The Northern Scot's Arlene Fraser and Nat Fraser files: 2007 – 'No reason for officers to lie' – QC
This story appeared in the Northern Scot, November 16, 2007.
TWO police officers whose evidence could have cast doubt on Nat Fraser’s murder conviction had no reason to lie, the appeal court heard.
Defence QC Peter Gray, on the second day of evidence at Fraser’s appeal on Wednesday, said the jury who found Fraser guilty had been presented with a false case because the chief prosecutor had not been aware of the officers’ evidence during the trial.
He said the evidence – about Arlene’s wedding, engagement and eternity rings – would have dramatically weakened the case against Fraser.
Mr Gray said Fraser (48) did not get a fair trial because the evidence about the rings was not passed to the defence.
At the trial, the Crown said they had appeared in the bathroom nine days after Arlene’s disappearance, and could only have been put there by Fraser.
They said this proved he must have had access to her body after she died.
But Constable Neil Lynch gave a statement in 2002 claiming he had seen the rings in the bathroom on the day or day after she vanished.
And Constable Julie Clark also gave a statement in March last year, eight years after the event, to say she had also seen the jewellery at that time.
Mr Gray said although the statements had come four and eight years after the event, there was no motive for either officer to lie.
“There is nothing to suggest they would be anything other than credible and honest people,” he said.
Mr Gray said he accepted the advocate depute who brought the case against Fraser, had not himself been aware of the information.
“I appreciate that the trial depute was not aware of this information but (Fraser) should not have been at a disadvantage because of that lack of knowledge.”
The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, put it to Mr Gray: “The whole case went to the jury in what you regard as a completely false basis.”
“Yes, my lord,” said Mr Gray.
The court had earlier been told of an allegation that another police officer had removed the rings from the house, kept them in his desk drawer and put them back shortly before they were found by the family.
Mr Gray said he was unable to explore this claim any further.
“There are numerous explanations as to what happened to those rings,” he added.