Contributor to Screen Hub, The Age and Screen Education
This story of the disappearance of Bob and the subsequent arrest and conviction of his partner Sue for murder is a fascinating tale.
Weaving together a number of strands, the documentary takes us through the story from the very beginning, when Bob went missing from their yacht in Sandy Bay off Hobart on Australia Day in 2009, to the present day.
The film builds a compelling case that Sue, who received 26 years’ jail for the murder of Bob, was not in fact the cause of Bob’s disappearance. Yet as son-in-law Mark Bowles tells us, numerous attempts to find justice have failed to secure it for Sue and her family. Incredibly, Bob’s body has never been found.
The documentary pieces together how the police built their case, involving the media to portray Sue negatively. The film shows how it was wrongly inferred that sue was involved in the disappearance of another person.
Several aspects of the investigation were evidently botched, when initially the police didn’t seem to believe that a murder had taken place. Numerous people boarded the couple’s yacht, which was sinking when first found, and the crime scene was contaminated.
The documentary shows that a key witness for the prosecution, a man apparently described by police as an upstanding citizen, had in fact been found to be in possession of more than 1000 rounds of ammunition without a licence only two weeks before he came forward. And his testimony is demonstrated by Sue’s daughter to be flawed.
Viewing the film, it seems difficult to believe that Sue could have been convicted on such questionable circumstantial evidence, let alone given a 26 year prison term. One of the intriguing elements of the film is the concern that the main thing that went against Sue was that she refused to admit that she had committed the crime, which was taken to mean that she was lying. As Sue’s daughter says, if the police decide you are guilty and put out statements to the media to that effect, you are forced into disproving the police case in order to prove your innocence.
The film’s footage has been gathered over a number of years, and expertly brought together by the filmmakers, including producer/director Eve Ash and editor Cindy Clarkson. It hooks the viewer from the opening titles and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end.
‘Shadow of Doubt’ is a powerful tale that deserves to be viewed by the widest audience.
Contributor to Screen Hub.