A Hobart man has been sentenced to 12 months jail for the part he played in giving evidence to support a challenge to the murder conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser.
Stephen John Gleeson was charged with perverting the course of justice for falsely identifying a teenager in a photograph, for the purpose of seeking a retrial for Neill-Fraser who is serving a 23-year sentence for the murder of her partner.
Gleeson was sleeping rough in his car on the Sandy Bay foreshore on the night Neill-Fraser’s partner Bob Chappell disappeared from his yacht in January 2009.
He initially told police he hadn’t seen anything that night, but eight years later, signed affidavits saying he had seen homeless teenager Meaghan Vass and a male in the area.
Ms Vass’s DNA was found on the yacht, but Gleeson’s statement provided the only evidence placing her at the scene on the night of the murder.
Acting Justice Shane Marshall described Gleeson’s offending as “extremely serious”.
“The crime of attempting to pervert the course of justice strikes at the wellbeing of society, and has a tendency to subvert our system of justice,” he said.
“You have significant prior convictions, which demonstrate a lack of respect for the law.”
Gleeson told the court he’d made a “stupid mistake”, and that he was tricked into it.
Justice Marshall said he had considered the fact the “offending was the result of pressure by others” into account when sentencing.
Gleeson is currently serving a sentence for committing an unlawful act intended to cause grievous bodily harm, and is not eligible for release before the end of November 2019.
Neill-Fraser needs fresh and compelling evidence for a last-chance appeal against her murder conviction.
Image: Aneeta Bhole, ABC
This article was published as part of my employment with the ABC. It was published on Thursday 7/6/18. It can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-07/man-sentenced-over-plot-in-murderer-appeal-of-sue-neill-fraser/9843660