself.

    86 - Point taken.

    87.  ??? - Plenty of other sources to look for that information, but thanks anyway.

    84 - see 86.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  05/03/15  at  06:33 PM
  89. #87 thanks for drawing my attention to Barbara Etter’s post.

    It appears to be a clear admission that there is no fresh and compelling evidence in the Susan Neill-Fraser case.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  05/03/15  at  10:04 PM
  90. #88 — “probably”  is speculation.
    Yes, the alternative you suggest is possible. I is my earnest hope that time will tell.

    Having experienced the shenanigans from behind the closed doors of a jury room on more than one occasion, I am prompted to write that what happened behind those doors is shockingly wrong. The law prevents me from saying any more, but rest assured I have recorded it in Affidavit form, for use when and if I am able. FACT: wrongdoing occurs within a jury room.

    #88 — “it appears” is more speculation.

    I have finished with this discussion. It has reached pedantic stage. Having said what I have to say and resisted return-sarcasm, which appears to creep into some comments, my intention is to now wait and see where this all goes.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  06/03/15  at  06:17 AM
  91. Correction to my #90.
    “#88 — “it appears” is more speculation” should read: -
    #89 — “it appears” is more speculation.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  06/03/15  at  12:43 PM
  92. 89 - Refer 90/91 - speculation about speculation is obviously not on.

    90 - so are you suggesting that you have been involved in not reporting a matter which unfairly impacted on a court trial?

    Possibly - (or perhaps) - used to indicate doubt or hesitancy.  In this case it was hesitancy i.e. not speculation.

    91 contradicts the last paragraph of 90.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  06/03/15  at  03:53 PM
  93. #92 — John

    Please read my words carefully. I wrote, “I have finished with this discussion. ...” Spelling that statement out to you it includes the words “this discussion” as it refers to matters related to the SNF trial. And yes, I have finished with that discussion.

    Nevertheless a correction was required, as inadvertently I had misdirected my comment to #88.

    Using your pedantic attitude with my words, no I am “suggesting that you have been involved in not reporting a matter which unfairly impacted on a court trial?” I wrote my comment as a FACT, not suggestion.

    I’ll answer in a monosentence style.
    Yes, the conduct I witnessed “unfairly impacted on a court trial”;
    No, I was not “involved in not reporting” the matter;
    The matter was reported;
    As I wrote, “The law prevents me from saying any more”.
    Indeed I would like to publish court attitude / non-action, including that of then judge, but I’m gagged. My understanding is if I speak about what happened, I could be gaoled?

    Now having said that, appropriate or otherwise jury conduct is not the lead subject of “this discussion” thread. If you wish to discuss that, you might commence it by posting a separate article.

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  06/03/15  at  05:03 PM
  94. Correction to my #93.
    3rd para should read … no there is no “suggesting that you [I] have been involved …”

    Posted by Geraldine Allan  on  06/03/15  at  05:36 PM
  95. 93 - so tempting…..., but I don’t want to invoke another response.  i don’t want to be accused of being excessively concerned with minor details or rules

    Posted by John Dodd  on  06/03/15  at  05:37 PM
  96. #90-91 & #93-94

    All I did was point out that Barbara Etter’s post looks like a clear admission that there is no fresh and compelling evidence in the Susan Neill-Fraser case.

    Posted by Ben Lohberger  on  06/03/15  at  07:08 PM
  97. Let’s consider the article written here and look at both sides;

    1.  The author states that the judge commented that Ms Neill Fraser was “clever”.  This was the judge’s comment from sentencing.  The judge formed that view and stated it.  The author’s alternate stance was that Ms Neill Fraser was “naive and foolish”.

    2.  Ms Neill Fraser told a lie to police, and when speaking to a journalist, believing it was off the record, admitted that she had done that.  The author says that is an illustration of her naivety and supports her innocence.  Of course the contrary is that for Ms Neill Fraser avoided telling the police the truth because she had something to hide.

    3.  The author goes on to state “If I had killed someone, would I tell that person’s sister I was near the scene of the crime?”; worse still, would I tell a journalist?”.  The contrary is if you are innocent why wouldn’t you be open about being near the “scene of the crime”.

    4.  The author states; “When told this In the interview, Sue looked stunned and puzzled, trying to sort out what the question meant, and after an initial hesitation, in a bewildered voice, asked, “Who? Patrick?” with a quizzical upward inflection of ‘Patrick’. In court, it suggested to me that the statement of the Crown’s witness was baloney.”  The contrary view is that Ms Neill Fraser was shocked that police had that information.  (Body language?  - the contrary view is that this is hardly a rationale argument for judging someone’s truthfulness)

    5.  I note that the author states “no plausible motive”.  There is a contrary argument based on the evidence of Mr Stevenson etc. that Ms Neill Fraser was intending on leaving Mr Chappell etc.

    Again the author went into the trial with a belief that Ms Neill Fraser was innocent.  Her comments demonstrate a confirmation bias or in other words a tendency to search for, interpret, or recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses.

    Again I didn’t sit through the trial like the author did, my opinion is worth little in respect of whether Ms Neill Fraser is guilty or not, however people should not be assuming that this author, the filmmaker or the current legal representative of Ms Neill Fraser are putting forward a balanced version of what occurred.  Whilst their motives are good intentioned are they looking at the evidence with an open mind?

    Posted by John Dodd  on  07/03/15  at  07:53 AM
  98. So it boils down to the fact that there is TOO MUCH DOUBT!, on the fringe is debate on bias, interpretations on both sides but when all is said and done three things are outstanding, 1. lack of evidence 2. mistakes in trial and 3. holes in police work with a notable example the lack of proper investigation of definite sighting of a grey dinghy around 5pm.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  07/03/15  at  12:02 PM
  99. 98.  Three theories all of which are debatable. 

    1 - exactly what the defence case stated during the trial (of course that would be what the defence would run).

    2.  Mistakes in the trial?  Court of Criminal Appeal didn’t find any reason to overturn the decision or have the matter retried. 

    3.  Holes in police work and lack of proper investigation is what Ms Etter has been running on her blogs.  I can’t comment on whether they investigated it properly and I am not sure how you are in a position to do so either.  Any perceived mistake appears to have been raised by the defence and therefore the jury had the chance to consider it.

    Definite sighting of grey dinghy at 5pm?  How is it definite if it is based on one witness account and there is nothing to corroborate it?

    Posted by John Dodd  on  07/03/15  at  01:59 PM
  100. Multiple witnesses on that one, Its not worth debating the different points of view here. A proper inquiry back in the courts is the only way then we all would be interested in those fndings.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  07/03/15  at  03:39 PM
  101. #99 Four different witnesses saw a grey dinghy between 3.55 and 5.30pm. Only one appeared in court but all made sworn statements.

    #82 The teenager who lied about her whereabouts that night, whose large volume DNA sample was left on the deck of the yacht was 15yo at time, not 13.

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  07/03/15  at  04:19 PM
  102. #97 John Dodd, I appreciate the numbering of this comment. I’ll make comments to the numbering but bear in mind what I have said before: what troubled me about the trial, it was a contest, not a search.  Believe me, I went to the trial with an open mind. My first shock was Mrs Zochling, then the homeless girl, and when we got to the “battleship grey dinghy with a lee cloth”, my opinion hardened. My only prior experience of such a trial before was ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’.  This was quite different.
    1. What you say is fair in the context of my article. The full quotation is, “She seems to me to be clever, very cool-headed, and well able to control her emotions.” I often ponder if the outcome would have been different had Sue Neill-Fraser cried. She, ‘naively and foolishly’, hadn’t learnt from Lindy Chamberlain that females must cry. Juries seem not to value stoicism, although we bring up our children to “be brave”. Remembering that Sue’s early years were in the United Kingdom, she just may have the British ‘stiff upper lip’.
    2. and 3. are really the same point. Yes, Sue didn’t tell the truth because she had something to hide on Bob Chappell’s behalf. She did not want to bring his daughter, suffering a mental illness, into the case. Again, foolish and naive. Of course, you don’t lie to the police and she has paid a heavy price for that mistake. In telling Bob’s sister she had lied, she would have understood why Sue was protecting her niece. When she told the lie, she was still not sure if Bob would turn up and might not forgive her if his daughter was on the front page of the paper. This must be seen in the context of the evidence given by Mr Richard King and his interaction with Sue’s ‘step-daughter’ that same day.
    4. In the trial, at the preliminary stage of submissions in the jury’s absence, Sue’s defence counsel submitted that the statement of one witness was so prejudicial that it ought to be excluded, quoting from the relevant sections of the Evidence Act, such as “In a criminal proceeding the Court must refuse to admit evidence adduced by the prosecutor if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the defendant”. The judge said , “I certainly see some unfair prejudice ... if the jury hear this they might accept the evidence and think, ‘Here’s a terrible woman prepared to plan the murders of her brother and partner’, and they’re likely to have an emotional response that might distract them from the task of carefully considering the evidence ... it’s as plain as day that there is a danger of unfair prejudice, the real question is..does the evidence have probative value and I’m a bit concerned about whether it can properly be relied on as evidence of what you’ve called ‘very strong animus’.” 
    (To Be Continued)

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  07/03/15  at  06:20 PM
  103. (Continued)
    In my opinion, as Patrick is alive and sometimes attended court to support Sue, there was no probative value. The evidence of that witness, as the prosecutor said, just might be ‘the sealer’. Without it, it is unlikely there was case to answer. If the witness spoke the truth, it is extraordinary and weighs heavily against Sue; but if it isn’t true, it is perjury. Have you thought of that?
    5. That is one man’s opinion but in the context of what else was going on, I think it is highly unlikely that she would murder Bob for a boat. Why would she sabotage her beautiful yacht? She could have pushed Bob overboard in Bathurst Harbour and said he fell and kept the yacht undamaged. The prosecutor made much of the yacht, e.g. “So, the people down there don’t all own yachts, I suppose?.. But those that do presumably are the envy of those that don’t, otherwise they wouldn’t join a yacht club.” Later, “And being a third generation sailor I presume that was a source of some pride to you?”
    And again, “And you really wanted this yacht? A tremendous yacht?... A beautiful yacht? ... When you finally got it back here people no doubt complimented you on it, people from the yacht club…But anyone who saw it and commented to you would have said what a lovely yacht it was”. What seemed strange to me at the time was that Mr Stevenson’s evidence did not really fit the narrative. He said that neither Bob nor Sue had the strength to handle the winches alone, or put up sails, and the prosecutor used this evidence to say, “they couldn’t even put up the sails themselves, the mainsail, how humiliating would that have been to Ms Neill-Fraser, the third generation member of the Royal Yacht Club. To have been the driving force.. of buying this boat, it looks nice, oh, yes, there would be lots of admirations for how nice it looked”. Then, we have a total reversal of strength, prosecutor stating, “But what you could be, I suggest, fairly satisfied about is that there wasn’t more than one person involved in the killing of Mr Chappell and the disposal of his body, it’s the work of one person.”
    Several ‘yachties’ have commented to me they didn’t believe it was possible for Sue to winch a body into a bobbing dinghy and then unload it into the river.
    What the filmmaker, the current legal representative and myself all wonder is how any jury could find Sue Neill-Fraser guilty BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. You don’t have to believe she is innocent, but you must surely concede there is REASONABLE DOUBT, enough for the case to be re-examined.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  07/03/15  at  06:21 PM
  104. Further to comments at #101 about the grey dinghy,a witness, an employee of the Taxation Office, with 30 years boating experience, saw at 3.55 p.m on Australia Day the Four Winds and described, “rafted up alongside it there was a dark grey rubber dinghy. ... The dinghy was tied to the port side of Four Winds about mid-ships.”  When cross-examined by the defence counsel about the colour, he described it as “battleship grey”.
    This evidence, that did not exactly fit the description of the Quicksilver dinghy, prompted the prosecutor to re-examine him. He was shown a photo of the Quicksilver dinghy and he repeated, “The dinghy I saw, as I said,... was - I believe it was larger and I believe the dinghy I saw had a lee cloth across the bow ... This does not have a lee cloth. The bow ... also seems to be somewhat blunter ... the Quicksilver dinghy in the photographs is not the dinghy I saw at five to four on Australia Day last year”.
    Not liking this unhelpful evidence for the Crown case, the prosecutor in his closing speech to the jury tried to dismiss it with, “But how stupid would they be to rely on the description of a single witness, however cocky and confident he was…”
    This, in my opinion, is the dinghy that should have been of interest, not dismissed in a throw-away line with loaded terms like ‘stupid’ and ‘cocky and confident’. The witness’s confidence should have enhanced his credibility as a person who knew exactly what he was talking about.
    When under cross-examination by the defence counsel the next day, the Detective Sergeant revealed that the previous evening, the prosecutor had requested him to re-interview the witness to establish further lines of inquiry. In this interview, he described the dinghy he saw as older, worn, faded and scuffed and even drew a diagram of the vessel for the detective.
    When proposed by the defence counsel, the detective agreed that, to put it in lay terms, “the trail is now somewhat cold to try and track down the owner or operator of that dinghy”. Then the defence counsel further proposed, “So today we haven’t the faintest idea who was out there, have we? ... At four o’clock?”  The prosecutor immediately objected.
    The detective also agreed that he never, at any stage, said to Sue, in any of the interviews, that a large grey dinghy had been seen at 3.55 pm.
    Other witnesses saw a grey dinghy at 5 o’clock, in broad daylight in mid-summer.
    Yet, the Crown relied on a single witness who stated that he thought he saw an outline of female in a dinghy between 11.30 and midnight. He wasn’t sure if he was in his car or standing beside it. It was on a dark night and at some distance. I would say it was even more stupid to rely on a single, uncertain sighting by someone who was vague.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  07/03/15  at  09:51 PM
  105. 104.  Yet, the Crown relied on a single witness

    101. Four different witnesses saw a grey dinghy between 3.55 and 5.30pm. Only one appeared in court but all made sworn statements.

    Firstly, this is where we see clouding of the issue.  The defence are able to call any witness as well.  The defence would have had disclosure of those additional statements and they could have called those witnesses.  Why didn’t they, if one were to speculate (oh, I will be in trouble for that) I suggest that the other sightings were not considered of importance by them either.

    You also fail to mention that the witness who said he saw the “larger boat” than the tender from the Four Winds.  He estimated the size and that estimation turned out to be the size of the Four Winds tender.

    103.  “You don’t have to believe she is innocent, but you must surely concede there is REASONABLE DOUBT, enough for the case to be re-examined.”

    Why do you care so much what I believe.  And this is I suggest is the crux of the issue.  Unsatisfied with the court case and the subsequent appeals one of the strategies that Ms Etter decided to employ was to raise the public profile of this case.  What I see is information going out to members of the public like myself that is one sided.  I for one find that condescending - that there is an expectation that people will blindly accept this edited version of events.

    Good luck with the new legislation when and if it comes in.  In short I still find it interesting that the person with a motive (you say it is not plausible, others disagree) has been proven to act suspiciously on that night.

    [One thing that I find most ridiculous about this situation is the assertion that Ms Neill Fraser just got her movements wrong when she supplied an “alibi” to police.  This is where the “off the record” comment to the reporter tends to show that she knew exactly what she did on that afternoon and evening.  (Really: Why would she need to protect someone who raised concerns about Mr Chappell that night?  Quite blinkered thinking).]

    Posted by John Dodd  on  08/03/15  at  08:03 AM
  106. “Her co-operation with the police is probably two-fold: to remove herself from the frame, but also to help the police with their investigation.”

    Was the telling of a lie intended to help police with their investigation?

    “To remove herself from the frame” - That is a plausible concept.  Think about it.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  08/03/15  at  09:29 AM
  107. “But she didn’t; she wrote to the Commissioner asking that another officer, unconnected with her case, review the whole procedure. I believe Inspector Powell was asked to review her case and she was arrested and charged soon after.”

    My information is that the file was reviewed by the Director Of Public Prosecutions before any charges against Ms Neill Fraser were laid.

    I do accept that this was an “unscientific” reading of the case.  That is not in accordance with scientific principles or methodology / lacking knowledge or interest in science.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  08/03/15  at  02:47 PM
  108. Well, I went and holed up in the bush for a couple of days.  I read the transcript of the trial – not all of it – but within its >1550 pages, I read the judge’s organising remarks, the opening addresses, some of the more than 50 witness contributions, many discussions when the jury was out of the room – all through the trial – and particularly from SNF’s evidence onwards.  I read the jury’s questions to the judge, Justice Blow. 

    I finally made the reading time for this, because of Lyn Giddings.  The comment thread had got that extended from her article ... so that I no longer remembered what she had written.  In fact, I didn’t even know (anymore) who the author was.

    So I rechecked.  It was Lyn Giddings, and then I finally realised the meaning of her ‘Unscientific’ reading of the case.  She was telling us how Sue Neill-Fraser appeared to her, who listened to the trial, who went daily, who sat through the trial, who occasionally visits the convicted woman. 

    I feel that Lynn has put humanity into justice.  A justice system that sadly brings on these adversarial Coliseum spectacles … do or die … apple pie… to Lyn, SN-F was a credible witness. though accused.

    In my readings, I was struck by a number of thoughts …
    - Tim Ellis is/was an extremely good lawyer (now ex-DPP).  He was in command of his material, could think on his feet, his knowledge of the law – of ‘case law’ was astonishing (to me, personally).
    - It appeared that he had the better of David Gunson, SC.  While I didn’t count the number of times that Ellis prevailed over Gunson in their respective objections, it is obvious that Ellis – on his feet - could call on many case-law decisions, to support him, many more than Gunson was able, and that his (Ellis’s) knowledge was commensurate with Justice Blow’s.
    - Sometimes I wondered about this disparity.  Like an particular Australian Rules club supporter will question the number of free kicks awarded to one side over the (his) other, in the course of the match.
    - I felt that every time Ellis asked a question during SNF’s cross-examination), she was a sitting duck for his polemical narrative.
    ‘There you go again’, he’d say, if she asked for any detail on some bald assertion that he’d just made.
    ‘There you go again’.  It has a ‘nice’ redolent feel to it, reminiscent of one of the US Presidential Presidents, Ronald Reagan…’ 


    There’s more, much more that I could write, but the intent of my comment was to acknowledge the worth of Lynn’s article. I am ‘of the view’ that Justice Blow’s refusal to allow the defence request to have Meaghan Vass recalled to explain how it was, given that a ‘substantial’ amount of her DNA was found (in one place) on the yacht, how it was that she was not in either of the two locations which were given as her address at the time, nor, more importantly, how it was that she was not at the third place said by her, to be where she actually was when Bob Chappell became missing.  This issue was pursued to the High Court, albeit unsuccessfully. 

    A reading/understanding of the transcript, and of the subsequent appeal and leave to appeal decisions shows that the appeals over this matter seem to have been judged, not by the natural justice of the ‘recall Vass’ matter, but by whether the prior (lower) judge had the legal power to decide the issue on his own personal evaluation of the issue …

    Ironically, in fact, Justice Blow’s decision not to recall Vass seems to be a recognition that her apparent unco-operativeness would only continue were she recalled to the stand.  The Appeal Court upheld his decision on this, and the High Court dismissed the Defence application for leave… in less time than it actually took to exit, confer, agree on a joint wording, and write it down.  There is only one conclusion that I can make, that is, the HC made its decision before SNF’s Counsel had completed its application.

    Evan Whitton wrote a long history-commentary on the creation and development of the British legal system, which we ‘enjoy’ today.  He concluded that we should move to an ‘inquisitorial’ rather than adversarial system.  I agree, even though I loved Rumpole.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  09/03/15  at  08:55 PM
  109. #108 Thank you for going back to the transcripts. The Vass issue is deplorable. It was an unacceptable CCA decision and HC refusal that will come to be a major blight that MUST bring about change in our judicial system.

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  10/03/15  at  05:54 AM
  110. #108 Thank you, Garry Stannus. You’ve got it and understand where I, and others, are coming from.

    In #105,answering my #103, John Dodd asks why do I care so much what he believes, which is fair enough in that I phrased the question, “You don’t have to believe she is innocent, but you must surely concede…”. It was, in my mind, written as “you” plural, addressing any reader who categorically thought there was no doubt about the end result.

    We come from our point of view with our hands tied behind our backs because there are so many questions that we are asked, that we cannot answer without fear of being sued for libel.

    Editor’s note: edited for legal reasons.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  10/03/15  at  01:16 PM
  111. 108.  “Given that a ‘substantial’ amount of her DNA was found”

    That’s not correct - it quite clearly says that there was only one swab taken in that area.  (That sample was only found after the boat had been moved and her DNA was not found anywhere else).

    Posted by John Dodd  on  10/03/15  at  04:08 PM
  112. #110. See Editor’s note, “edited for legal reasons”.
    I rest my case.

    But thank you for printing the above. I understand the problem from your point of view too.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  10/03/15  at  07:33 PM
  113. 110 - “any reader who categorically thought there was no doubt about the end result.”

    The test is beyond reasonable doubt.  I suggest you would never convict anyone if there had to be no doubt whatsoever.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  11/03/15  at  04:12 PM
  114. #113,John Dodd. You are nit-picking. You well know what was written in #103 that I couldn’t understand how a jury could find Sue guilty BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT and suggested that even those readers who thought she was guilty would have to concede there is REASONABLE DOUBT.
    #111. I think you will find that finger-printing was done on the yacht before it was moved to Goodwood but all forensic DNA samples were taken at Goodwood. So how can anyone categorically say where and when the homeless girl boarded the yacht? On the documentary, ‘Shadow of Doubt’, the Detective Inspector said that he believed the girl had been on the yacht but at Goodwood, not Sandy Bay. Why would anyone say that unless it was to suit their case? He admitted Goodwood was a secure site but not from the water. So what is he suggesting, that the homeless girl swam into CleanLift, or stole another dinghy and rowed in or paddled in or motored in? Seeing as she was in the area, supposed to be sleeping at an address on Mt Nelson on Australia Day night, isn’t the probability weighted heavily that she went out when the yacht was moored in Sandy Bay and perhaps with the other two unidentified male DNAs that still remain a mystery. While moored at Sandy Bay, far greater likelihood of finding food and drink on the yacht than in dry dock.
    And while I’m here, #111. The point is, the one and only DNA swab on the yacht was a substantial amount: too much for someone else to walk it on the boat on the sole of their shoe, as the prosecution proposed.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  12/03/15  at  04:16 PM
  115. In the SN-F trial, one of the prosecution (expert) witnesses was Mr Carl Grosser, a forensic scientist.  Mr Grosser had communicated to Detective Sinnit (in an email during the initial investigation, I presume) the following:

    Given the strong DNA profile that we obtained from this swab, I’d suggest that this is indicative of the presence of a relatively large amount of DNA which is more likely to come from bodily fluids, blood, saliva, than a simple contact touching event.

    This is the opinion of the prosecution’s expert.

    However, John (#111), responding to my “given that a ‘substantial’ amount of her DNA was found (in one place) on the yacht” writes

    That’s not correct - it quite clearly says that there was only one swab taken in that area.

    Given John’s objection, which seems to take issue with my use of the word ‘substantial’, I am left confused.  Grosser, the expert, had indicated that this swab was

    indicative of the presence of a relatively large amount of DNA which is more likely to come from bodily fluids, blood, saliva, than a simple contact touching event.

    John seems to be in disagreement, not only with myself, but also with the relevant Prosecution expert witness on the subject.

    If I have somehow misrepresented the truth, then, again I apologise.  Yet, to me, Grosser’s email to Sinnit (if that’s what the form of the communication was) indicates that the amount of DNA in that single location was not negligible, was not insignificant, and did not suggest a transfer event… Grosser’s (‘simple contact touching event’).

    We are entitled to deplore the decision not to allow the recall of Vass, then the Apellate Court’s endorsement of the trial judge’s right to have decided in the way he did (which does not imply agreement with the actual decision) and then the laughable High Court rejection of the request.    These legal people are playing a ‘Glass Bead Game’, arguably somewhat removed from the vulgar understandings of the word ‘justice’.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  12/03/15  at  04:46 PM
  116. 114/115 - “nit picking”

    Not at all.  You are totally incorrect to say that only forensic DNA samples were taken once the yacht was moved.  There were plenty of DNA samples taken before the yacht was moved and if you have reviewed the case you should be aware of it.

    From CCA “Evidence was given by Mr Carl Grosser, a large part of whose work as a forensic scientist involved DNA profiling. His evidence included that it was “entirely possible” that a person’s DNA profile might be found in a swab taken from a surface, notwithstanding that the person had never been on the surface. He explained that DNA is normally found in fluids of the body including saliva, blood and sweat and in skin, and that there is a potential for it to be transferred in some way. Its presence on a walkway could be accounted for by a lot of people passing over the area and one of them transferring onto the walkway the DNA of a person picked up elsewhere on the bottom of their shoe. Potentially anything could be carrying a person’s DNA and could transfer it. He also made the point that although it was highly unlikely, the DNA profile of Ms Vass may have matched that of another person. He also pointed out that it is impossible to know when the item containing the DNA profile was deposited on the walkway. Scientists could only detect its presence in a swab taken on a particular date, but could not say for how long the substance containing the profile had been there.”

    Deplore the judge’s decision all you like.  I think the decision was appropriately reviewed and an explanation was given why that ground for appeal was dismissed.  This is a classic case of not being happy with the umpire’s decision even though the decision was proved to be valid by others.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  14/03/15  at  08:11 AM
  117. #116 John Dodd, no actual samples were taken until the boat was at Goodwood. However, exhibits which later were tested for DNA were secured by police when the boat was on its mooring.

    The main person, a forensic biologist, responsible for the taking of samples for DNA purposes in this case was Ms Debra McHoul from Forensic Services. She prepared the Forensic Biology Scene Examination Report dated 12 June 2009 and, in the first paragraph, states:

    “Between 28th January and 4th February, 2009, I attended the vessel Four Winds, moored at 6 Negara Crescent, Goodwood, on several occasions to examine it for the presence of blood visually and using luminol, and to assist in the search of the vessel.”

    Constable Redburn from Forensic Services of Tasmania Police, in her statement dated 25 November, states that she attended the Four Winds on the morning of 27 January 2009 and took photographs and collected exhibits. Constable Barnes, also from Forensic Services, in her statement dated 1 December 2009, states that she attended the Four Winds at 5.50 pm on 27 January 2009 at Constitution Dock. She also took photographs and collected exhibits. Neither of these officers actually took DNA samples as undertaken by the forensic biologist.

    It was not until 28 January 2009 that Ms McHoul from FSST attended the Four Winds at Goodwood and took actual DNA samples.

    Sometimes the umpires get it wrong, Mr Dodd, and indeed the crowd is unhappy. For this reason we have ‘photo finishes’ for horse races, tennis and cricket. That is why Sue Neill-Fraser’s case needs looking at again.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  16/03/15  at  07:47 AM
  118. 117.  “However, exhibits which later were tested for DNA were secured by police when the boat was on its mooring.”

    Thankyou - that is correct.  Samples were taken for DNA analysis while the boat was on it’s mooring.

    “and indeed the crowd is unhappy”


    “Sometimes the umpires get it wrong”

    Yes, I agree and the umpire’s decision was reviewed.  Fact is the “crowd” would never have been happy unless the verdict was overturned.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  18/03/15  at  05:24 AM
  119. interesting point on the DNA none of it has Sue linked to the crime scene on the yacht

    Posted by Rosemary  on  18/03/15  at  07:24 AM
  120. #118. The point is that Meaghan Vass’s DNA was found on the yacht at Goodwood because it was not something that a policewoman or policeman could pick up while on the mooring and hand in to Forensic Services. It had no mobility. Ms Debra McHoul collected it with a swab at Goodwood, that in no way rules out the probability that Ms Vass boarded the yacht on the day/night of 26 January 2009 when on its mooring.

    Secondly, the term, “the crowd”, was not intended to imply the supporters of the Susan Neill-Fraser Support Group. You used the term “umpire” which conjured up a sporting arena in my mind. I went on to use examples of photo finishes in sporting events to keep the “crowd” happy, rather than “unhappy”. Yes, the support group is unhappy and sees an inquiry as a “photo finish”.

    The Chappell brother who produced an underarm bowl in a match against New Zealand (if I remember correctly) has never been forgiven in the annuls of cricket history. Neither has the forensic pathologist, Mrs Joy Kohl,in Lindy Chamberlain’s case. In that case, the Morling Inquiry, after appeals and inquests, actually got to the truth: a dingo took Baby Azaria.

    I keep coming back to the fact that Justice for Sue is synonymous with Justice for Tasmania.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  18/03/15  at  06:07 PM
  121. I’m part of the ‘crowd’, and I take Lynn’s point that as used in her sporting metaphor, she uses ‘crowd’ simply to distinguish players and umpire from the onlookers.  Thank you Lynn Giddings for your article and follow-ups.  I’ve been trying to respond at appropriate moments, but before I can ‘put pen to paper’, there have been other comments posted, without reference to much in the way of a source, except for that quote dragged from the Appeal decision.  Then Lynn has replied, to the point, assertive yet non-combative, informed but not impertinent. 

    It was a lame section of the CCA’s decision that we saw trotted out in #116.  Crawford CJ, in his decision, seems to have cherry-picked two words from Mr Grosser’s evidence “entirely possible” and added his own ‘paraphrasing’ ... “that a person’s DNA profile might be found in a swab taken from a surface, notwithstanding that the person had never been on the surface”.  But cherry-picking is much practised here in Tasmania.  Our cherries are sold widely in the world.

    Crawford CJ…  did not for example, make mention of that same expert witness’s other evidence (included in the following):

    THE WITNESS“...I think basically what we’ve got is some suggestion that there’s possibly a large amount of DNA that may have originated from Miss Vass present on the boat and as to how that got there I really can’t say that any one particular scenario is vastly more likely than another scenario.
    (P694,L28 – Mr Carl Grosser, Forensic Scientist)

    HIS HONOUR:  Have you ever knowingly come across transference in the course of your work where someone’s DNA has been transferred to a place where that person hasn’t been?
    WITNESS:  I’m – I’m not certain that I could categorically say that I haven’t, but I’d say that if I have it would be very rare.
    (P696,L1 – Mr Carl Grosser, Forensic Scientist)

    MR GUNSON SC:  (Resuming):  Thank you.  Now no example springs to mind – you can’t say, for instance, in court case X I was satisfied after being cross-examined that my view about the DNA being there was wrong and that it had been transferred by somebody’s footprint or something like that – there’s no case like that you’ve been involved in, is there?
    WITNESS:  …….Again, without going through the detailed background of my cases, I believe that I haven’t identified transfer.
    [ P696,L15 – Mr Carl Grosser, Forensic Scientist)

    In my opinion, the evidence given by the above witness was contrarian in nature and a reading of the whole of that witness’s evidence will, in my opinion, support such a proposition:  [Here].  It begins at page 685 of that transcript.  I should also point out that His Honour had intervened to question the witness directly.  The witness had been asked by the Defence Counsel whether he had ever had experience of a sample that had been the result of ‘transfer’ (i.e./e.g., from someone’s shoe).  The witness had replied that it was possible that he’d encountered such ‘transfers’ without knowing it.  Defence wasn’t happy with that answer – which on the face of it was a tad evasive – Prosecution objected on witness’s behalf and His Honour intervened to try and elicit a direct answer:

    Have you ever knowingly come across transference in the course of…?

    However, the witness’s response once again seems to me to have avoided the ‘knowingly’ part of His honour’s question

    I’m – I’m not certain that I could categorically say that I haven’t, but I’d say that if I have it would be very rare.

    My response:  the natural expected answer would have begun like this:  ‘To my knowledge, I have/have not come across transferrence in the course of…’ or perhaps, ‘I do not remember ever having realised (aka ‘known’) that I had come across transferrence in the course of…’  Instead, the witness’s answer seemed to resort/refer again to a scenario of ‘perhaps unknowingly having come across transferrence.  His Honour, however, was satisfied with the response.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  20/03/15  at  10:10 AM
  122. .../
    So no DNA samples/swabs were taken directly from the Four Winds while at the Sandy Bay location, though some exhibits were removed and were later tested.  Lynn Giddings’ point about the DNA deposit on the deck of the Four Winds not being “mobile” is well made.  Furthermore, it remains a true statement (in my opinion) that no evidence was presented to support the suggestion that the sample was not deposited directly by Ms Vass onto the deck of the Four Winds, while it was moored at Sandy Bay, on the night in question.

    Furthermore, regarding the EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) which was found on the beach near the Casino: Mr Ellis made remarks in his opening address which were contradicted by the later evidence of Mr Grosser

    MR ELLIS:  The EPIRB it did wash up it washed up on the beach near the Casino and was found by someone who handed it into the police and it contains no forensic evidence of great note – his DNA, I think, or fingerprints of the man who found it, but otherwise nothing particularly there.

    Two elements in that statement are, in my opinion, patently untrue:  “no forensic evidence of great note” and “but otherwise nothing particularly there”

    I say this because Mr Grosser subsequently gave evidence to the effect that (at least) three DNA profiles were detected on the body of the EPIRB,  and Sue Neil-Fraser was excluded, i.e. it was determined that it was not her DNA and that her DNA was not detected at all on the EPIRB.  However, of the three contributors to the DNA profile on that EPIRB, one was a “reasonable match” with the person who found it on the beach and the other two remain unidentified (possibly male, possibly female).

