Image for Shadow of Doubt cast over grandmother’s 23 years’ sentence for murder

The Eve Ash documentary SHADOW OF DOUBT will have its world premiere at the Hobart State Cinema and on FoxtelCi on Wednesday 31st July 2013.

A yacht was found sinking off Sandy Bay, Tasmania, in January 2009. Radiation physicist Bob Chappell had vanished. His partner of 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 26 years jail, later reduced to 23 years.

The documentary, 81 minutes long, was four years in the making by psychologist and filmmaker Eve Ash. It reveals striking new insights into the intriguing case and shows how “justice” can apparently go astray so easily.

Eve got involved because she had worked with a family member of Sue Neill-Fraser.

“It disturbed me that Sue Neill-Fraser not only became a suspect but she was arrested, charged and remanded in prison for more than a year before trial on an entirely circumstantial case,” Eve said.

“There was no dingo in this case, but there was certainly a dinghy…including sightings that never came to light in court.”

In making the film, Eve teamed up with family, friends and supporters but also ensured balanced reporting of the events surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009.

Eve and Sue Neill-Fraser’s lawyer, Barbara Etter APM, made sure that the doco not only covered the emotional and darker side of Hobart’s most controversial crime this century, but that it also explored investigative, legal and forensic issues.

“As Australians we should have learned clear lessons from the Lindy Chamberlain case, but it appears not. No body. No eye witnesses. No weapon and no forensic evidence linking Sue to the crime scene,“ said Barbara Etter.

The film challenges key planks of the Crown case and questions why some important leads were not followed up.

“There are simply too many loose ends, unanswered questions and hypothetical scenarios,” Barbara Etter said.

“I hope the film stimulates community debate and helps to allay rumour, suspicion and innuendo in the Tasmanian community, “ Eve said.

“For example, people will realise, despite widely circulating rumours, that Sue Neill-Fraser did not kill her previous husband Brett Meeker who is alive and well.

“We need to find the truth in this matter. A conviction should not stand when there is a haunting shadow of doubt, “ she said.

The film also honours the memory of Bob Chappell, a man loved and a highly respected member of the Hobart community.

Robert Richter QC said “If half of what is alleged is well founded, this case requires a full judicial inquiry into the investigation and prosecution of the case. There’s no dingo, but there’s significant DNA and other evidentiary material to require answers which are not circumscribed by the adversarial and limited appellate processes.”

“Police filter the truth. Forensic science is abused. The prosecutor invents a murder weapon, and the judge agrees. A miscarriage of justice so blatant you won’t believe it possible in 21stC Australia” said Bill Rowlings OAM, CEO, Civil Liberties Australia.

“I can say with confidence that the conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser does not comply with the Australian law on this topic. No thoughtful person could walk away from seeing this and say that it’s got nothing to do with them.” said Dr Robert Moles.

• On Foxtel 7 screenings first up 31 July to 4 August. State cinema initial season 2 weeks. Maybe longer if demand

Earlier on TT, Barbara Etter: Justice demands inquest in Chappell case

Court of Criminal Appeals decision. Read for yourself, here

• And,




Contaminated Crime Scene