Convicted killer Susan Neill-Fraser uses new legislation to appeal murder conviction

FRESH AND COMPELLING: Susan Neill-Fraser is appealing her murder conviction.
FRESH AND COMPELLING: Susan Neill-Fraser is appealing her murder conviction.

THE legal team of convicted killer Susan Neill-Fraser have conceded they are in “unchartered territory” when it comes to lodging her latest appeal.

Neill-Fraser is using untested Tasmanian legislation to appeal a conviction for murdering her husband Bob Chappell in 2009.

A packed court room of 50 supporters watched on as the first steps were taken to use the new legislation.

The laws, passed last year, allow someone who has exhausted all avenues in the courts to appeal their conviction if “fresh and compelling” evidence comes to light.

Neill-Fraser’s barrister Tom Percy appeared in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart on Friday via video link from Western Australia.

“We are in procedurally uncharted waters,” Mr Percy told the court.

Mr Percy and solicitor Barbara Etter have filed various documents to the court, including a DVD of a documentary about the case and an opinion piece by former Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis to the Tasmanian Times.

Justice Shan Tennent said the documents were full of “hearsay and irrelevant material” that would not be admissible.

She said evidence laws would “wipe out” most of the material.

DPP Daryl Coates said he could not proceed until documents were filed that were in accordance with the rules of evidence.

“I don’t know what any of this has to do with the case,” Mr Coates said.

Mr Coates requested that Neill-Fraser’s legal team file the documents they sought to rely on to prove it was “fresh and compelling” evidence.

“It’s not for us to try and magically work out what their case is,” he said.

Justice Tennent said while the documents gave the “general idea” of their case, it did not provide an admissible form of material in “any way, shape or form”.

She adjourned the case for a further directions hearing and asked Neill-Fraser’s team to file an application book of admissible evidence.