    For Mr Ellis to have told the court that there was “nothing particularly there” on the EPIRB – apart from the DNA or fingerprints of the bloke who found it, was at odds with what his own prosecution witness would later give in evidence.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  20/03/15  at  10:12 AM
  123. How is it that a homeless girl with a criminal record, who gave 2 different addresses to the court, was located by a detective at a third, gave an address that didn’t exist for a sleepover with a friend on Mt Nelson, putting her in the vicinity of Sandy Bay, and whose DNA is on the deck of the ‘Four Winds’, can say that she has never been on the yacht and be believed?

    How is it that Susan Neill-Fraser, without a criminal record, can say, “I’ve never harmed anyone knowingly or plotted or planned to harm anyone, no” is not believed?

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  20/03/15  at  10:24 PM
  124. Thank you for persisting with this extraordinarily convoluted conversation, Mrs.Giddings. I agree with you.

    Justice has not been served well in this case, which is deeply worrying and unacceptable.

    Susan Neill-Fraser should be set free.

    Posted by Dr.John R.Wilson  on  21/03/15  at  07:07 AM
  125. Lynn Giddings, your continued attack on Meaghan is disgusting IMO. This is a real persons life you are once again dragging through the mud.

    Posted by mark (no secret) hawkes  on  21/03/15  at  07:09 AM
  126. Yes a real person who has dna found at a real crime scene where a person who does not have dna at the crime scene is languishing in prison due to having her name dragged through the mud. That is another mystery that has not been properly cleared up. The supporters of sue neill-Fraser are just seeking the truth

    Posted by Rosemary  on  21/03/15  at  01:44 PM
  127. #26 Ok, but is it not possible to seek the truth without putting an innocent persons name on the internet, again and again.

    Posted by Mark Hawkes  on  22/03/15  at  07:15 AM
  128. all witnesses in the case are innocent and their names are up because of so many requests to make available the transcript yet so few once they get it do not read it all. The name is not important( but for this exercise should be left out) but the lack of information given to the court is very important. AS the grey dinghy was not investigated and the other ‘unknown’ dna on the yacht is not accounted for (the matches to that DNA may well be the key to solving the mystery of Bob Chappell’s disappearance), THEREBY BRINGING IN THE IMPORTANCE OF THE INFORMATION OF THE PERSON WHO’S DNA DOES GET A MATCH AND COULD ASSIST) then yes, it is too much doubt, because of too much left out of the investigation and a muddying of the character of Sue Neill-Fraser to gain a conviction where there really is no evidence if you get right down to it. When Justice Blow from the start asks the prosecutor what they are basing the prosecution on and it came down to Bob is missing and the fire extinguisher is missing therefore they departed together by the hand of you know who. Simple as that and all the other fan fare over forensic evidence such as an expert witness gaining her expertise from working in a lab with other people who had the expertise. and did some screening tests, made some (assessments) over what is positive and what is false positives and never (did) any confirmatory tests for blood, thereby, (in my view)  misleading the Jury. oh so many more holes than Swiss cheese! Think I will head down to the hospital and get stuck into some surgery, as I obviously must be an expert as I work in a theatre with Doctors who are experts.! yep let’s get stuck into that surgery waiting list, come on down!

    Posted by Rosemary  on  23/03/15  at  01:19 PM
  129. In the Australian Newspaper today with reference to the new legislation proposed in Tasmania there is a very informative article explaining very clearly why so many feel that the murder conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser was unsafe. It is well worth any Tas Times readers with interest in the case to read. I leave you the link here for ease of access.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  25/03/15  at  11:34 AM
  130. TODAY’S AUSTRALIAN Page 11: A very public and damming story on this case! Australians must question this case.

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  25/03/15  at  11:43 AM
  131. I would have thought that the $30K reward that was offered for information that can shed further light on this case ought to have been offered towards a fund raising foundation to help raise funds towards hiring a private company to conduct an underwater search for Dr Chapman’s body with remotely controlled underwater robotic vehicles equipped with appropriate sensors and a manipulating arm!

    Finding the remains of Dr Chapman’s body may provide forensic evidence that could help all those concerned.

    Perhaps those vocal supporters of Ms Neill-Fraser ought to think about raising funds towards this cause rather than offering their speculative opinions on various matters related to this case!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  31/03/15  at  06:05 PM
  132. Correction: in my previous post I incorrectly typed a wrong surname - it should be “Chappell” rather than “Chapman”.


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  31/03/15  at  09:42 PM
  133. I agree Peter that would be a worthy thought #131 however there is no evidence that the bottom of the Derwent is the final resting place of Mr Chappell ( who was a physicist not a doctor by the way). Finding out the mystery of Bob Chappell is formost in everyone’s mind I believe but the matter that is paramount is the miscarriage of Justice that has occurred via th Tasmanian courts. There is so much in the investigation of his disappearance and sabotage of the yacht that was overlooked and neglected to be investigated to find the truth of what happened.  The answer my well lie in unidentified dna at the scene.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  01/04/15  at  08:45 AM
  134. If anyone wishes to make a comment on my previous or this post (or on any of my future posts) I prefer that they give their full name, qualification and/or profession so that I am aware of the background of the person to whom I may feel obliged to reply.

     It is likely that if I submit any further comments on this case that they will be of scientific nature. In particular, I am concentrating on the following two scientific aspects of the case:

    (i)  DNA

    (ii) Visual memory acquisition, consolidation and recall.

    I will address each of the above with respect to claims related to Ms Vass and Ms Neill-Fraser. I thought to provide a brief overview of visual memory given that Ms Eve Ash wrote the following on one blogsite (

    “Sarah did NOT identify a red jacket as her mother’s – she said she didn’t know, particularly as she had not that long returned from living interstate.  At the time, when Sue was in shock and medicated, she apparently didn’t recognise it but has conceded it may have been one of the many old jackets they kept for guests on the farm and yacht over the years.”

    “Sue was grieving and in shock, with a blurred memory and medicated with diazepam (valium) the morning Bob went missing.”

    I will not comment on any other matters.

    Regarding Rosemary’s comment (#133) about my previous post (#131): I am aware that Dr Chappell was a PhD qualified scientist (a physicist) rather than an MD! This is irrelevant to my suggestion that effort should be made to raise funds in order to conduct a more thorough underwater search than what has been done previously. It is plausible at this stage with what is known about the circumstances of Dr Chappell’s dissapearance that his body was most probably dumped in the river rather than elsewhere and therefore the search of the river bed is the first obvious place to start the search.

    Dr Peter Lozo
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Consulting Scientist (Perceptual Neural Dynamics)
    Adelaide, South Australia

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  01/04/15  at  04:18 PM
  135. #131. Peter some of us are hoping that Bob Chappell’s body will turn up on land and we will be able to determine if he was stabbed in the back with a screwdriver, or clouted on the back of the head with a wrench, or was actually asleep in bed when intruders entered and had his face punched in with a king hit. Could that be the “or something” to which the prosecutor referred?

    Meanwhile, some of us spend considerable time trying to balance the ‘speculation’ initiated in the trial. Without a body or an eye witness, it is speculation he is even dead. Even if we accept that is so, how he was killed is speculation.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  01/04/15  at  04:26 PM
  136. Dear Ms Giddings,

    I am not interested in hearing about hopes, personal feelings (or speculations) about this case which, because of their very nature, are very subjective and won’t lead to anything useful. Rather, as implied in my last post, I am taking this case on from an objective scientific perspective (as I did during my scientific investigation of the death of Ms Anna-Jane Cheney, i.e. the Mr Henry Keogh case in Adelaide, see my scientific comments on this at  and

    Thus, I am interested in seeing what science can achieve in resolving the dissapearance of Dr Chappell.

    Since Dr Chappell disappeared under sufficiently suspicious circumstances off his sailing boat whilst it was moored then the MOST PLAUSIBLE RATIONAL ASSUMPTION is that his body was dumped in water and that therefore the priority is to conduct a more thorough underwater search for the body.

    Dr Peter Lozo
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Consulting Scientist (Perceptual Neural Dynamics)
    Adelaide, South Australia

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  01/04/15  at  07:37 PM
  137. #134 I think a scientific viewpoint would be welcome. Would you have any idea, Dr lozo, of what cost would be involved in scouring the river as it is such a large waterway? I suspect it would be a huge cost and what certainty of success? A reward seems appropriate to encourage a person with knowledge of what happened to Bob to come forward and help narrow down a search for the location of Bob’s body. After 6 years any remains found may not even shed any more light on what actually happened, except to confirm death.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  02/04/15  at  03:37 AM
  138. #136. Dr Peter Lozo,Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist,Consulting Scientist (Perceptual Neural Dynamics), you seem to be missing the point. Granted your scientific expertise suggests to you that Bob Chappell’s body is on the bottom of the Derwent your objectivity doesn’t bear on the more important question of who put him there and how they did it, if anyone did.

    Posted by John Biggs  on  02/04/15  at  08:57 AM
  139. #134 Thanks Dr Peter Lozo for focussing your attention on facts.

    So everyone can get the facts right, can you please advise where/when Bob got a PhD as his Obituary doesn’t mention a PhD “He studied physics as a major in his Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours at Melbourne University…. in 2007 obtained his accreditation in Radiotherapy Equipment Commissioning and Quality Assurance at his first attempt” Obituary:

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  02/04/15  at  10:21 AM

    My specialty is visual perception (neural mechanism of visual perception and pattern/object recognition; see my bio at

    I can confidently tell you that the Four Winds dingy will be perceived as being grey when viewed from distance against the background of a larger boat that is also white but has a higher reflectance thus appearing to be brighter than the dingy. It is a simple fact of how our visual system perceives the brightness of the same object when that object is viewed against the backgrounds of different contrast!

    No wonder that some people perceived the same dingy as being white in a close-up photo, some perceived it as white light grey by looking at it directly from a very close  range (the young man who helped Ms Neill-Fraser on the beach at around 2pm) whilst those who perceived it as being grey or battleship grey were viewing it against the background of a larger and a brighter white object (Four Seasons). The darker colours on the dingy will contribute to the effect as well.

    I would gave thought that at least Eve Ash should have realised this given that she has a degree in psychology! It may help all of you to read about BRIGHTNESS PERCEPTION!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  02/04/15  at  12:38 PM
  141. You are right Eve. I checked with Barbara Etter this afternoon for I noticed that Bob was referred to as either ‘Dr’ or ‘Mr’.

    Thank you.  I appreciate your correction of my error.


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  02/04/15  at  01:25 PM
  142. This link is the original source for Bob’s Obituary (link in #139 needs replacing):*~hmac=e7b4b4fd02c661c4a7ba5069d2cf3c36bf32e69e3b540ebe4760181e1afa6b5b

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  02/04/15  at  01:38 PM
  143. #140 for the contrast effect that would make the white dinghy appear grey wouldn’t you have to know the weather conditions, sunny/cloudy, the time of day, and the position from which the observer was viewing the dinghy? Were you there at that time?

    Posted by John Biggs  on  02/04/15  at  03:48 PM
  144. #141. Mrs Barbara Zochling erroneously called Mr Chappell ‘Dr’. He treated her in the Royal Hobart Hospital so she assumed he was a doctor. She had the wrong lady on the wrong day, that’s why she said in court, “the lady in the box is not the lady I saw”. After she left the court room she pointed to Bob Chappell’s sister as the lady she had seen arguing with Bob on the beach. Bob took his sister out on the yacht the day before, 25 January 2009. This is not speculation. I was there that day in court.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  02/04/15  at  05:46 PM
  145. In the SNF support group, it is my unqualified opinion that, some are Intellectually Dishonest, and/or Career Minded, some are Fooled or Mistaken and some are simply Joiners or Followers and some, no doubt, sincerely believe the coppers, prosecutor, judge and jury did a lousy job, and may have got it wrong. And I guess, some would just not want to accept the verdict.

    My simple opinion (one of many) is - if you’re sincere about finding a missing loved one, there could not be a worse time to tell lies and deliberately mislead.

    #142 Eve Ash, from the writings of Dr Lozo, even comment that has mentioned you, it’s Mr Chappell’s title that gets a response? If your penning more as I play copper, I apologies.

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  02/04/15  at  08:11 PM
  146. #142 Eve that link doesn’t seem to work as it says ‘page not found’
    #140 I think you have hit on a good suggestion Dr Lozo re: ” Brightness Perception” and perhaps it could be applied to a revision of all reports of dinghy sightings as a proper scientific study that could include time of day/weather conditions/sunny, cloudy and distance etc. plus sightings in the dark.
    Once that was established one could then review the sightings on other criteria such as size, shape, commercial looking, weathered, new,  lee cloth or not etc. The more scientific evidence the better.
    Then compare that to the fact that 370 ml of fuel had been used. Factor in if the water was choppy or calm. (One witness says choppy water and others say calm) First exclude the known trips i.e. to take Bob out to the yacht then return for lunch with Bob’s sister then an after lunch trip. Then factor in the hypothesized trips including the one out to deep water and then we may be able to eliminate some of the speculation.
    The case really could do with some better scientific research.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  02/04/15  at  09:19 PM
  147. Interesting observations #145 on supporters of an inquiry into the unsafe conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser and having met quite a few of them personally I would disagree. What “lies and deliberately mislead” hindered finding Mr. Chappell? On the contrary much information was given to assist police, and some would say too much information was provided by Sue to assist in finding her missing partner. When the police wanted to hand back the yacht by 27th of Jan, a day later Sue insisted more investigation b done even to the point of hiring someone herself to assist. I would say that is a person assisting in the search.  But just on the example of “Intellectually dishonest” that could be well applied in so many ways to the “coppers, prosecutors, judge..etc” for example the learned judge in sentencing specifically refers to being influenced by the inadmissable luminal screening test, (which incidentally in the report and forensic evidence in court given said did not prove any blood at all), backd up by assist comm in her statement to the press some time later. I suppose one of the biggest examples would be the statement relied on by the judge in sentencing was that Sue Neill-Fraser scuttled the boat to hide evidence of her crime. Interesting,  she was convicted on circumstantial evidence, yet she scuttled
    the boat to get rid of evidence, which obviously there was none found.  So they had to rely on conjecture and speculation because made up scenarios were all they had. The supporters have enough to warrant a genuine concern for a miscarrriage of justice and no amount of insults to their feeble minds or ‘following’ mentality can take away from the incredible amount of deficiencies at all levels of the processes of our legal system that warrant an inquiry from independent Judicial officers preferably outside the insular Tasmanian legal system with the bias to protect against its failings.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  04/04/15  at  04:34 AM
  148. Search on Robert Adrian Chappell OBITUARY
    or try this link:

    Posted by Eve Ash  on  04/04/15  at  06:11 AM
  149. Fascinating reading #145 and #147 but where is this really going?

    I will soon provide a more plausible physical explanation of how Vass DNA got onto the deck of the Four Winds. As a scientist I cannot accept any of the explanations provided so far for they all have problems.

    I will then follow up with my promise to use science of how visual memories are acquired, consolidated and recalled in order to expose significant short-sightedness of some people who expect more honesty and better memory recall and reliability from a young homeless teenager of events 12+ months in her past than they do from a financially secure middle aged woman about events in her life that were a day old! I find this rather odd.

    Happy Easter!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  04/04/15  at  07:36 AM
  150. Dr Lozo

    Thankyou for your comments and voice of reason. It is about time that somebody applied some science and reason to the debate. At times it seems that Neill-Fraser’s proponents think they can free her on this very site (actual compelling evidence rarely gets a mention). And interestingly, despite the state’s claim that Neil-Fraser had money of her own, all her proponents appear to be selling something - books, DVDs - and it is my assertion that they have a vested interest in this issue continuing on in the same vein.

    All the arguments are cherry-picked and are misrepresentations of the truth. The homeless girl has been slandered to hell and back. And I’m sure these continual public protests - which wont make a lick of difference to Susan are bound to send the rest of the Chappell family to an early grave - or interstate. Some of the proponents ... blatantly lie on Susan’s behalf and maintain that she told only ‘one lie’ despite the fact that (one) sat through the trial herself and knows full well this is not true.

    And will any of this free Susan? No it wont. What Susan needs is actual evidence. Not half truths and ridiculous assertions that fire extinguishers float, witnesses (the ones they like)tell the truth but homeless children who gained nothing from her visit to Four-Winds is obviously a cold-blooded murder with an experts knowledge on how to sink a yacht.

    I won’t give you my real name because I have been burnt on this site before, but I will give you some detail - and hope you take my word for it.

    BA psych major (hons) - scholarship - University of Tasmania; 2 publications, both published in social science journals

    And yes, you are 100% correct about visual cognition. I was lucky enough to have a world-renown researcher into pattern recognition for visual perception units, so I took a great interest in the subject.

    I look forward to reading your assessment of the case of what is undeniably, a cold-blooded murder who made the grave mistake of believing she could outwit the entire police force, as well as the entire history of research into murder by spouses. Even if she had been bruilliant, statistically, it was always going to be her.

    Oh, and ignore the ad hominem arguments. I do. Bob was a physicist, so its reasonable to think he was Dr Chappell.

