60 Minutes: Criminal Justice System Injustice in Bob Chappell Murder

I watched this episode of 60 Minutes last night and saw the tortured testimony of Meaghan Vass about the Murder of Bob Chappell and the fact that Tasmanian police charged his partner Sue Neill Fraser for his murder. The concern with this is that there was no body or murder weapon and issues with evidence.  I thought of group think and the mentality of Tasmanian investigators to gain a conviction.  Justice in the Criminal Justice System should have picked up and on the balance of probabilities not sentenced Sue Neill Fraser to murder.  Not only did this woman have to deal with the grief of the loss of her partner but the ridicule of others believing her guilt.  Guilty until proven innocent is the core issue here.  This is when those in positions of power believe in the guilt without evidence and proclaim an outcome.  Inequality before the law is an issue I am focusing on and have experienced in my own life.  Justice is not about being seen to be done but to be done. It is essential that the courts and jails are not a business and that Judges are trained not only in neutrality but values.  To place oneself in the shoes of an innocent person who lives 9 years of their life in a jail as punishment when those responsible were not imprisoned.  I think this case will bring a spotlight onto the Criminal Justice System and I believe the Royal Commission should not be about her case alone but Inequality before the Law and guilty before proven innocent.  Justice is about innocent until proven guilty.  We are losing this standard in Justice I believe.

The other issue was to do with Meagan Vass who had clearly an awful life on the streets. This is another story in itself that she was on the streets from 13 years of age. Her family life was not good and she displayed deep trauma and guilt in witnessing this murder and the fear of reporting it.  I would say her fear was that she would be killed.  The key point she made was that she didn’t trust the police.  Had society protected her and ensured her safety she may have come forward years ago.  The fact that a young woman is left on the street with no support is a reflection of our society.  Some will come out and blame this woman but I can see clearly she has survived a horrendous experience herself with no family, soothing through drugs and seeking to suppress the trauma of the event. It took great courage for her to come out publicly in this when she is vulnerable.  It says a lot about who she is.  She has enabled Sue to gain vindication and to be cleared of a crime and for those responsible to be held accountable.  The truth emerges in the end is the feeling I have.  No matter how people seek to suppress, falsify, deceive or cover up, ultimately truth comes to the surface as healing has to happen.  Sue has to reunite with her family and I am sure she will speak out about the Tasmanian police.  How do you compensate this?  You can’t but you can look into police corruption and injustice and face why this happens.  To resolve it you must rebalance the power of police, you must take pressure off for convictions (particularly without evidence) and to look at the commercialisation of public services and how this impacts sentencing.   As I mentioned the Royal Commission must look into the system itself.

I send love to Sue Neill-Fraser and Meaghan Vass.  May both of them be freed from the prison of injustice.


New ‘witness’ in Bob Chappell’s decade-old murder could provide breakthrough


Sneak peek | Sunday on 60 Minutes


  • Sneak peek | Sunday on 60 MinutesNOW
    Sneak peek | Sunday on 60 Minutes

The woman that says she witnessed one of Australia’s most shocking murders is breaking her ten-year silence in an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes.

60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett speaks exclusively to Tasmanian woman Meaghan Vass, about the murder of Bob Chappell and describes the act of violence she now says she witnessed on Mr Chappell’s boat.

Meaghan Vass has never revealed what she saw that night on Chappell’s yacht and, up until recently, she’s always maintained she never set foot on board his boat before.

Bob Chappell was murdered 15 years ago.
Bob Chappell was murdered 15 years ago. (60 Minutes)

Instead Sue Neill Fraser was convicted of the murder, spending the past 9 years in Hobart’s Risdon Prison.

But the explosive revelations of Meaghan Vass could finally help set Sue Neill Fraser free.

Vass was 15 years old when Bob Chappell was murdered and has spent more than half her life battling homelessness and drug addiction.

Liam Bartlett and Meaghan Vass. (60 Minutes)

But after almost a decade, she is telling her story to 60 Minutes.

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“If what you’re saying is true, then an innocent woman has been sitting in jail for 9 years?” asks 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett.

“Yes. I’d like to see her go home to her family,” Vass says in an exclusive sneak peek.

Her confession could be the missing piece to solving the murder case that has gripped Australia for almost a decade, and could free an innocent woman from jail.

Bob Chappell and Susan Neill-Fraser, pictured in 2009. (PR IMAGE)

Bob Chappell was last seen alive on Australia Day of 2009 – on board the yacht he shared with partner Sue Neill-Fraser, the Four Winds.

But the following day, the Four Winds was found half-submerged in Tasmania’s Sandy Bay – with blood spatter on the deck and Bob Chappell nowhere to be found.

Bob was presumed murdered, and his partner of more than 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, became the key suspect in his death. And while the Police investigation never found Bob’s body or a murder weapon, Neill-Fraser was found guilty of his murder and has spent almost a decade in prison.

The explosive revelations of Meaghan Vass could finally help set Sue Neill Fraser free. (60 Minutes)

But she has maintained her innocence from the very beginning and has the support of some of Australia’s most respected members of the legal profession, including eminent QC Robert Richter.

This Sunday on 60 Minutes, the explosive new evidence that could free Sue Neill Fraser and the confession that will send shockwaves across Australia.

Did Meaghan Vass see who killed Bob Chappell? And can we believe her testimony?

60 Minutes airs this Sunday at 8:30PM on Channel 9, after Married at First Sight. For more on 60 Minutes, visit the official website.

Mohandas Gandhi

“God has no religion”