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Shadow of Doubt in Tasmania


I was at the Lorne Film Festival yesterday, and happened to meet filmmaker Eve Ash and her entourage of legal experts – among them, Dr Robert Moles and Barbara Etter (former WA Asst Commissioner). They were going to present the film today, entitled “Shadow of Doubt.”

This award winning documentary is about the egregious failures in the justice system in Tasmania. This from the film’s website:

Bob Chappell, radiation physicist, aged 65, was last seen alive on Australia Day, 26 January 2009. In October 2010, his partner of 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, was convicted of murder and jailed for 26 years, later reduced to 23 years. This is the first time someone has been jailed in Tasmania for murder based solely on circumstantial evidence and without a body. Sue has always protested her innocence, vehemently denying any involvement in Bob’s disappearance.

There were no eye witnesses, no weapon, no plausible motive and Bob’s body has never been found. No forensic evidence linked Sue to the crime scene, Four Winds, the couple’s luxury 54’ yacht moored in the Derwent River, Sandy Bay, Tasmania. On the day Bob disappeared he was working on Four Winds. Sue had returned to shore in the couple’s dinghy… Bob decided to keep working and stay on board overnight. Early the next morning the yacht was found sabotaged, sinking and there was no sign of Bob.

The film follows Sue’s family and friends as they uncover evidence to try and prove Sue is innocent. It questions the way the crime was investigated, the witness problems, how the media was used to shape perceptions, and the shocking mistakes and omissions.

It is not the only case in Tasmania with shocking mistakes and omissions.



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