    Posted by Sel  on  04/04/15  at  06:45 PM
  151. #150 pity Sel you didn’t extend your studies to law. No one is suggesting the homeless girl as a murderer. The support group is an independent incorporated group. An expert sabateur would have done a proper job on sinking the yacht, hardly the work of an expert. There is more to the dinghy question than just colour. Discussion on the Bunnings visit whether a lie or confusion really doesn’t bear one iota on the actual crime. Perhaps Dr. Lozo could do an independent scientific test on the fire extinguisher as I am sure a similar one could be obtained for the experiment as he seems to have all the answers to the mystery. Most families with a member missing would care to find the truth just the same as most sincere enquirers in the general community including the supporters of Sue Neill-Fraser.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  05/04/15  at  09:42 AM
  152. Since I haven’t yet raised the issue of the fire extinguisher it is inappropriate to link my name to the item. If I do discuss the fire extinguisher then I will talk about the density rather than the weight. 

    My initial report on this case  (as in my investigation of another highly controversial case) will be submitted to the relevant authority and lawyers (in this case: Office of DPP Tas, TasPol, Ms Barbara Etter and Dr Bob Moles).

    For those interested in reading a summary of my scientific investigation into the death of Ms Anna-Jane Cheney (i.e. the highly controversial Adelaide case of Mr Henry Keogh) may check the following two websites:


    2.  - my comments appear at the bottom ( 23 Feb 2015 onwards).

    I am not medically qualified but you will note from my comments about the Keogh case that I have reviewed the opinions of a significant number of forensic pathologists and have found some serious issues in their reasoning and opinions. This is a case where Dr Bob Moles had a significant involvement with over the past 15 years. As you will note, I disagree with Dr Moles’ opinion on the Keogh case as far as the scientific/medical issues are concerned. 

    I understand that people can be passionate about what they believe in. I also understand that passion can override reason. I learned this a long time ago when I read about the Dreyfus affair. This case pulverised the French society at the turn of the 19th century. I highly recommend the book. 

    I don’t claim to have answers to all the scientific aspects of this case nor do I expect to get to that stage. I have been on this case only 2 weeks and am in the process of completing my first report on the case.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  05/04/15  at  02:51 PM
  153. Rosemary, You’re not suggesting the homeless girl is a murderer? Why bring her up at all then? Let me help. Its just a red herring then is it?

    In fact I think you’ll find Andrew Urban DID suggest she was a suspect. ... And the grounds he gave were the exact same ones used to say Neil-Fraser should NOT be considered guilty. Lying. The homeless girl has been hauled over the coals for lying. And regarding Neil-Fraser’s series of lies - nothing but excuses on her behalf - are offered. There is nothing scientific in this analysis. Its emotion, emotion, emotion - coupled with misrepresentation of the case. But you carry on misrepresenting the facts. None of them will free her. Only evidence will.

    And I think you’ll find that it has been well established that specific knowledge is required to sabotage the yacht in the way it was. A miscalculation of HOW long it would take to sink is a reasonable mistake for a sailing person to make. That would require being a mathematician.

    Regarding the fire extinguisher: there already is a video in the comments section, under a similar article, demonstrating that fire extinguishers sink like a stone.

    But you carry on with the armchair legal analysis. I’m sure you’ll have the case solved before long at this rate.

    Statistically speaking, when an adult is killed in Australia, almost 30% of the time it is done by a sexual/intimate partner. And women are way over-represented in this category as 80% of homicides are committed by men, but 40% of female homicides were inflicted on a family member. Of those women convicted of murder 66% had no criminal record. It is rare for a woman to murder a stranger. 80% of woman who killed their spouses, did so in the evening or night. The number of female minors who committed murder in Australia (out of approximately 600) was one. These statistics are a great help for police in investigating homicide.

    Posted by Sel  on  05/04/15  at  03:13 PM
  154. 151 - “Discussion on the Bunnings visit whether a lie or confusion really doesn’t bear one iota on the actual crime.”

    In fact any one issue doesn’t bear one iota on the actual crime.  It is a matter of viewing all the issues together that makes “a lot of iotas.”  The “Bunnings visit” was one of a number of lies told.

    Lies alone do not a murderer make, but when taken into cosnideration with all the other factors they are worthy of note.

    As for the fire extinguisher again - it was just one of the theories raised.  Supporters of Ms Neill Fraser seem to think this was a dirty trick on the part of the prosecution.  It would be a very dim jury that didn’t understand that the prosecution suggested a theory and to suggest this resulted in the guilty verdict alone is just plain lunacy.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  05/04/15  at  03:48 PM

    1. Since a lady called Rosemary (whose full name nor profession is known to me although I assume she has a legal background) has linked my name to a statement about the fire extinguisher in her post #151, I will briefly outline an approach that I would expect a well trained physicist to undertake:

    (i) obtain the last known weight of Mr Chappell 
    (ii) obtain the last known height of Mr Chappell
    (iii) obtain the last known photograph and description of Mr Chappell’s body (shape)
    (iv) on the basis of the above information derive (with the help of an anatomist) the density of Mr Chappell’s body
    (v) obtain (with the help of the Hobart Port Authority or a related agency) the density of water in the river up to about 5 km upstream and 5 km downstream from the Yacht Club
    (vi) with the help of a forensic pathologist determine the density of Mr Chappell’s body after the release of the gases due to body decomposition
    (vii) on the basis of estimates derived at (v) and (vi) determine the minimum estimate of additional density required to keep Mr Chappell’s body underwater
    (viii) On the basis of the calculations from step (vii) check if any items that were reported to be mising from the Four Winds match the minimum density requirement.

    Etc. Thus, physicists think and work in a very different way to the police officers, lawyers, etc.

    It will be quite some time before I even start working on this. Thus please do not associate my name with anything (such as the fire extinguisher) that I did not mention in any of my comments on this case. Thank you.

    As for the Dreyfus Affair: it was at the turn of the 20th century (rather than the 19th). I read the book in late 1970’s and it was my first reading about MoJ!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Aelaide, South Australia

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  05/04/15  at  07:54 PM
  156. #151. Hear hear Rosemary. This case is all about a matter of law and proper procedure, and the person to take note of in that event is an expert on law specialising in wrongful committal. Such a person is Dr Bob Moles and his judgement that a mistrial has taken place is compelling.

    Flaunting one’s credentials in marginally related disciplines is rather beside the point. There are a few contributors to this thread who could big note their academic qualifications in nonlegal areas if they chose to but that would be irrelevant (not to say tasteless).

    Posted by John Biggs  on  06/04/15  at  09:21 AM
  157. So lies constitutes guilt well then lets lock all our politicians up on that basis along with anyone else who lies ,this conviction is based on guesswork and speculation .What can be proved beyond reasonable doubt .Bob Chappell is missing presumed dead there is no proof of Foul Play no blood spatter consistent with a Murder. Read the trial transcripts ... That he was stabbed or bludgeoned to death no blood spatter again guesswork /speculation.I am not Family but this smells to high heaven.

    Posted by William Griffin  on  06/04/15  at  09:39 AM
  158. Oh yes I have the trial transcript downloaded on my mob phone and have read it a week ago. In fact most of my typing for this blog is done on the tiny keyboard of my phone!

    I met Bob Moles in his house for a discussion about this time 3 year ago in relation to another case (the Keogh case).I studied his writings pretty extensively (probably to a far greater extent than anyone on this blog) over the last 3 years. No doubt, Bob has a brilliant legal mind. But, he isn’t a scientist and yet has a tendency to over-interpret the statements of forensic pathologists or forensic DNA experts. I am not qualified to comment on legal matters so I won’t be drown into this aspect of the case. However,  I disagree with Bob on whether Ms Vass was on the Four Winds boat. My explanation will be in a report. I will post my explanation here after I submit my report to the relevant authority and lawyers I mentioned earlier.

    If any of you feel confident that your opinions are worthy of serious attention by the relevant authority then there is nothing to stop you from submitting your report on the case!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  06/04/15  at  12:09 PM

    Without giving away too much of my solution to the puzzle of how a single location on the Four Winds boat managed to get a strong RFU DNA signature (therefore from a liquid form) from a person who may not have been anywhere in the vicinity of the boat I leave you all with two simple questions:

    1. What sticky substance do you most often step on in shopping malls, footpaths, foyers, etc,  that has someone else’s DNA (in a liquid form) which you can later unwittingly deposit in your own car or home?

    2. If you guess the answer to the first question then the tricky question is why was there only one transfer onto the deck of the Four Winds? The clue here is the fact that the location of the sample is right next to the entrance gate onto the Four Winds (probably the very first or the second step away from the gate)!

    Good luck!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  06/04/15  at  02:33 PM
  160. Biggs, its obvious you have not read the comments properly because Dr Lozo asked for names and credentials, so I gave them to him. Hardly tasteless. More like manners, really. And then he can see that the comment that I left was commensurate with those qualifications.

    One does not need a law degree to ascertain whether or not any of the proponents of Neil-Fraser considered the homeless girl to be a suspect. One really only needs to be able to read the comments section of a newspaper. I find it curious that you would think otherwise.

    I have some doubts about the legal procedure but do not raise it much because I am not qualified.  I do not have any doubt of Neil-Fraser’s guilt, however.

    Posted by Sel  on  06/04/15  at  05:33 PM

    1. It is highly unlikely that the young homeless teenager was on-board the Four Winds given that there was only one location on a large sailing boat that had her DNA and that location was on the deck of the walkway right next to the entrance gate. This conclusion can be reached because there is no other supporting DNA samples (such as from hair) nor are there any fingerprints matching those of the young lady.

    2. Now imagine this scenario: 

       You spit out a chewing/bubble gum onto a footpath. Shortly later I step onto the chewing gum. The chewing gum sticks to the sole of my shoe without my knowledge. I then go into a shop and commit a crime without any witnesses and without leaving behind any of my own DNA or fingerprints or hair, etc. Forensic experts match your DNA to several places on the floor of the crime scene. You are charged with the crime. What would you do? 


    3. Saliva in the chewing gum will leave behind a strong RFU DNA signature on the deck of a sailing boat.


    4. Don’t you now think that perhaps the young lady deserves an apology from those who wrote with such confidence that “she put it there herself”?


    5. I will leave it to police forensic experts to experiment with chewing and bubble gums in order to verify or nullify my hypothesis. It could form a good basis for a significant research article in Forensic Science journals!



    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, South Australia

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  06/04/15  at  07:59 PM
  162. Having sampled this system when mistakes are made, the damage lasts a lifetime,as I have said many times to classes I teach the golden rule’s of investigation’s are:
    1. Follow all evidence to it’s conclusion even if it dispels a theory.
    2. Do not ignore evidence because it does not fit a theory.
    3. Only report what can be proved beyond reasonable doubt never report guesswork.

    Now in the Susan Neil-Fraser case what can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt is Bob Chappell is missing, Susan told a couple of lies. Susan was down at the river anything else is guesswork, speculation and fantasy.

    It is nowhere even on the DPP and Tas Pol’s best day enough to warrant a murder conviction so lets go through what can be proved. Bob Chappell is missing, does not prove he is dead or that he was murdered. Being down by the river proves nothing either, so in conclusion this is a very dangerous conviction because it is all speculation.

    Posted by William Griffin  on  07/04/15  at  05:54 AM
  163. No Mr Sel, whoever you are, you didn’t read my point on #156 that at this stage of the case it is not about the first order facts but about the due process of law. Thus, the fact that Dr Lozo resurrects US psychologist Harry Helson’s adaptation level theory of perception, first mooted in the American Journal of Psychology in 1947, is beside the point as it is inappropriately applied. Helson found that objects feel lighter than they are after handling heavy objects; likewise in visual perception light coloured objects look darker than they are against a white background, and that these effects can be quantified. That’s old psychological hat. But when you apply the general theory to a particular case you must, as pointed out in #143 and #146, take the given context into account: cloudy or sunny, time of day, angle of the sun, angle of the observer, perhaps even the motivation of the observer. Was Dr Lozo there to note those particular conditions at that specific time? I suspect not. In any event, that is only one small part of the evidence and in this case there seems to be insufficient data to know if the theory of adaptation level would apply as Dr Lozo claims it would. I am therefore not impressed with his imperious call for all contributors to state their full name (note that Sel) and qualifications or profession before he will deign to reply to them with his banner headlines “SCIENCE COMES TO THE RESCUE” (#140)! 

    The issue at this stage of the case is not flaunted expertise in science on matters of detail but expertise in matters of law. Some humanity and humility might also help.

    Posted by John Biggs  on  07/04/15  at  09:32 AM
  164. Dear Mr Biggs,


    I don’t need to have been there. I know the neuroscience data, theory and the psychophysical literature on visual perception and have given numerous talks (and several lectures to undergraduate students in psychology and honours students in cognitive science). I was taught by the world’s leading theoretician in vision and visual perception (Prof Stephen Grossberg of Boston University) via a course at the Wang Institute of Boston University in 1991; via my own reading and research in the field since 1991; and a PhD in the field; and then being on a 3 month research attachment to his department at Boston University in 2002.

    I leave it to Ms Barbara Etter to test out the simple effect in visual perception that has been known since Helmholtz.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientists
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  07/04/15  at  01:50 PM
  165. Its Miss, and none of the material on law processes or visual cognition has anything to do with me since I didn’t offer an opinion on it.  Feel free to copy any opinion I offer on legal process OR visual cognition. I’ll wait….

    It’s obvious by the reaction to Dr Lozo that people are not interested in the truth. So many of you have put him down at every turn; digs about his request to simply know who he is talking to (and hence how much can be expected of them), sarcy comments about psychology being ‘old hat’, a big drama about whether it is Mr or Dr Chappell, whether he personally witnessed the weather (or just get a weather report like every other court case in Australia,. Pathetic.

    Posted by Sel  on  07/04/15  at  01:51 PM

    (i) Lawyers, such as Dr Bob Moles, can stick to law. I will stick to science.

    (ii) If anyone wishes to challenge my scientific arguments then I expect them to have a scientific background in the relevant area of science I am addressing.

    (iii) I am not here just for the fun of it. I am learning something useful and am writing scientific reports. Barbara Etter (as well as your DPP and TasPol) will get my reports.

    (iv) I imagine that Barbara may find it useful to have an independent scientific perspective. In the two weeks since I have been on this case I have updated her on the progress of my work.

    (v) I am not interested in whether Susan Neill-Fraser is guilty or innocent or whether the law has gone haywire in its procedures, etc. As a scientist I have to stay as objective as I can. I thus cannot afford to get emotionally involved in one or the other side of the case. Hope you understand. Humanity and humility is currently irrelevant to rational scientific reasoning processes that I need to go through.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  07/04/15  at  04:07 PM
  167. GENERALITY OF VISUAL PERCEPTION (the Four Winds dingy)

    1. The same dingy viewed against the same yacht (Four Winds) will always look less brighter than the boat regardless of the weather!

    2. The same dingy viewed against another boat that is darker in colour than Four Winds will look brighter than in the first case!

    Therefore, the same dingy will be perceived to look different between the two conditions. 

    Thus, based on the application of science of visual perception to the witness statements that a grey dingy was seen at Four Winds between 4 - 5:30, one cannot exclude the possibility that Ms Neill-Fraser was on Four Winds at least until 5:30 pm! 

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  07/04/15  at  05:02 PM
  168. This is hilarious.

    An unscientific reading of the case with everyone falling over each other with their scientific credentials.

    Post 162 is a hoot as the contributor only manages to only contradict himself in his hypothesis.

    Ms Giddings you only have yourself to blame.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  07/04/15  at  07:12 PM
  169. #165 Sel, I too have noticed a peculiar reaction to Dr Lozo’s input. Being a New Town High School graduate from the mid 70s, I know what a rat smells like. And a guinea pig, but that’s not relevant for now.
    Playing copper again;
    The first person I need to speak to, apart from Mr Biggs, is a Quaker. And the question I will ask is….is Quakery a common thread through-out the SNF support group? Not saying anything wrong with that, just trying to dispel a rumor.

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  07/04/15  at  08:02 PM
  170. 168# glad you are entertained I do not have a Scientific background , but do have an investigation background 30+ years so everything on here is purely guesswork speculation as I have said and will repeat in simple terms that anyone can understand Bob Chappell is missing presumed dead anything beyond that is open to opinions but there are numerous possibilities of how this has happened and at the end of the day either way all of us on here are guessing and speculating this is why it is a dangerous conviction.

    Posted by William Griffin  on  07/04/15  at  10:21 PM
  171. Mark #169. I would appreciate if you were to use a more respectful tone of language. Please do not mention my name in your future postings. Thank you.

    Peter Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  08/04/15  at  08:58 AM
  172. HERNANDEZ TRIAL: Secondary DNA transfer via a chewing gum

    I think you may find this case of interest given that we have written about primary and secondary DNA transfers, particularly my chewing/bubble gum hypothesis in relation to the single DNA deposit on-board the deck of the Four Winds.

