Shadow of Doubt is the unpicking of a circumstantial murder case. In a democratic society how could a conviction be possible when there is no murder weapon, no body and no witness?
Made over three years Eve Ash (director/producer) delves into the Tasmanian case and the family’s disbelief at the conviction of Susan Neil Fraser for murdering her defacto Bob Chappell on their yacht the Four Winds some time during Australia Day 2009.
Initially this documentary focussed on the impact of the guilty verdict on Sue, the family and friends as they tried to prove Sue’s innocence while the case moved through the Australian legal system to no avail.
The two year edit took twist and turns as new information came to our attention. Sometimes it turned out to be incredibly relevant and other times it was a diversion from the key factors of proving Sue’s conviction was not beyond reasonable doubt.
Later as the device of having family or friends read excerpts from the initial trial’s transcripts became more important the film began to move more into the forensic detective story picking at in the police and prosecutor’s case.
It wasn’t until Inspector Peter Powell, the head of the police investigation, agreed to be interviewed that the documentary found its final shape offering both points of view of Sue’s guilt or innocence.
From the beginning the decision was made not to use re-enactments you would normally expect to see in this type of documentary. We did not want to validate the incorrect information found in the case.
Sandy Bay; the location of the yacht Four Winds where Bob Chappell was last seen is crucial. So each time Eve returned to Tasmania she filmed different vantage points of the bay and the moored Four Winds. The question remains what happened to Bob on the Four Winds?
Please take time to look through the website and if you feel inclined sign the petition or add your voice to those who have written to the Tasmanian Attorney General as Sue remains in prison serving a 23 year sentence.
CINE Golden Eagle Award USA Independent Division
2014 AACTA nomination for Best Feature Length Documentary
Shadow of Doubt screened on Foxtel CI channel in July 2013