Nat Fraser to wait for retrial decision

A man whose conviction for murdering his estranged wife was ruled unsafe will have to wait to learn if he will face a retrial.







Nat Fraser, 52, of Elgin, Moray, appeared at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh two days after the UK's Supreme Court made the decision regarding his conviction in 2003.



Fraser was ordered to serve a minimum 25-year term after being found guilty by a jury in Scotland of killing his wife Arlene, whose body has never been found.



Today, after a brief hearing before three judges, he was remanded in custody and told the next hearing would be on June 8.









Fraser had appealed against his conviction, arguing at a hearing in March that Scottish prosecutors breached his right to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights.

A panel of five Supreme Court justices in London unanimously agreed on Wednesday and said judges in Scotland must decide whether he should be tried again.



Scottish prosecutors have already said they would seek a retrial.



The court heard today that Fraser's defence team wants time to prepare for a possible retrial.



His defence counsel said: "It's only right that the defence has some opportunity to prepare for that."



The Lord Justice General, sitting with Lord Clarke and Lord Marnoch, granted the request to adjourn until June 8, and added: "The appellant will be remanded in custody."



Fraser, who sat still in the dock, was then led away by two guards, watched by members of Arlene's family.



Speaking outside the court, Arlene's sister, Carol Gillies, said: "Obviously we don't want to say too much, we don't want to jeopardise the case.



"It is a very difficult time for us just now, we feel as if we have been hit by a London bus to be perfectly honest.



"This has been an extremely difficult couple of days for us, obviously there is a huge amount of publicity.



"We are a very quiet family, we have been thrown into the limelight."









Mrs Fraser, 33, vanished from her home on April 28 1998.

The Supreme Court said part of the prosecution evidence was that her rings were found in the bathroom of her house on May 7 1998.



Prosecutors suggested Fraser had removed them from her body and placed them in the bathroom to make it appear that she had "decided to walk away".



But, the judges said, it later emerged that prosecutors had evidence from police to suggest the rings were in the house on the night Mrs Fraser vanished.



Fraser argued that the failure by the prosecution to disclose that information to his legal team had infringed his right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.



"The court holds that the trial would have been significantly different if the undisclosed evidence had been available," said one judge, Lord Hope, in Wednesday's ruling.



"There's a real possibility that the evidence would have been sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt as to whether (Fraser) placed the rings in the bathroom on May 7.



"It that were so, the jury's verdict would have been bound, in view of the judge's direction, to have been different."



The court ruling also prompted a constitutional argument, with Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, criticising the Supreme Court for "second guessing" the country's highest court.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine