Why so much public unrest: a personal opinion
I reviewed a large number of comments from Sue’s supporters as part of my research into this case since April 2015. The opinion expressed herein is based on that review & research.
Although my initial aim was to understand the case to see whether I could uncover any problems with the case, I ended uncovering a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions by Sue’s supporters about the many aspects of this case. I commented on many of those misconceptions on various TT threads related to this case. My very recent comments were actually in response to the mentioned article by Prof McMinn and the opinions that arose in the commentary to that article.
I don’t know how anyone can make a reasonable decision on Sue’s guilt or innocence without fully understanding the State’s evidence and without taking into account Sue’s relevant experience and knowledge (with the yacht, the winches and the dinghy).
I hold the Crown partially responsible for the public unease about this case. It is my opinion that the Crown contributed to the problem by not calling relevant expert witnesses during Sue’s trial to explain some of the more complex issues in this case, such as perception of object’s colour and shape. Even Sue’s defence attorney at trial had a difficulty in appreciating that Sue’s dinghy could be perceived to be grey in colour under the relevant viewing conditions despite some eyewitnesses describing Sue’s dinghy to be grey. The other relevant and complex area concerns the fallibility of the human memory and the accuracy of memory recall.
Given the complex nature of this case I hope that if Sue gets a retrial that more relevant expert witnesses (on both sides of the case) are called than they were at the original trial.
Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD
Applied Physicist/Perceptual Scientist
Adelaide, SAPosted by Dr Peter Lozo on 30/11/16 at 03:24 PM
“It’s quite clear that some of the witnesses who saw dinghies and even saw the actual dinghy, Bob’s dinghy, gave all sorts of varying descriptions of what colour it was and what shape it was, what structure it was. And in fact I was only looking at a photo this morning, and photographs that were taken of the yacht out on the water, depending how overcast the sky is, I can see why people might think a dinghy that might be white is actually grey in the shadow of the yacht.”
[Peter Powell on Background Briefing: Murder on the Derwent
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2016-10-23/7949840#transcriptPosted by Dr Peter Lozo on 03/12/16 at 03:47 PM
Memory Not Reliable, Court Says
“New Jersey judges are now required to explain to jurors that the human memory is prone to errors.
Eyewitness Evidence: Improving Its Probative Value
Wells, Gary L; Memon, Amina & Penrod, Steven D. “Eyewitness Evidence: Improving Its Probative Value”. Psychological Science In the Public Interest, Vol. 7, 2006. 48Posted by Dr Peter Lozo on 05/12/16 at 11:36 AM
In reality there are some people who are just more observant of their surroundings, weather conditions, colours, people, cars etc. who make better witnesses than others. Therefore to generalize that all witnesses have issues is not realistic.Posted by Rosemary on 28/12/16 at 11:48 AM
■ It is obvious that attention plays a significant role. What isn’t obvious is that neither the confidence of the eyewitness nor the amount of detail provided by that witness is a reliable indicator of the accuracy of that person’s recollection of the event.
■ Perceptual errors can also affect the eyewitness accuracy. Hence why one also needs to take into account the viewing conditions (geometry, lighting level, etc). For example: a white object in full sun might look grey when in a shade of another object. Glare can also affect how an object is perceived. The shape of the object might not be properly perceived if that object is in a continuous rocking motion.
■ It is my opinion that the producer of the Shadow of Doubt documentary, being a psychologist, should have known about the above two factors and ought to have sought expert opinion before releasing the documentary. Had this been done then the public would have been better informed and would have realised that one cannot exclude Sue’s dinghy from being at the Four Winds between 3:55pm and 5pm on the Australia Day afternoon.Posted by Dr Peter Lozo on 29/12/16 at 02:00 PM
Ludus Amoris and a grey dinghy
Ludus Amoris is a white two mast yacht (very similar to the Four Winds) which was moored on the Derwent river in Sandy Bay for a few days prior to departing Hobart on the morning of 27th January 2009.
See the picture of Ludus Amoris at
The owners of Ludus Amoris (tourists from Germany) sent an email to TasPol in mid Feb 2009 advising the police that they were there and recall the name Four Winds; see Barabara Etter’s post of 7th July 2013 on her website:
Cont….Posted by Dr Peter Lozo on 30/12/16 at 08:46 PM
What is of interest here is the grey dinghy seen on the front of the pictured Ludus Amoris sailing boat. It is highly likely that this was the grey dinghy that was seen tied to the rocks next to the Rowing Sheds in the days prior to Bob’s disappearance by the gentleman appearing at time-frame 30 - 35 seconds in the following video clip by Eve Ash: The Shadow of Doubt - Trailer
It is also highly likely that Mr Lorraine was looking at Ludus Amoris rather than the Four Winds and that he saw its male owner rather than Bob at 5pm on the Australia Day. Given that the German tourists sent an email to TasPol advising the police that they were there during the relevant days it begs a question as why was Mr Lorraine put up as a prosecution witness? He was not looking at the Four Winds.
■ Thus, there is no mysterious grey dinghy in the Susan Neill-Fraser case.
■ The dinghy that was seen on the portside of the Four Winds on the afternoon of the Australia Day (at 3:55 pm and at 5pm) was none other than Sue’s dinghy but it looked grey because if was in the shadow of the Four Winds.
■ The light coloured motorised dinghy with one person onboard that was seen in the early evening (7:45 - 8:30 pm) on the Australia Day was none other than Sue’s dinghy with her on-board: http://www.betterconsult.com.au/blog/the-weatherbeaten-man-in-the-sue-neill-fraser-case/
■ The producer of the Shadow of Doubt documentary could have done a better and more thorough research for the documentary given that it was done over a 4 year period.Posted by Dr Peter Lozo on 30/12/16 at 09:00 PM
The importance of the viewing geometry on perception of the colour shade of a dinghy
I like to point to the reader, particularly to the producer of the Shadow of Doubt documentary (Eve Ash) as well as to Barbara Etter and Bob Moles, a portion of a video showing the Four Winds yacht at its mooring:
Radio Graham -She Didn’t Do It!
Please watch the video between the time 3:28 and 3:46 seconds. You will note that the boat from which the video was taken is passing the bow of the Four Winds from the starboard side.
If you pause the video at 3:45-3:46 seconds you will be able to see the front portion of both the starboard and the portside of Four Winds. Note the difference in the brightness of the starboard side versus the portside. The latter looks grey compared to the former because the sun is illuminating the starboard but not the portside. The portside is in shade. The water looks quite dark along the length of the yacht on its portside.
Now imagine the Four Winds dinghy tethered to the yacht at the portside. It would look grey. In fact it would look darker than the portside of the yacht because the dinghy has a lower reflectance than the yacht. The parts of the dinghy that have dark patterns (the blue stripes, the insignia with the dinghy’s name, the handles, the ropes, the trim, etc) will appear to be very dark compared to the other parts of the dinghy. The dinghy would thus be perceived to be grey to dark grey with black patches. How dark the dinghy will appear to be will very much depend on how strong the shadow of the yacht is, this being dependent on the strength of the sunlight illuminating from the opposite direction. Note that under such conditions the human visual system wouldn’t be able to discern between two close shades of grey on the dinghy because both would appear to be very dark in the shadow of the yacht. That is, if the dinghy had a lee cloth that is of a similar shade as the rest of the dinghy then the lee-cloth wouldn’t be discerned under such viewing conditions.
I hope that the referenced video and my brief explanation is sufficient to lay to rest my claim that one cannot exclude Sue’s dinghy from being the dinghy that was spotted at the portside of Four Winds at 3:55 pm and at 5 pm on the Australia Day. As was pointed out many months ago on another TT blog, Four Winds was facing approximately in the Southeasterly direction at 3:55pm - 5pm on the Australia Day. At that time the sun was illuminating approximately from Northwest - West direction, meaning that the dinghy would most probably have been entirely in the shadow of the Four Winds.Posted by Dr Peter Lozo on 31/12/16 at 03:51 AM
SUSAN NEILL-FRASER case: Eve Ash anticipates being raided or arrestedPosted by Dr Peter Lozo on 22/08/17 at 09:10 PM
The duping of a psychologist
After reading the recent sentencing remarks by Justice Marshall during the sentencing of Mr Stephen Gleeson (http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/supreme-court-of-tasmania-comments-on-passing-sentence-) I was left bewildered that Eve Ash (a psychologist from Victoria), Colin McLaren (a former police detective from Victoria) and Robert Richter (a high profile QC from Victoria) could have been so easily duped by a trio of Tasmanian homeless and/or troubled and uneducated people.
How and why did Eve Ash, who is a psychologist, get so easily duped? Was Eve too emotionally involved in this case and did she therefore loose the sight of objectivity in her search for the truth in the matter?
Given that Barbara Etter obtained an affidavit from Mr Gleeson in Sept 2016, and given that it agreed with the statement he had given to TasPol in 2009, it is very puzzling why Ash, McLaren and Richter accepted Gleeson’s May 2017 affidavit as being truthful.
It seems to me that Barbara Etter was the only person who wasn’t duped by Gleeson’s new account of what happened on the Australia Day evening in Sandy Bay. I imagine that Mrs Etter quit over this issue because it caused a disagreement between her and her client on how to proceed with the appeal process, and whether to include Mr Gleeson’s May 2017 affidavit in the right-to-appeal application.Posted by Dr Peter Lozo on 23/06/18 at 06:23 PM