New Neill-Fraser appeal set for October 30

Sue Neill-Fraser's daughter Sarah Bowles and son-in-law Mark Bowles leave Hobart Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Sue Neill-Fraser's daughter Sarah Bowles and son-in-law Mark Bowles leave Hobart Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Convicted murderer Sue Neill-Fraser will have a last chance to overturn her sentence with new appeal proceedings set for October.

Neill-Fraser is serving 23 years in jail for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell.

Mr Chappell disappeared from the couple’s yacht near Sandy Bay on January 26, 2009, and his body has never been found.

Neill-Fraser appeared before Justice Michael Brett in Hobart Supreme Court on Wednesday via videolink.

Neill-Fraser’s lawyer, Tom Percy, said events since the case was last before the court in June meant that her legal team had to seek an adjournment to gather further advice about how these matters would impact witness testimonies during a hearing.

Police this month charged Karen Patricia Nancy Keefe for perverting the course of justice by providing false evidence in an affidavit relating to Neill-Fraser and corrupting a witness.

It is alleged that Ms Keefe agreed to receive $93,000 in exchange for an understanding that a certain witness give false evidence during a hearing.

A 57-year-old Risdon Vale man was then charged with perverting the course of justice and a 51-year-old Sandy Bay man was charged with influencing a witness to manufacture evidence.

Justice Brett said those were not matters which should adjourn proceedings for a long period of time.

A hearing over four days from October 30 was set.

Neill-Fraser’s last-ditch effort to be cleared of the murder conviction has been permitted through state legislation enacted in 2015 which allows for a second appeal involving “fresh and compelling evidence”.

Appeals have already failed in the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia.

Neill-Fraser’s court appearance on Wednesday came a day after Fairfax reported that Melbourne barrister Robert Richter had provided new evidence to Premier Will Hodgman and acting-Attorney General Matthew Groom which questioned the murder conviction.

Mr Richter had pushed at the May meeting for an independent inquiry to be established.

Mr Hodgman on Wednesday said he could not comment on the media report as the matter was before the courts.

“I'll say very clearly though that the advice that I have received is that there is nothing before government that would warrant an independent inquiry,” he said.