    It is claimed that Mr Hernandez’s DNA was transferred onto a shell casing by a chewing gum (earlier I erred by stating it was on the gun - I blame my grey neurons!)

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  08/04/15  at  10:28 AM

    1. An experienced scientist is well aware of the difference between Speculation, a Scientific Hypothesis and a Scientific Theory.

    2. Each of my  two main contributions here (about the perception of the “greyness” level of the Four Winds colour under different viewing conditions, and about the secondary transfer of DNA via the saliva in a disposed chewing gum) fall within the realm of being a Scientific Hypothesis for each one can be tested by experiments. It is only when supported by rigorous scientific experimentation that a scientific hypothesis becomes a scientific theory.


    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  08/04/15  at  10:58 AM
  174. CORRECTION: about the perception of the “greyness” level of the Four Winds DINGY colour ...

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  08/04/15  at  11:09 AM
  175. #171 ‘..This Monday, I intend to contact Tas Police (declare my interest, minimise interference ect) in regards to (the homeless girl) and her rights/welfare.
    This young lady, who is not even a police suspect, has been treated poorly by those that should know better…’- Mark Hawkes, TasTimes 5/9/14.

    Take my word for it, I don’t think much of the folk that, in a negative way, keep dragging out (the homeless girl’s) name. Pointing the finger. I hold my tone back!
    I don’t believe I have been disrespectful to you. Perhaps your speaking on behalf of others. Anyhow, I know how to apologies, if I think I’ve crossed the line. It wouldn’t be a first. If I post again, I will not be doing so with the thought of being censored.
    I will respect your wish (regarding your name) and thank you for your work. Hope it’s job done, and innocents left alone, ASAP. Cheers mh

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  08/04/15  at  11:40 AM
  176. Example of how the brightness of an object depends on the surround

    Perception of the brightness of a coloured shape changes with the background. These are in colour. You can set up your own examples with different shades of grey in powerpoint presentation if you wish.

    You can apply the same principle to your perception of this case. Your perception will be influenced by everything else you know about this case (or believe in) as well as by your emotional attachment. That is, your perception of this case will be influenced by the context of all other related neural activity in your brain.

     By reading this blog (and a few other blogs about this case) I noticed that some ladies have a strong emotional attachment on the side of Ms Neill-Fraser. It also happens that the same few ladies appear to be the most vocal about and the least understanding off the circumstances of a young lady who was 15 and homeless at the time Bob Chappell disappeared. Who speaks for her? It is time to reflect!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Editor’s note: Please no more capitalised sentences—please see the TT code of conduct

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  08/04/15  at  05:28 PM
  177. My conclusion on the single DNS sample on the four winds deck

    1. The DNA sample could have been deposited by anyone who by coincidence stepped on a discarded chewing/bubble gum elsewhere and at some later time stepped onto the Four Winds deck.

    2. Since there is only one DNA deposit location on the walkway (right next to the entrance gate) it is possible that the person noticed  that the shoe (or a thong) was sticking to the deck and therefore lifted the foot to remove the chewing/bubble gum before walking further. Alternatively, the person stepped onto the deck momentarily and then went back out of the gate.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  08/04/15  at  06:22 PM
  178. 170.  “Bob Chappell is missing presumed dead anything beyond that is open to opinions but there are numerous possibilities of how this has happened and at the end of the day either way all of us on here are guessing and speculating this is why it is a dangerous conviction.”

    So as all of us are on here are guessing and speculating you are saying this is why it is a dangerous conviction???


    1.  Even Ms Neill Fraser accepted Mr Chappell was dead.
    2.  Anything beyond that is open to opinions?  No - The Office of the DPP determined there was a circumstancial case and informed the police to charge.  It is your opinion that is different to a an office of senior legal counsel.
    3.  A jury was informed that they had to consider other possibilities.
    4.  Guessing and speculating has been the realm of those who are defending the accused.
    5.  If you have an investigative background why are you so vehement in disregarding evidence that tends to support the conviction.

    Interesting article in the Herald Sun;

    (I see you have had the chance to comment there too.)

    Posted by John Dodd  on  08/04/15  at  06:41 PM
  179. #176.Re the ladies. If I have counted correctly, there are 13 male contributors and 8 female contributors, a total of 21 people.
    Of the male contributors, 3 support the jury’s decision of ‘guilty’; 9 disagree and feel the verdict was unsafe; 1 scientist is neutral.
    Of the female contributors, 7 feel the verdict is unsafe and 1 doesn’t.
    Seemingly, all up 16 people feel the verdict is unsafe, 4 believe the jury got it right and the scientist says he is on neither side.

    Personally, I feel sorry for both Sue and the homeless girl. I spent 20 odd years working with offenders and not without compassion. Please read carefully what the homeless girl said in court and ponder what might have been unsaid. I do not suspect her of murder, but I cannot rule out her being a spectator to something too big for her to handle.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  08/04/15  at  08:45 PM
  180. John what ever your background is and would not be shocked for it to be Tas Pol is to use your own words 2. No - The Office of the DPP determined there was a circumstantial case and informed the police to charge.  It is your opinion that is different to a an office of senior legal counsel.Yes I might differ from the DPP But look at America at the moment how many circumstantial case’s that convictions including death sentences have been achieved.That are now being overturned ,in Victoria Colin Campbell Ross circumstantial case was executed now pardoned.What will happen if and indulge me here she does her time an somehow it comes out she was not guilty ,what pat her on the back and say oops these things happen . Senior Legal Counsel deemed there was a case to answer ok . ... The lead Investigator Insp Powell stated on National Tv she told lies and his gut told him, thank heavens we do not have a death penalty in play here .Why do I differ from you in my opinion I will say it in very basic terms there are to many unanswered questions on this case apart from Mr Chappell being missing Presumed Dead everything else has too many possibilities or variables .

    Posted by William Griffin  on  08/04/15  at  09:02 PM
  181. As I have said many times to classes I teach the golden rule’s of investigation’s are:
    1. Follow all evidence to it’s conclusion even if it dispels a theory.
    2. Do not ignore evidence because it does not fit a theory.
    3. Only report what can be proved beyond reasonable doubt never report guesswork.

    Now in the Susan Neil-Fraser case is there other possibilities yes,could be as simple as Bob Chappell went up on deck whether because he was feeling unwell or for fresh air and has fallen overboard hitting his head and drowned quite feasible or could have been murdered by people unknown or as you think by Sue Neill Fraser.  3 different possibilities all plausible there is your REASONABLE DOUBT straight away. If in the fullness of time I am proved wrong and I sincerely doubt that .I will be on here apologising but if I and others like me are proven right you watch the deafening silence from the other side.

    In closing Andrew Rules article I expect no better out of him on any of his articles.  .

    Posted by William Griffin  on  08/04/15  at  09:30 PM
  182. If SNF confessed tomorrow, would we all believe her?
    ‘There are a lot of psychological terms for the fact that people don’t like to change their minds; “motivated reasoning”, “confirmation bias”, “cognitive dissonance”. But you don’t need academic semantics to know that trying to get somebody to see things your way is tough if they go into the argument with another point of view. You argue the facts, as thoughtfully and non-confrontationally as you can, but the facts don’t seem to get you anywhere. The wall of the other person’s opinion doesn’t move. They don’t seem to WANT it to move.

    What’s going on there? Why do people so tenaciously stick to the views they’ve already formed? Shouldn’t a cognitive mind be open to evidence…to the facts…to reason? Well, that’s hopeful but naïve, and ignores a vast amount of social science evidence that has shown that facts, by themselves, are meaningless. They are ones and zeroes to your mental computer, raw blank data that only take on meaning when run through the software of your feelings.’ - David Ropeik (

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  08/04/15  at  10:18 PM
  183. 179 - So from a statistics perspective - Ms Neill Fraser is not guilty?

    180 - So having a knowledge of the legal system makes me a copper?

    Thankyou for enlightening me that there have been travesties of justice in the past.  (I would have never have known that.)  But statistics about other cases have no relevance to the determination of an individual case.

    181 - What sort of investigation only reports what can be proven beyond reasonable doubt?  Reasonable doubt is a definition that the courts do not attempt to define for a jury, so how can you tell what can be proven beyond reasonable doubt until it is presented to a court.  Rules of evidence dictate what evidence is admitted!

    Posted by John Dodd  on  09/04/15  at  06:24 AM
  184. My view so far is: 

    (i) I cannot rule out SNF out from being on-board the yacht at least until 5:30 pm on the 26th;

    (ii) The science of visual memory acquisition, consolidation and recall does not support SNF’s claim (and Eve Ash’s and Barbara Etter’s claim) that shock (and medication taken by SNF on late morning of 27th) would cause a significant anterograde amnesia to the extent that SNF would not remember the events of the afternoon and the evening of 26th. However, it would have affected her ability to form reliable memory for the events of the afternoon of 27th (and after that). All the evidence that I am aware off seems to support  my view that SNF in fact had a good memory of the events of the afternoon and the evening of 26th rather than having an anterograde amnesia. It is just that this memory wasn’t volunteered  by SNF to the investigating police officers but was gotten out of her only after she was presented with further evidence by the police that needed to be explained. SNF gave a detailed account of the phone conversation she had late in the evening with some gentleman. She also gave a detailed account of how a young man helped her with the dingy around 2pm on 26th. Therefore, I can confidently conclude that her memory of what she did in the period between those two times, in particular between 2pm - 8pm on 26th was, also engrained in her brain but she is avoiding this memory.

    (iii) SNF claimed to have walked several times between home and her car after the last phone conversation on the evening of 26th (claims to have taken a wrong set of keys). Why walk that considerable distance many times at very late time in the evening/very early morning and risk getting attacked? Why not take a taxi instead?? I conclude that SNF’s confusion, panic and irrational behaviour started after her last phone conversation that evening.

    (iv) I am not trying to claim that I believe that SNF was involved in a sinister activity concerning Bob’s disappearance. The problem is that I cannot yet find a reason to rule her out of a sinister activity!

    (v) I can confidently, on scientific grounds, rule out Meaghan from being on-board the yacht. Whether or not she lied in the court as to where she was and where she slept on 26th is irrelevant to my view of her innocence in this matter.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, South Australia

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  09/04/15  at  07:44 AM
  185. Well said Mark 182# when I teach new investigators or former police detectives I try and train them to be open minded not behave like a horse with blinkers on fixated on the obvious and look at all options. I am open to proof not theory or circumstantial, Rules of evidence I have seen your rules of evidence act, section 85 and 85a of the act get thrown out the window in clear breaches to achieve a conviction On statistics is she guilty ,don’t know don’t care but on the transcripts and evidence I have seen not likely and many senior legal people are of the same opinion.Yes previous cases have no relevance but the simple point I am making is mistakes are made when circumstantial cases are put to a jury and the cost of this case and others like it are not worth it. In closing a wise man once said those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.John you have your opinion I have mine in time one of us will be proved wrong.

    Posted by William Griffin  on  09/04/15  at  08:12 AM
  186. Dear Mr Griffin,

    I try to find something about each person via googling their name, hence why I ask that people provide their full name and profession (I read a lot about Eve Ash and Barbara Etter). Based on your statements here I gather that you are William Griffin of W & P Griffin in Melb who has experience and certificate level education in security, investigations, etc. 

    Since you are of a strong view that one needs a proof, I would like to ask you (and everyone else here) to read about the Kelly Soo Park case in US.

    Ms Park (a tall woman in her mid-late 40s at the time of the trial) was charged with the strangling murder of a young lady (21 from memory; shorter than Ms Park).

    There was a body and a crime scene.

    Ms Park’s DNA was found on the deceased’s neck, clothing, kitchen stove and on the inside knob of the main door of the deceased’s home, and on the deceased’s mobile phone. A single fingerprint on a broken china was matched to Ms Park. The victim was also covered in scratches and bruises.

    The police investigating also established a possible motive. 

    The only link between the two women was that the younger woman was in a brief relationship with a male employer (a wealthy medical doctor & business owner) of Ms Park. Thus, the two women, although never met in person, would have at different times been at the home of the doctor.

    Prosecution thought it was a slam dunk case! They had the body; the autopsy report said it was strangulation; lots of incriminating DNA evidence + one fingerprint!

    The jury found Ms Park not be guilty of murder! not guilty of manslaughter!

    Having lots of physical and forensic proof does not necessarily guarantee a conviction!

    The defence attorney used the secondary DNA transfer argument!!

    The fingerprint he said was on a china that the young lady took from the doctor’s apartment!

    Wow - a very clever defence attorney won the case rather than physical proof and forensic pathology & forensic DNA science & fingerprint matching!!!

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  09/04/15  at  10:45 AM
  187. Dr Lozo thank you first up let me say not everything about me is on the net,one of the problems with a Jury is you never know which way they will decide it is like Russian roulette.

    There have been cases where I have walked out court along others shaking our heads at the verdict my initial reading of this is it was a hell of a lot more solid case than the SNF conviction.

    On what I am reading so far and your comments there was more than a circumstantial case to convict the first part is there was a body with Ms Parks DNA on her neck and at the scene that as is stated on what I am reading had no other plausible reason to be found .

    Due to the fact they had not met prior to this incident

    As to secondary transfer I am not a scientist so will not comment on that although reading your postings have been very interesting on Secondary Transfer. But for the amount of DNA found at different spots at the crime scene surely there not trying to put all of it down to Secondary Transfer.

    Posted by William Griffin  on  09/04/15  at  11:32 AM
  188. Secondary DNA transfer argument  by the defence attorney during the closing argument in the Kelly Soo Park trial.

    The youtube video is 48 Hours Mystery - Hollywood Secrets -Juliana Redding’s Murder.

    Pay particular attention to the time segment 27 - 32 minutes.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  09/04/15  at  03:09 PM
  189. 185.  “you have your opinion I have mine in time one of us will be proved wrong.”

    Wrong - my opinion or your opinion is of little relevance.

    This is not about whether I am right or wrong, it is about the process.

    You say that the process involved in the decision was wrong and a number of people agree with you.  You use evidence of other miscarriages of justice to support this claim.

    I believe that logic is flawed and there was more than enough evidence to convict and rule out all of the other reasonable explanations you wish to come up with.  (Surprisingly there was a jury, judge, and court of criminal appeal that agreed with the process and a High Court that deemed there was no grounds for a higher appeal, but hey what would they know.)

    Even if later Ms Neill Fraser’s conviction is overturned it doesn’t mean that she didn’t commit the crime and it won’t make you right.

    Posted by John Dodd  on  09/04/15  at  04:44 PM
  190. #183 No John Dodd, the statistics were to show that more men than woman have misgivings about the verdict in Sue’s case. That is interesting because more women than men were able, or available, to attend the trial.

    Also, I will say again, I think there is a fair chance that whatever happened on board the yacht was a case of manslaughter, not murder. Whoever came on board believed the yacht to be vacant with no dinghy tied up to the side.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  09/04/15  at  05:31 PM
  191. Correction to my #184 regarding amnesia:

    I erred by typing anterograde rather than retrograde (my grey neurons are playing up; perhaps I am not paying much attention so may need a good break from this case!).

    That is: the shock and the medication taken by SNF on the 27th would not have had a significant enough effect on the acquisition and the consolidation of her memory for events experienced by her during the afternoon of the 26th for this to be used as a defence for lying to the police officers.

    However, the shock and the medication on 27th would have had a noticeable effect on SNF’s ability to pay attention and to reliably store new memories thereafter. Thus, on the 28th she would have had an incomplete and disorganised memory of the afternoon of the 27th (the day she took Valium).

    Just read Lynn’s post #190.

    Where and how does one come up with the following speculation?

    “I think there is a fair chance that whatever happened on board the yacht was a case of manslaughter, not murder. Whoever came on board believed the yacht to be vacant with no dinghy tied up to the side.”?

    The yacht was moored up to some 300m from land. Need to get there somehow! Not the grey dingy again! Plenty other unoccupied sailing boats much closer! A stranger may kill accidentally but why then take so much extra time and risk getting caught by taking the body off the sailing boat and lowering it into the dingy and then disposing the body off somewhere?

    Nice try Lynne. I am sorry but you need to analyse your scenario to considerable depth and then explain all the possible questions that a tough analyst such as I may ask of you. I am afraid that you are not displaying sufficient analytical skills.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    ps: am taking a week off!

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  09/04/15  at  06:57 PM
  192. 190 - The statistics were drawn from 21 people who have been drawn into comment on this matter online.  Of the woman who are commenting on this case here how many were at the trial? (1 I think - you) In any event statistical data has no relevance in determining the matter that we have all been debating.

    In relation to the second part of your post - what 191 said.  (no, not the week off bit)

    Posted by John Dodd  on  09/04/15  at  08:52 PM
  193. Thank you Dr Lozo for the link I will take time to watch it.John the high court only hears argument on points of law not on procedural matters or false ascertains being made.Unfortunately it will not matter what anyone else says you are set in your opinion.But you have educated me on one thing that is the problems faced by Barbara Etter and SNF and other cases in Tasmania where the conviction is questionable.I hope this new legislation about to go through Parliament starts fixing up the mistakes made. now I am off for a week

    Posted by William Griffin  on  09/04/15  at  10:15 PM
  194. Sel (#153):  What is the source of your statistics?

    I’ve been looking at the Australian Institute of Criminology ‘Homicide in Australia, 2008-10[Here].  This publication presents statistics and analysis for the period during which Bob Chappell disappeared.  Admittedly, the statistics largely give a national perspective, so we should/might keep in mind possible Tasmanian deviation from the norm.  I’m not a statistician, just a ‘Joe Citizen’ trying to do his ‘due diligence’.

    What did you mean with your “almost 30% of the time it [homicide] is done by a sexual/intimate partner.­  And women are way over-represented in this category as 80% of homicides are committed by men, but 40% of female homicides were inflicted on a family member… ” ?

    How are statistics such as those presented by you “a great help for police in investigating homicide”?

    I ask this because it seems to me that while your statistics would be useful in understanding homicides in which women are the offenders, I don’t see how a particular homicide investigation could be helped by knowing (for example) that “40% of female homicides were inflicted on a family member”.  Most people are members of families.  Presumably, most homicide victims are members of families, yet these family members are for the most part, killed by men, and in Tasmania, the source that I quoted above tells us that only 7% of homicides were “domestic related”.

    The AIC statistics, as I understand them, would not point towards a female intimate partner as the obvious choice when investigating a homicide of a male person.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  11/04/15  at  09:11 AM
  195. I am ending my further comments on this case with a copy of my email to Barbara Etter (with a cc to Eve Ash). I won’t be engaging in any further comments on this forum.

    Best wishes to you all. I do hope that your law changes to match SA’s. We have Dr Bob Moles to largely thank for his effort in helping SA adopt the changes to the appeal process.


    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Subject: SNF Case: An Independent Scientific Conclusion and Recommendation


    So far (in 3 weeks) I have addressed the following 3 issues:

    (i) visual perception (in relation to the witness statements - grey dingy);

    (ii) the science of visual memory acquisition, consolidation and recall (in relation to claims that Ms Neill-Fraser suffered from shock, anxiety and valium induced memory problems related to her activities on the afternoon that preceded the valium intake by at least 12-24 hours, i.e. retrograde rather than anterograde amnesia (I erred previously by typing in anterograde instead of retrograde));

    (iii) Secondary transfer of DNA (in relation to the forensic evidence concerning the homeless girl);

    Nothing that Ms Fraser-Neill’s supporters claim on her defence holds , in my opinion, up to close scientific scrutiny.

    My scientific recommendation is that you seek expert opinion  from three independent experts on each of the three scientific areas of concern.

    1. Grey dingy issue: get three independent professors with expertise in the psychophysics of visual perception to provide you with their opinion (which needs to be based on experimentation).

    2. Memory problems: get three independent forensic psychologists or forensic psychiatrists to give you their expert opinion on this.

    3. Homeless girl DNA: get three independent forensic DNA experts to conduct an experimental study on my chewing/bubble gum hypothesis. If two out of three can show that my hypothesis cannot be supported by rigorous experimentation then you may have something here.

    I imagine that the cost of the above may reach up to $250K (experimental work is expensive).  I assume that Ms Neill-Fraser’s estate isn’t frozen and can be used towards the above mentioned three areas of scientific investigation.

     I believe that the last issue is of significant scientific interest and ought to be published in forensic science journals given the lack of research into secondary transfer of DNA (I read several articles recently but there is nothing like this case).

    I hope that you have found my contribution of use even though it doesn’t support SNF’s innocence from being involved in a sinister activity concerning the disappearance of Bob Chappell. I am not qualified to comment on the law procedure so am keeping out of that aspect of the case.

    Best wishes,

    Dr Peter Lozo
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  11/04/15  at  11:58 AM
  196. Peter presented 3 theories over the course of his comments:

    1  that the dinghy seen at the Four Winds later on that afternoon was perhaps SN-F’s Quicksilver (#167):
    In #140, he outlined his view on the possible colour of the dinghy that was seen later that afternoon.  Actually, according to the evidence presented at trial, it is possible that there were 3 different dinghies, at 3 different times, moored to the Four Winds during that Australia Day.  The first was the Four Winds’ dinghy, called ‘Quicksilver’ and it had its name written on the side.  It had been used by SN-F earlier that afternoon.  But two other sightings were made later in the afternoon, in which the evidence suggested that Quicksilver was not involved.  Peter suggested in his #140 comment that our perceptions of colour are subjective and that the Four Winds dinghy (Quicksilver), usually thought of as (predominantly) white, could conceivably appear as ‘grey’ when viewed in the foreground of the larger Four Winds, which itself is commonly regarded (perceived) as white. 

    Something was missing from his account.  The identification of another dinghy was not made solely on the basis of perceived colour.  Paul Conde (see trial transcript p 428) told the court that not only was the dinghy - which he and two other persons saw late on that afternoon - not just ‘grey’ but that it was “battleship grey”.  He told the court that the dinghy he saw [in broad January daylight] was a large dark grey rubber dinghy, battleship grey and different also in shape and size.  When shown a photograph of Quicksilver, he told the court that what he had seen tied to the lee side of the Four Winds was larger than the Quicksilver dinghy, was not ‘as blunt’ [across the bow] and had a dark grey ‘lee cloth’, some 12-18 inches across the front of the boat (p 433).  Paul Conde told the court “the Quicksilver dinghy in the photographs is not the dinghy I saw at five to four on Australia Day last year.

    Theories of visual perception are one thing, but Conde’s evidence was detailed and cannot be dismissed as subjective in the way that Peter suggests.  There are other matters pertaining to dinghies on that day, which likewise do not hinge on ‘visual perception’, e.g., the tied-on position of a dinghy seen at around five o’clock, not by Conde, but by another witness who also gave some quite detailed evidence.

    2  that SN-F claimed to have anterograde/retrograde amnesia (#184/#191):
    This is simply incorrect.  DPP Ellis used the second term twice during the trial, though neither SN-F nor her defence used it, either directly or indirectly.

    3  that someone, not ‘MV’ came onto the boat with chewing gum on their shoe/thong. (#177):
    Peter called this theory (#161) a CHEWING/BUBBLE GUM HYPOTHESIS.  He later (#184) wrote “(v) I can confidently, on scientific grounds, rule out Meaghan from being on-board the yacht.”.  But he never told us what those ‘scientific grounds’ were.  A ‘chewing gum’ theory is possible, though implausible: the evidence goes against it.  Even the prosecution’s DNA expert admitted he could cite no case over the course of his career in which secondary transfer had occurred. (Check the trial transcript at P696,L15 – Mr Carl Grosser, Forensic Scientist).  Yet Peter asks us to accept that MV was chewing gum somewhere in Hobart (though he hasn’t determined that MV was/is a gum-chewer) and that her discarded gum was then stepped on by another person (while her saliva was still present on it) and that that person continued on their way, – not noticing the ‘chewey on their boot’ -  arrived at Sandy Bay, was ferried out to the Four Winds, climbed on board the vessel and immediately - and only then - noticed the ‘chewey on their boot’.  At this point - Peter would have us accept his conjecture (no evidence presented in support) - that this same unknown then immediately removed the chewey, and continued onto the vessel without leaving any further traces of the chewey/saliva (is chewey easy to remove?) or left the vessel without making a 2nd step.  In any case, Peter the scientist, ‘knows’ that this unknown person is not MV.  … How does he know?  If this is ‘rigorous’ science, then I ‘will eat my hat!’

    The Four Winds tender (dinghy) was/is white.  It had a blue horizontal ‘trim’ around its circumference with the name ‘Quicksilver’ prominently showing on the side.  I’m attaching a link to a photo [Here] which shows the same sort of dinghy.  As it happens, it’s beside a (larger) white yacht.  I’m no scientist, but I’d hardly call the tender ‘grey’ in comparison to the yacht.  I expect all levels of discourse on Tasmanian Times, but I also expect those who display scientific credentials below their name, to exemplify the same in the content of what they contribute in comments.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  14/04/15  at  11:03 AM
  197. #196 An excellent reply to the arrogance displayed in suggesting “the science” applied to a couple of isolated incidents will solve a hideously complex problem. As I suggested earlier and as you are now filling out in detail, you can’t just apply a theory top down in a complicated issue and say now we have the truth. We don’t. One tree, even two trees in this case, do not give the shape of the forest. A case of severe tunnel vision.

    Posted by John Biggs  on  14/04/15  at  01:01 PM
  198. Could the dna/chewy have been planted by Sue, as a way of misleading?
    In Andrew’s ‘Australian’ article, he wrote there was a clumsy attempt at sabotage. No there wasn’t, far from clumsy. Why write that?

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  14/04/15  at  07:48 PM
  199. There is no evidence of any chewing gum. Secondly how on earth could Sue obtain the dna of the homeless girl to plant? (Let alone know she would be on the police database? That was only worked out about 6 months later. Its all too far fetched to make any sense at all. It was clumsy in terms of its effectiveness for a start and the rough cutting of the toilet pipe would be no easy thing to do, if you have tried to cut through heavy duty reinforced plastic ( and in the dark). An ‘expert’ or someone with ‘intimate knowledge of the yacht” would have used that intimate knowledge and opened the cooling water valve on the motor, easier and quicker. The floor panels were removed by Bob for access to the electricals he was working on, so in plain view to anyone who got on board, so no special skill or knowledge needed there. So I think Clumsy sums it up.

    Would a person hoping to gain materially damage their own asset? If you take an overall view one cannot help but see too many inconsistencies in the prosecution speculation. As has been pointed out here in relation to the transcript. First there is evidence Sue doesn’t have the strength to do things and then magically she has super human strength when it suits the prosecution to say so. A bit more logic needed.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  14/04/15  at  08:49 PM
  200. ‘Sue was in Shock’ video: 

    Barbara Etter and Eve Ash talking about SNS’s memory problem:

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  14/04/15  at  08:57 PM
  201. Place the Four Winds dingy alongside the Four Winds yacht such that the dingy is somewhere in the middle along the yacht length and then get a number of people to view the dingy from between 50 - 300 meters away. Then come back here and tell us what they perceived in relation to the colour of the dingy. 

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  14/04/15  at  09:10 PM
  202. Some people who are shown the photo of the Four Winds dingy will perceive it to be white-pale grey rather than white!

    Psychologists have demonstrated that eye witness accounts are not as reliable as one would think.

    You will also note that one witness reported the dingy to be on port side (I think this was Conde) another saw it on starboard side.

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  14/04/15  at  09:28 PM
  203. #198 How could Sue plant the chewy? Are you suggesting she walked around waiting for someone to spit out their chewing gum?
    Believe you me, Sue had a more efficient and quicker way way of sinking that yacht had she wanted to sabotage it.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  14/04/15  at  10:03 PM
  204. Statement of Mr Balding (page 1028) - note his description of the colour of the Foyr Winds dingy:

    “I’m the coach of the Sandy Bay Rowing Club which is situated off Marieville Esplanade, Sandy Bay. At about 5:45am on the 27th January ’09 I arrived at the rowing club to take training. When I arrived Mr Farmer, who is the father of one of the rowers, told me that when he arrived he had found an inflatable dinghy floating off Errol Flynn Beach which is the beach between the end of Marieville Esplanade and the rowing club. I saw that the dinghy was tied to rocks beside the rowing club, it was grey with dark blue trim and had an outboard motor attached to the back.”

    Subject closed!!


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  01:42 AM
  205. Saliva is a strong source of DNA. During the chewing process, considerable volume of saliva gets mixed up with the chewing gum. A freshly chewed and discarded gum will readily adhere to the sole (or the heel) of a shoe (or a thong) and may not be noticed. The gum could have been on the carrier’s shoe for a while (a few hours) and still transfer sufficient saliva onto the single spot of the yacht when the foot hits the deck.

    Thus, there exists a plausible physical mechanism by which a significant amount of DNA from a person’s saliva can be deposited onto the Four Winds deck without it being via a direct (primary transfer). Therefore, in my opinion, the forensic scientist(s) from the Victorian Police Forensic Science Department were short-sighted in their conclusion. It is therefore premature for Bob Moles and Barbara Etter (and the rest of the SNF supporters) to assume that the homeless girl was on-board the Four Winds and on that assumption seek a review of SNF’s case or go as far as to say “Accordingly, there should now be substantial doubt about the safety of the Sue Neill-Fraser murder conviction.”

    It would help if SNF supporters read some relevant scientific literature in the areas I have addressed so that they are better informed!

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  02:17 AM
  206. 204 Nice work Dr Lozo.  That photo link was the poorest form of evidence (there was no knowing what had occurred to that photo before it was published.)

    199 and 203 - Can’t pick Mark’s sarcasm.

    203.  “Believe you me, Sue had a more efficient and quicker way way of sinking that yacht had she wanted to sabotage it.”

    Interesting.  Ms Neill Fraser’s identified that to you??

    Posted by John Dodd  on  15/04/15  at  06:33 AM
  207. #199 #203 Oh dear, after all that has been written, you both want to be bothered by what I, a nobody, has said?

    I can forgive Sue’s family for grasping at straws. But for others, I find it all a bit strange. But I now know evidence does not trump emotion, unless your able to think critically. And invested time and energy would make it even harder.

    I maintain it was not ‘clumsy’ sabotage, and picking up chewy and moving it would not be impossible, but probably didn’t happen, as the coppers would have given it some thought IMO.

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  15/04/15  at  07:52 AM
  208. Sorry, Gary. Have only just seen your comment. The statistics were gov statistics, one national & one had slightly more detail from South Australia.ngoogle them. They’re not hard to find. I said almost bcos it was a compilation of 2 sets of statistics with markedly different sample sizes. I was too lazy to weight them and find the result and reporting the mean would have been a lie.

    Thankyou for your efforts Dr Lozo and I’m sorry you received such a negative reception which doesn’t appear to have abated, despite my so bluntly pointing it out. Unfortunately the quest for truth has evolved into taking a ‘position’  and you are not the first to be treated this way.

    It is unlikely that Susan planted chewing gum on the scene. Whilst she didn’t need to know if (the homeless girl) had a criminal record (in fact it would have been better for her if the owner of the DNA was never identified, since they may have had an alibi) a deliberate planting is not easy to do & fool forensics.

    I wholeheartedly agree that (the homeless girl) deserves a public apology. Because it looks increasingly like a transfer, whether deliberate or not. This means. She never boarded the yacht (as she said). Which means, she didn’t lie. So even those who have not accused her of outright murder. Virtually all have called her a liar. This has been the essence of my protest (and Hawkes’) from the beginning. You have dragged an innocent girl (and her irrelevant criminal record through the mud). I feel for her. And the Chappells.

    Posted by Sel  on  15/04/15  at  08:38 AM
  209. #203 ‘Are you suggesting she walked around waiting for someone to spit out their chewing gum?’

    That is pathetic!

    ‘..Sue had a more efficient and quicker way way of sinking that yacht had she wanted to sabotage it.’

    Please share some more on this.

    Posted by mark  on  15/04/15  at  09:27 AM
  210. #199 There does not need to be any evidence of the chewing gum if the bond between the shoe and the gum is stronger than between the deck and the gum. What is to say that Bob himself may not have been the carrier?

    Thus there is a need for experiments to test the feasibility of my hypothesis (not my theory!).  The DNA experts from both the Tasmanian and the Victorian Police ought to have done a more thorough job (by experimenting on the yacht) rather than just sitting in their laboratories. At least the expert from Tasmania was more cautious in his conclusion than the experts from Victoria.

    #199 The Four Winds yacht was insured (pg 1233) so it wouldn’t matter very much to SNF whether the yacht was destroyed.

    As state in my conclusion: There is nothing in the defence of SNF that can stand up to a close scientific scrutiny.

    If anyone is keeping up with Barbara Etter’s website they will realise that I am primarily addressing her opinions (or the opinions made by Eve Ash) rather than the claims made during the trial.

    It would also help if people that have used the term ‘theory’ when referring to my posts looked up the definition of ‘theory’ versus ‘hypothesis’!

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  10:02 AM
  211. Just for the record, regarding Peter’s admonition at #205 ... (”It would help if SNF supporters read some relevant scientific literature in the areas I have addressed so that they are better informed!”):

    In my own case I have indeed read some of the relevant literature - including the scientific.  For example, in preparing my comment posted at #196, I researched a number of the concepts raised by Peter such as anterograde and retrograde amnesia, DNA, types of transfer, RFUs, and ‘visual memory acquisition’ which he mentioned in the course of his comments.  I read up on Adaptive Resonance Theory / LAMINART.  It is a most interesting subject.  I recalled how I’d written about colour perception in an amateurish way, back in the early seventies, using Uluru (Ayers Rock) as a beginning point.  These recent readings of course led me to Steve Grossberg.  For example, I went to his ‘Cortical dynamics of three-dimensional form, color, and brightness perception…’ from which I had to beat a rather undignified retreat and then I spent some time digesting his ‘Outline of a theory of brightness, color, and form perception’.  For light relief, I ‘sat in’ on the third of the ‘Linking Mind to Brain’ Grossberg Lecture Series (ICCNS’04) and put some effort into relating Peter’s dinghy statements to Grossberg’s theory.  Incidentally, watching Grossberg’s lectures via my computer recalled to me my undergraduate days and difficulties with visual perception due to lecturers’ poor overhead projectors and poorly sized transparencies.

