news, local news,

The assassin Susan Neill-Fraser will know Tuesday if a last resort against his conviction is successful. The Criminal Appeal Court is due to render its decision Tuesday morning, which could result in his release after 12 years in prison for the murder of his de facto partner Bob Chappell aboard their Four Winds yacht on Australia Day in 2009. Mr. Chappell’s body has never been found. IN OTHER NEWS Neill-Fraser (pictured) has received a 23-year sentence for the murder and will be eligible for parole next year. Judge Alan Blow ruled in 2010 that Neill-Fraser attacked Mr Chappell on board the yacht, lifted his body in a dinghy attached to the yacht, weighed it down with a fire extinguisher and threw it into the River Derwent. She first appealed her conviction in 2012, but it was dismissed. The Tasmanian Parliament passed a law in 2015 that would allow subsequent appeals against a conviction if it was based on new and compelling evidence that had not been considered in an initial trial. During the initial trial, DNA from teenage Meaghan Vass that was found aboard the Four Winds was explored. Ms Vass said she had never been on the yacht and the prosecution argued that he probably appeared on the ship during a secondary transfer. At the appeal hearing this year, Ms Vass told the court that she was on board the yacht with two men the night Mr Chappell went missing and that Neill-Fraser was not. She said one of the men attacked Mr. Chappell. Ms Vass retracted that evidence a day later and said she was forced to say she was on the yacht that night. His testimony, which was dropped by Neill-Fraser’s legal team, was key to his appeal. Neill-Fraser’s attorney, Robert Richter, said the presence of Ms Vass’s DNA on the yacht would still be used in their case for a wrongful conviction. Justices Helen Wood, Stephen Estcourt and Robert Pearce can make one of three decisions on Tuesday: order a new trial, dismiss Neill-Fraser’s appeal, or acquit him. – MATT MALONEY

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/7GTjPNqfZtZ9DDgM7sVkPJ/081727b2-586b-4c4a-87cd-7aeecc674f82.PNG/r0_160_2996_1853_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg