When a “no body” murder conviction is ruled, the law will not care if there is no witness, confession or dead body to prove it.
While giving a verdict for such conviction, what is considered by the law are the circumstances when the crime was committed by the suspect and the forensic evidences discovered. As a result, a “no body” conviction is often followed by controversies, prompting innocence projects to emerge under Australian law. A case with similar controversies came into the limelight recently where Keli Lane was convicted for murdering her two-year-old daughter.
9 News reported that Lane’s parents spoke publicly on “60 Minutes” on Sunday on their daughter’s conviction, which they felt was a wrong verdict. Keli Lane was convicted within a few hours of being discharged from a hospital in 1996. She gave birth to three babies secretly, kept two of them and gave the third one named Tegan to her natural father, Andrew Morris or Norris, according to her statement to police.
However, further investigation proved that a person with such name didn’t exist. Tegan’s body was never found, leading to Lane’s conviction.
Criminal lawyer Barbara Etter dealt with Susan Blyth Neill-Fraser’s case which was concerned with the victim killing her de facto partner, Bob Chappell, after being in a relationship for 18 years. Chappell was a retiring Royal Hobart Hospital chief radiation physicist who went missing from a yatch named Four Winds which the couple sailed on Australia Day 2009. The case closed with Neill-Fraser being convicted for murdering Chappell for money in 2010. The body of Chappell was not found.
Etter told news.com.au that Australian law needed a shake up. She advocated for the establishment of an independent Criminal Cases Review Commission to give the nationals a “right to appeal” the provision as applicable in the UK.
“New Innocence Projects are emerging here in Australia, but appealing a murder conviction, particularly after normal appeal avenues have failed, continues to be a David vs Goliath battle,” Etter said.