    In any case, Peter’s premise - that matters such as perceived brightness and colour are influenced by factors such as contrast - is neither new nor in dispute.  My guess is that most of us who have ever lifted a paint brush would have formed this view long ago.  However, Peter’s attempt to explain the Conde sighting in these terms failed to account for Conde’s evidence about the size, difference in shape of the dinghy and the presence of the lee cloth .  So regretfully I had to put aside my Grossberg, it now sits on my shelf next to a box which is labelled ‘Hypotheticals and Other Inventions’.  It’s not a large box … doesn’t need to be ... it contains formless items such as wrenches, screwdrivers and bubble gum.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  15/04/15  at  12:13 PM
  212. #204 No, Dr Lozo, the subject is not closed.

    There were various descriptions of the dinghy. Of far more interest than Mr Balding’s statement is that of Mr Christopher Liaubon who actually helped Sue launch it after lunch when the outboard motor was stuck in the sand. He called it ‘white light grey Zodiac’. This goes some way to prove your point. But these statements about the dinghies were not taken on 27th January, and most people become confused even a few days later.

    But Mr Paul Conde’s ‘confident’ description was of a dark grey rubber dinghy, ‘battleship grey’, different from the one in the photo of the Quicksilver - larger and with a lee cloth, a bow that was pointed, not blunt, and a ‘commercial look’ about it. He stated, ‘the Quicksilver dinghy in the photograph is not the dinghy I saw at five to four on Australia Day last year’. Because this evidence did not support the Crown’s case it was dismissed in court as ‘But how stupid would they be to rely on the description of a single witness, however cocky and confident he was’.

    #210 Dr Lozo, I suggest that you look at the ‘Transcript of the Trial’ page 288, line 4, and page 741, line 16. Would it make any difference if I told you, that person came to court and was recognised by Sue as the same person?

    #209 Mark, I believe there was a large cooling water valve on the motor that would have been more efficient and far less clumsy.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  15/04/15  at  12:48 PM
  213. Dear SN-F supporters and non-supporters,

    Given the extent of my recent involvement in the SN-F case and in particular the new scientific based areas of discussions & debates that arose out of my three areas of input, I would be more than delighted to take a trip to Hobart and present a seminar titled:

    “Perception of object colour, brightness and size and its relevance to the SN-F case”

    If Barbara Etter and/or Eve Ash (both of whom have my contact details) are interested in inviting me and in raising the necessary funds to cover my trip then that would be the most effective way for us to get to a common scientific understanding of the eye witness statements concerning the various sightings of the ‘alleged’ Four Winds dingy. 

    I am sure that the mother of your former premier would ensure that I am treated well!

    #212 Lynne, Thank you but it is irrelevant. All it goes to support is what professors of psychology have demonstrated so many times: eye witness accounts are not as reliable as we think! I have the benefit of being well read in various brain sciences including the psychology and neuropsychology of human memory and don’t need to dwell on trivialities.

    Best regards,


    Dr Peter Lozo
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Consulting Scientist (Perceptual Neural Dynamics)
    Adelaide, South Australia

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  04:08 PM
  214. Conde’s eyewitness statement (as well as all other witness statements concerning the dingy) needs to be analysed with respect to the physical context, geography and the time of day.

    For example:

    (i) it is claimed by all that Four Winds was moored such that its bow was facing approx in a southwesterly direction;

    (ii) Conde stated that he was travelling towards the Yacht Club and that he saw a grey (or battleship grey) dingy tethered to the PORTSIDE of the Four Winds yacht;

    (iii) based on the above two points (coupled with the geographical location of the Four Winds) we can conclude that Conde was travelling in a westerly direction;

    (iv) based on the above and the time of the day (around 4pm) we can conclude that Conde would be looking towards the direction of the sun (even if it was an overcast day). The dingy would thus be seen somewhat in a shade of the Four Winds yacht and in a choppy swell.

    (v) Although the distance from which Conde saw the dingy isn’t known to me, given that even in the light of an early morning a human ( Mr Balding) perceived the Four Winds dingy to be grey it is QUITE POSSIBLE that Mr Conde may have been looking at the Four Winds dingy.

    (vi) Conde also stated that he saw a large dingy. He estimated  it to be 11-12 feet in length (this matches the actual length of the Four Winds dingy). It is not known to me how he estimated the length (probably used a reference of some known size on the Four Winds yacht);

    (vii) However, when Conde was shown the photo of the Four Winds dingy he underestimated its length by several feet!

    (viii) One thus cannot assume that the eyewitness statements are accurate for it depends on the environmental conditions, geography, etc, etc. 

    (ix) It would gave been far more productive for the Court to have taken the jury out to the river and presented them with the same scenario as described by Conde (using the Four Winds dingy and the Four Winds yacht in the same same relative positions as reported by Conde).

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  05:04 PM
  215. Correction to my #214: ‘southwesterly’ should be ‘southeasterly’ on point (i)

    P. L.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  05:35 PM
  216. Therefore: it it can be demonstrated via experiments that the Four Winds dingy cannot be perceived to be grey looking by the majority of experimental subjects (say 10) in a similar physical and time of day scenario as that described by Conde then Ms Susan Neill-Fraser ought to get out-of-the-jail ticket!

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  06:34 PM
  217. 212 “Mark, I believe there was a large cooling water valve on the motor that would have been more efficient and far less clumsy.”

    And who provided that information to you?

    216.  Not sure I agree that experiement would negate all the other evidence.

    Note: I have pointed out that Mr Conde estimated the size of the dinghy he saw, at the same as the length of Four Winds Dinghy, before.  (It was only when he saw the photo of the Four Winds Dinghy he stated that it was smaller than the one he actually saw).  It is a reasonable hypothesis, given all the evidence that Mr Conde was mistaken about the dinghy.  It seems that rational arguments are lost on this forum

    Posted by John Dodd  on  15/04/15  at  08:12 PM
  218. How did the “Unscientific Reading” become a Scientific Debate?

    Anyway: I think that some of you may have arrived at a trivial insight by now that perhaps the so called “lee cloth” that Conde claimed to have seen may in fact have been a shadow from some structure on the Four Winds yacht!

    Thus, a very simple geometrical analysis has led me to propose a hypothesis that Mr Conde’s perception may have been that of a shadow on the bow of the dingy which he interpreted as being the lee cloth! His perception of the shape of the dingy (particularly the bow) wouldn’t have been accurate either.

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  08:36 PM
  219. #217 Mr Conde estimated the true Four Winds dingy from its photo to be 8 - 9 feet in length. He never changed his mind about the length of the dingy he saw tethered next to the Four Winds (which he estimated to be 12 feet).

    It isn’t easy to estimate the length of an object from a photo unless the photo contains other objects whose size is known.

    P. L.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  08:45 PM
  220. #217 All the other evidence can be analysed further. In particular the sighting at between 11:30 pm - 12:00 am.

    I am still grappling with the timing issue given the ATM footage at 12:25 am. Something here is out of kilter. Either it wasn’t SNF’s car; or the ATM clock was one hour out; or the witness’ time is one hour out; or it wasn’t SNF in the dingy. Do you have any rational explanation on this??

    P. L.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  15/04/15  at  09:05 PM
  221. #218, No, Dr Lozo, some of us have not come to think that the lee cloth was a shadow.Under cross-examination Det. Serg. Conroy revealed that the prosecutor had requested him to re-interview Mr Conde. In this interview, he described the width of the dinghy as being ‘beamy’ which apparently meant it was too wide to fit the storage racks for tenders at the Yacht Club. He described the dinghy he saw as older, worn, faded and scuffed. He even drew a diagram of the vessel, considering it to have a more pointed bow than the traditional stub nose or flat-nosed bow and he again mentioned the lee cloth. He also made an interesting comment: it was not something you would expect of a pleasure craft, or something that would be put on a yacht, it had “more of a commercial look about it”. How different does it have to be for you to realise that it was not the Four Winds dinghy? When proposed by the defence counsel, the detective sergeant agreed that, in lay terms, “the trail is now somewhat cold to try and track down the owner or operator of that dinghy”.

    #220. Stop grappling, Dr Lozo; you’ve got it: it wasn’t Sue’s car and it wasn’t Sue in the dinghy. That’s the rational explanation.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  15/04/15  at  10:27 PM
  222. #221 Lynn, An experiment can be set-up to test the validity of my hypothesis.

    You are too emotionally involved and are willing to debate every issue with me! I read that you visited SNF whilst she was in prison waiting for the trial. You were also at the trial. You seem to believe in her innocence beyond reason! I am using careful scientific analysis and yet you are throwing it all out of the window. You need to realise that one cannot trust eyewitness accounts!

    Have you found out what Conde meant by a “commercial” for I have no idea what that means? I don’t think he was asked. It is inappropriate of a witness to interpret what he saw. His role was to describe what he saw. The Four Winds yacht and its dingy still exist. If Barbara Etter is keen on testing whether or not the dingy will be perceived as being grey then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to test this out. If the dingy colour is not perceived to be grey then, as I stated earlier, your friend Susan ought to be freed on bail pending further investigation.

    #220 Thank you for the advice Mrs Giddings. I haven’t got it yet! Perhaps you have. Your rational explanation may not be the same as mine and may be limited in scope because of your emotional attachment.

    P. L.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  16/04/15  at  07:43 AM
  223. On the Fallibility of Human Memory and Eyewitness Testimony

    Please read this brief article ( One/fisher&tversky;.htm). Below I copy the first three paragraphs of the article.

    It would have been very useful (in fact a critical bit of information) had Mr Conde estimated his position and distance from the Four Winds yacht at the time he was looking at it. 

    As for a commercial dingy: I don’t know what others expect but I expect at least a reasonably large outboard motor (something larger than the one on the Four Winds dingy). Mr Conde described seeing a large grey (battleship grey) dingy with a tee cloth some 18 inches along the bow of the dingy but he didn’t see the outboard motor. OK it was a choppy swell but wouldn’t one notice a large outboard motor  (or some insignia on the dingy) that would indicate a commercial dingy??

    P. Lozo


    The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony

    a talk by 
    Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology


    George Fisher, Professor of Law

    Stanford Law School, April 5, 1999. In a presentation sponsored by the Stanford Journal of Legal Studies, George Fisher placed Barbara Tversky’s research on memory fallibility into the context of police investigations and jury verdicts, discussing the relevance of such research to our system of justice.
    The bedrock of the American judicial process is the honesty of witnesses in trial. Eyewitness testimony can make a deep impression on a jury, which is often exclusively assigned the role of sorting out credibility issues and making judgments about the truth of witness statements.1 Perjury is a crime, because lying under oath can subvert the integrity of a trial and the legitimacy of the judicial system. However, perjury is defined as knowingly making a false statement—merely misremembering is not a crime.2Moreover, the jury makes its determinations of witness credibility and veracity in secret, without revealing the reason for its final judgement.3Recognizing the fallibility of witness memories, then, is especially important to participants in the judicial process, since many trials revolve around factual determinations of whom to believe. Rarely will a factual question result in a successful appeal—effectively giving many parties only one chance at justice. Arriving at a just result and a correct determination of truth is difficult enough without the added possibility that witnesses themselves may not be aware of inaccuracies in their testimony.
    Several studies have been conducted on human memory and on subjects’ propensity to remember erroneously events and details that did not occur. Elizabeth Loftus performed experiments in the mid-seventies demonstrating the effect of a third party’s introducing false facts into memory.4  Subjects were shown a slide of a car at an intersection with either a yield sign or a stop sign. Experimenters asked participants questions, falsely introducing the term “stop sign” into the question instead of referring to the yield sign participants had actually seen. Similarly, experimenters falsely substituted the term “yield sign” in questions directed to participants who had actually seen the stop sign slide. The results indicated that subjects remembered seeing the false image. In the initial part of the experiment, subjects also viewed a slide showing a car accident. Some subjects were later asked how fast the cars were traveling when they “hit” each other, others were asked how fast the cars were traveling when they “smashed” into each other. Those subjects questioned using the word “smashed” were more likely to report having seen broken glass in the original slide. The introduction of false cues altered participants’ memories.


    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  16/04/15  at  09:59 AM
  224. #222. Dr Lozo, I visited Sue in prison when she was refused bail and remanded in custody because I had been a prison welfare officer for 5 years. I knew something of the shock and helplessness people feel when those gates close behind them. That was my first conversation with Sue; we had a two-hour visit.

    I went to the trial indifferent and dispassionate, with an open mind, and was shocked at what transpired. I have a strong sense of justice and fairness and, after Mrs Zochling told the court that ‘the lady in the box’ was not the lady she had seen arguing on the beach with Bob Chappell, and it was not corrected, I began to feel very uneasy. Until then, working in the Justice Department as a probation and parole officer, I had been proud to be part of the justice system.

    The Sue Neill-Fraser Support Group, although individuals in the group might, are not saying that Sue is innocent but point to an ‘unsafe verdict’ and ‘so much doubt’. We are hoping that the new legislation being introduced in the September sitting of parliament will open an avenue, not only for Sue but others in the future, to have their cases reviewed. We are concerned that the current draft legislation is too restrictive; it needs to go further than mere ‘new and compelling’ evidence. How is Mrs Zochling’s evidence corrected when she had the wrong woman on the wrong day? It is not new evidence; it was available at the time.

    And finally, having lived and worked among Seventh Day Adventists in Papua New Guinea, I never thought Lindy Chamberlain murdered her baby. It was not the initial magistrate at the first inquest that got it wrong; it was a scientist, a forensic scientist, too closely aligned with the police. Then it was a tourist who fell off The Rock and died who facilitated Lindy’s release.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  16/04/15  at  01:45 PM
  225. ιδού η ρόδος, ιδού και το πήδημα

    Stannus translation:  ‘here is Rhodes, here you can jump it’.  (rendered elsewhere ‘hic Rhodus, hic saltus’ and ‘… ‘hic salta’):  this is best explained by a short look at the following article
    [Here].  I would say to Peter: ‘stop talking about how you are a scientist, rather,  show us!’

    When I saw Peter’s “Correction to my #214: ‘southwesterly’ should be ‘southeasterly’ on point (i) P. L.”  I raised my eyes to the heavens.  Not another correction!  This is not science, this is a pantomime!  My initial reaction to Peter’s extraordinary series of inept and inane comments, with their specious demands and unfulfilled promises, was that it was a ‘wind-up’ – that is, that someone was having fun at the expense of the rest of us on this thread - this could still be the case. 

    But as the comments kept coming, I began to be concerned for the author himself.  The email (contained within #195) that Peter sent to Barbara Etter was inane in its prescriptions:  he tells Barbara that

    ... in three weeks … he has addressed three issues … and recommends three expert opinions … on each of the three scientific areas of concern … this will require (he tells Barbara) three psychophysicists … three forensic psychologists or three forensic psychiatrists … and three forensic DNA experts (these last three) to conduct experiments on bubble gum

    In that email Peter refers to his anterograde error (made here at #184 on Tas Times and corrected by him at #191):

    (ii) the science of visual memory acquisition, consolidation and recall (in relation to claims that Ms Neill-Fraser suffered from shock, anxiety and valium induced memory problems related to her activities on the afternoon that preceded the valium intake by at least 12-24 hours, i.e. retrograde rather than anterograde amnesia (I erred previously by typing in anterograde instead of retrograde));

    Peter’s reference – in his ‘scientific report’ to a typo that he made in a TT comment is astonishing.  Barbara Etter has made no comments on this thread and I must point out that despite Peter’s assurances to the contrary, I can find no instance of Barbara raising any form of amnesia (be it anterograde or be it retrograde) as an explanation for discrepancies in the statements that SN-F made to police.  I remind Peter that at no time – and this includes her evidence at trial -  did SN-F made any such claim of amnesia and in fact it was the then DPP who tried to insinuate it into the architecture of the trial proceedings.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  16/04/15  at  01:53 PM
  226. .../
    However, Peter’s contributions here – supposedly made with the force of science, but characterised by lack of referencing, lack of explanation though accompanied by disordered observations– have reached their nadir in his overdue recognition-by-denial that the 3:55 pm dinghy was not the Quicksilver, denying not only its perceived difference in colour, not only its difference in size, but also its difference in age, shape and its having a lee-cloth at its front.

    Peter seeks to have us believe that this lee-cloth – observed by Paul Conde – was a shadow!  … Such is (his) science!

    Earlier he told us that he didn’t need to know the weather (i.e. light conditions at 3:55 pm that day) and it would seem reasonable to me to wonder how on earth he can ascribe an experienced sailor’s definite identification of a lee-cloth ... to a shadow.  I write this, given that Paul Conde gave in evidence how he saw the dinghy “rafted up alongside” the Four Winds and that the Four Winds itself was “

    actually facing in a south easterly direction – pardon me, the stern was facing the shore.(P426, L45)

    ”  Given the time of year (one month plus a few days past the summer solstice), and accounting for daylight savings, it is reasonable to think that even if the sun was shining (and casting shadows) its position was such that the Four Winds could not cast a shadow onto a dinghy tied up onto its port side, at that time of day, or if there were any shadow line at all, it would have run along the length of the dinghy, rather than across its bow, as Peter would seem to have implied.  In any case the weather data tells us that it was mostly cloudy during that part of the day, according to this available record [Here].

    If you asked me, in a quiet moment, what I reckoned about Peter’s theories of perception, I’d reply that notwithstanding Zola’s famous ‘J’accuse’, Dreyfus etc with which Peter says he is familiar (and so too am I), I’d suggest Peter had been over-indulging on Huxley, who is remembered for his ‘Doors of Perception’ and is hopefully remember by some on TT for this and other of his works, such as ‘Brave New World’.  Mescalin is described as a psychotropic drug.  I’d suggest that any ‘modern day’ researchers of notions of perception should use it sparingly and with care.

    Posted by Garry Stannus  on  16/04/15  at  01:56 PM
  227. Dear Mr Stannus and Mrs Giddings,

    1. I don’t know what your purpose is here other than to disagree with those whose opinions you perceive to be in the opposition to the view held by the SNF support group.

    2. I am waiting for the “big intellectual guns” of the SNF support group to challenge my scientific reasoning and opinions. I consider the following three people to be the big intellectual guns of the SNF support group:

    Barbara Etter

    Eve Ash

    Bob Moles

    Each of the above three (particularly the first two) have received a number of emails from me. I am still waiting for their challenge!

    3. You may not have realised that I am now offering a scientific challenge to the forensic scientist(s) of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department on their scientific conclusion regarding the DNA of the homeless girl. It is short-sighted, incomplete and lacks imagination.

    4. You may not know but I have previously offered a scientific challenge (via Ch 7 in Adelaide) to two pathologists in relation to their expert opinion on the Keogh case. 

    5. Thus, I am not interested in your non-scientific and non-objective opinions on my own scientific and objective writings posted here. Please do not respond to my posts unless you have a valid scientific point to make for I am not interesting in your non-scientific arguments! Thank you very much.

    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  16/04/15  at  04:11 PM
  228. A challenge to all:

    Now, most of you are far more familiar with the SNF case than I am (this is my fourth week since I heard about the case).

    But I have observed something about the Four Winds yacht on a youtube video that no-one has written about.

    Take a very good look at the 60 minutes (Justice Overboard) program and tell me what do you notice about the yacht. As a physical and a perceptual scientist I noticed it straight away and that something is so central to my visual perception argument but this time it is the yacht rather than the dingy that I am focussing my attention on.

    P. Lozo

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  16/04/15  at  05:09 PM
  229. Lynn, is Charles Wooley correct and Tim Chappell mistaken? I would think it more likely Wooley is mistaken. Do you know if Bob stayed on the yacht without a tender on any previous occasion? I thought Sue was bothered by leaving Bob alone on the yacht.

    ‘Bob decided to stay on board alone, overnight, which wasn’t unusual.’- (Charles Wooley 60min)

    [Timothy told the court he was surprised that his father would choose to spend a night aboard the yacht without a tender. “He was extremely safety conscious,” he said.]

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  16/04/15  at  10:13 PM
  230. #229, Mark,  I cannot answer your question categorically one way or the other. Wooley and Tim might both be right to an extent.
    Sue told me that she was backwards and forwards to Bunnings and K & D leaving Bob on board without a tender many times. She said motor taxis were passing that Bob could have hailed and he could swim, if he had to; I guess she wasn’t away too long if she went for paint and hardware items. I cannot say if he chose to say on board overnight prior to Australia Day.
    Sue told me about the valve being the easiest way to sink the yacht.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  16/04/15  at  10:52 PM
  231. 209 ‘..Sue had a more efficient and quicker way way of sinking that yacht had she wanted to sabotage it.’

    230 “Sue told me about the valve being the easiest way to sink the yacht.”

    Can you tell us if she actually went to Bunnings and K and D??

    She also had left him a mobile phone.  Funny she didn’t just ring him on that instead of going to the water to check on the boat.

    224 “I went to the trial indifferent and dispassionate, with an open mind”

    Did you - or is Dr Lozo right and are you too emotionally involved??

    Posted by John Dodd  on  17/04/15  at  06:33 AM
  232. #230 Cheers for reply Lynn. Eve Ash and others like to make a point of referring to Four Winds as a ‘luxury yacht’. A bit of a stretch to suggest all was well IMO. Sue bought a heap of work It would seem. I can’t help but note SNF supporters do like to sugar coat in favour of Sue. Probably typical human behaviour,  I may be guilty of the opposite.

    Posted by mark hawkes  on  17/04/15  at  07:33 AM
  233. #231 These imputations of emotional involvement are patronising and insulting—not to say totally unscientific.

    Posted by John Biggs  on  17/04/15  at  08:44 AM
  234. #231 and #232 John and Mark, This is my final comment on this thread. I can promise you, I went to the trial with an open mind. I was conscious that aristocrats, like Lord Lucan, can murder (?) and disappear. So I went with no prejudice that people of some heritage and income would automatically have clean hands. In the trial, it started with Mrs Zochling that I began to think, “Hey what’s going on here”? Then I listened to Mr Hughes who wasn’t sure if he was sitting in the car, or standing beside it when he saw someone in a dinghy who looked like a female, but finally in court he wasn’t sure about that either. Then we had confusion of dinghies, then we have another person with a record saying he might have asked the police, would his coming forward for this case help him with his other charges. Believe you me, slowly through that trial I became more and more concerned about our justice system and by the end of it and the closing speeches, I was very much on Sue’s side.
    I am not dispassionate now, and you can throw what you like at me. It is a badge of honour to stand up for fairness and justice, because Justice for Sue will be justice for all Tasmanians.

    Posted by Lynn Giddings  on  17/04/15  at  10:03 AM
  235. #4 the photo of Sue referred to in the article was taken by Sue’s sister in law in front of yachts at the yacht club 26 January 2009.

    The photo you are referring to Ben, is the one in the mercury taken after the boat was found sinking.

    Wrong photo on the wrong day!

    isn’t this the main problem of Sue’s unfair trial?

    plus making up things out of nothing?

    such as the bandage turned out to be a bandaid

    Posted by Rosemary  on  17/04/15  at  10:52 AM
  236. How far have we strayed from the original article?

    “I do not want to comment on the legal or forensic issues this time, simply speak from the heart as a spectator who sat through the trial and occasionally visits Sue in prison; this is more about feelings, than facts.”

    speaking about feelings, and the heart, is emotional

    perhaps a new topic and thread should contain the unemotional science

    Posted by Rosemary  on  17/04/15  at  11:09 AM
  237. Hi All,

    Well said Rosemary #236. We do agree on something, finally!  

    Given that some of the contributions are dwelling on the more humane aspects of the case (the emotional and the first hand subjective feelings and perceptions) that Lynn writes about whilst on the other extreme some of the contributions are directed at the objective and rational analysis (that in some cases rely on advanced knowledge of a few sciences) it would be more appropriate that the moderator/editor of this blog creates another thread titled “A Scientific Reading of the Case”.

    I will kick off sometime next week with my analysis of the time period 10:05 pm 26th Jan - 3:08 am 27th Jan.

    Perhaps it would be good for everyone who wishes to comment on that article to first study all the details concerning SNF’s very last statement to the police about the three walks between her home and her car very late at night after 10:30 pm on 26th Jan.

    My analysis (logical step by step analysis based mostly on SNF’s statements and the known phone records and the ATM time stamp) will show that it is highly unlikely that it was SNF’s car that was captured at 12:25 am on 27th Jan by the ATM but that SNF’s car most likely went past that intersection (or a nearby intersection) on the way to Allison St very much later (not any earlier than 1:30 am).

    This is the most puzzling and confusing aspect of the case. I would like to copy here three relevant and very rational paragraphs from post #8 that Barbara Mitchell (a very observant lady in my opinion) posted on  25/08/14  at  07:23 PM at the following site

    “And, how is it possible to reconcile the evidence– I believe it was an ATM camera image, which would have been time stamped - that Ms Neill-Fraser was travelling on Sandy Bay Road, approximately five minutes from Marieville Esplanade, at 12.15, with the sighting of a woman, taken to be the accused, motoring towards the Four Winds in a tender between 11.30 pm and midnight? 

    If she was heading towards Marieville Esplanade, then the evidence of Mr Hughes, who testified that he saw a woman heading towards the yacht at that time, is clearly inaccurate.  It would take a person at least 15 to 20 minutes to reach Marieville Esplanade, park a car, walk to the point where the dinghy was tied, start the motor and commence moving away into the river, making it more like 12.30 to 12.45 than 11.30 when Ms Neill-Fraser was allegedly doing this.

    If she was travelling away from Marieville Esplanade, then she must have managed to board the yacht, dispose of Mr Chappell’s body in the manner postulated by the DPP and return to shore in a matter of minutes.  If this is the case, did Mr Hughes observe the alleged activity and see her return to shore, or did he immediately leave the vicinity after making the observation relied on by the DPP?”

    Note the minor error in the above (should be 12:25 rather than 12:15). A very clever argument by Ms Mitchell!

    Lynn, I hope that you do read the relevant sections of the transcript so that you can better appreciate my forthcoming analysis and realise that there exists a different and a more plausible rational explanation than what you offered to me at the bottom of your post #221. I am no longer grappling with this aspect of the case for I am satisfied that my analysis is quite solid.


    Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
    Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
    Adelaide, SA

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  17/04/15  at  03:56 PM
  238. 234.  “It is a badge of honour to stand up for fairness and justice,”

    Yes it is and justice doesn’t take sides.

    A few quick points;

    1. There was a motive - a clear financial one.  Independent evidence was also given of Ms Neill Fraser’s desire to leave Mr Chappell.

    2. There was no body, but few would suggest that Mr Chappell is still alive.  He was never seen or heard from again after that night.  There was sufficient evidence put before the jury for them to accept this.  Ms Neill Fraser accepted he was no longer alive.

    3. Ms Neill Fraser who had motive, came and went from that waterfront a number of times that night.  How do we know that because when evidence was revealed to her that contradicted her account she revealed what had occurred.  So the person with the most to gain from Mr Chappell’s disappearance happened to be acting the most suspiciously that night.

    4. Ms Neill Fraser’s alleged amnesia theory falls over on the basis that when matters are put to her she finally changes her story.  She acknowledged she lied to police to an independent person at one stage before altering her story.  Suggesting amnesia on this basis is fanciful.

    5. Ms Neill Fraser states she went back to the waterfront to check on Mr Chappell.  She had also left him a mobile phone.  It begs the question why didn’t she simply ring him?

    6. Why did Ms Neill Fraser check what calls had come in early in the morning (*10#)?  Begs the question where was she?

    I am interested in justice just as much as many of the people on this site.

    233. Imputations of emotional involvement?  Unscientific?

    Yes I agree they are unscientific.  As was the article we are commenting about.

    234. “Justice for Sue will be justice for all Tasmanians”

    Will it??

    Editor’s note: Minor edit see points 1 & 2 of the TT code

    Posted by John Dodd  on  18/04/15  at  08:03 AM
  239. Note as a way of explanation for my last comment as no doubt there will be a plethora of respones: The term justice has many different concepts from moral, law, ethical and religious perspective.

    What is “Justice for Sue”.  For her supporters is it the conviction overturned?

    If the conviction is overturned is that justice for all Tasmanians.  Is it justice for the family of Mr Chappell?

    Posted by John Dodd  on  18/04/15  at  11:03 AM
  240. answers to points in #238

    Posted by Rosemary  on  23/04/15  at  05:00 AM
  241. Some food for thought by Jennie Herrera:-


    On Australia Day 2009 Bob Chappell was wearing a black japara, light-coloured cotton trousers, long-sleeved light-coloured shirt, joggers, and a watch. These were not found beside his bed in the cabin or anywhere on board. Yet Bob would not have worn shoes to bed, he never wore his watch to bed, and it is very unlikely he would have worn a japara to bed.

    It would have been too dim downstairs for him to continue working on the yacht’s electrical system after about 8 p.m.  No lights were ever noticed on the yacht that night even though it was a new moon and even a low light would have made a small glow against the darkness. So what was Bob Chappell doing on board between about 8 pm and when Sue supposedly came on board at around midnight – or homeless people possibly came on board in the early hours of the morning. If he had gone to bed his clothes, shoes, and watch would have been in the cabin. It is unrealistic to assume that he sat up, fully dressed, into the late night in the dark or perhaps reading by the light of a very small torch. The police dissuaded the family from making a public appeal about Bob’s clothing. Why? They did not give a reason but implied that they had everything about the investigation under control.

    It was not made clear to the jury the state of the boat’s electrical system next morning but as the floor panel was still up and tools nearby it can be assumed that Bob Chappell hadn’t finished the work and the electrical system had not been turned back on. If it had been there is a possibility it would have shorted out when water began entering the boat and covered the area with the open panels. Yet if Bob Chappell had finished work for the night he would surely have tidied up, turned the system back on, made himself some food, perhaps a cup of coffee, or had a beer, listened to music or a radio and so on before going to bed. There was no sign of this having happened. The only thing found on the table was a bottle of water even though Bob and Sue never took bottled water on board. So who placed it there? Bob never went anywhere without his pipe and tobacco but it wasn’t mentioned in court where his pipe and tobacco were or whether there was any smell of smoke in the boat.

    These are small but important questions which remain unanswered but which, to me, suggest that Bob Chappell left the boat in the late afternoon or early evening. The alternatives implied in the DPP’s case, that Bob Chappell sat in the dark fully clothed into the early hours of the morning or that someone in the dark removed his clothes, shoes and watch to make it look as though he had been fully clothed when he left the boat are far harder to accept than the obvious answer: that he left the boat fully clothed before it got dark. Whether he left the boat willingly or unwillingly, alive or dead, is hard to answer.

    Posted by Rosemary  on  23/04/15  at  09:29 AM
  242. #32 Ben
    You speak about evidence
    I suggest you read the case again
    There is no evidence

    Posted by Brian Johnston  on  22/07/16  at  07:23 PM
  243. In memory of Robert (Bob) Adrian Chappell (1943–2009)

    Having reached as far as I could on this case I now like to say a few words about the man whose disappearance I researched via these pages. Bob’s obituary can be downloaded from the internet by googling Robert Adrian Chappell obituary.

    The one thing that Bob and I had in common was the love for science, particularly physics. On that note, here  I copy few sections from the obituary about Bob’s professional and private life:

    Bob “had a particular interest and ability in mathematics and science.”

    “He studied physics as a major in his Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours at Melbourne University.”

    “Bob joined the Department of Physical Sciences at Peter MacCallum Clinic, Melbourne in 1969 and in 1970 took the opportunity to accept a position as Medical Physicist to the then Peter MacCallum Clinic Tasmanian Service Hobart, which was later to become W.P. Holman Clinic. He remained there until his death in January 2009 where he was the longest serving staff member. Bob will be fondly remembered as the fabric of the clinic, having overseen the evolution of a sophisticated service from the installation of the Clinic’s first linear accelerator to its present state with two multi-mode accelerators and having taken a pivotal role in the introduction of the Clinic’s IMRT programme.”

    “Bob was a sole physicist for much of his career and developed a good working relationship with the radiation therapists. He was collegiate and his extensive knowledge was respected and valued.”

    “Bob had a dry, wry, cynical sense of humour which was appreciated by all. Bob was not just a scientist, he was extremely well read in all facets of literature, and he enjoyed cooking and was a very genial host. Bob was the original West Hobart foodie seeking quality olive oil far before the rest of us had gone past cooking in lard. When his family were young, he gained great satisfaction from taking his children fishing and exploring the islands and coves of Coles Bay. He also taught himself and his children to sail dinghies and to windsurf. In recent years he enjoyed entertaining his extended family, including one son, two daughters and six young grandchildren.”

    “He was a gentleman, in the true sense of the world, utterly straightforward in his dealings with others in professional life and dedicated to doing his job to the highest standards.”

    As I reflect back over the past 18 or so months during which I researched Bob’s disappearance I am reminded of a brief video someone posted during a rather intense debate late last year. I think that Bob would have found the story amusing. 

    RIP Bob Chappell.

    From a fellow physicist.

    Posted by Dr Peter Lozo  on  10/12/16  at  11:38 PM





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