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David Eastman’s murder conviction quashed

By 22 August 2014 21

David Eastman is set to be released from prison after his murder conviction was quashed in the supreme court today.

The Director of Public Prosecutions must now decide whether Eastman will be hauled back before a jury for another trial.

Holding an effective retrial could prove near impossible as witnesses are now dead, evidence has been destroyed and a jury free from prejudice would be difficult to find.

Eastman, who has spent more than 19 years behind bars, was not in court for today’s ruling.

Should David Eastman face a retrial?

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21 Responses to
David Eastman’s murder conviction quashed
Canfan 3:39 pm
22 Aug 14
#1

bundah 3:51 pm
22 Aug 14
#2

So even though Acting Justice Martin said he was almost certain of Eastman’s guilt he gets a get out of jail free card due to poor forensics. The ACT is a laughing stock!

astrojax 3:54 pm
22 Aug 14
#3

Holding an effective retrial could prove near impossible as witnesses are now dead, evidence has been destroyed and a jury free from prejudice would be difficult to find.

probably true, but nonetheless, the dpp surely couldn’t not order a retrial. i wonder if he’ll move back into his public housing residence..?

Masquara 4:32 pm
22 Aug 14
#4

Simon Corbell, so vocal in his intrusions into this process, appears to have gone to ground.

RadioVK 4:40 pm
22 Aug 14
#5

astrojax said :

Holding an effective retrial could prove near impossible as witnesses are now dead, evidence has been destroyed and a jury free from prejudice would be difficult to find.

probably true, but nonetheless, the dpp surely couldn’t not order a retrial. i wonder if he’ll move back into his public housing residence..?

If David Eastman was to face a new trial, and if he were to be found guilty, I’d imagine that there’s every chance that he would be sentenced to “time served”, given that he’s been in jail for 19 years already.

That assumes that a fair trial could be had in the first place, which I doubt.

I can’t help feeling that a re-trial would be a waste of time, money, and resources.

John Moulis 4:59 pm
22 Aug 14
#6

I wonder if In Wollongong Tonight (formerly WIN News) will have the story or if that old bloke’s head will keep popping up all afternoon saying that “we are awaiting a verdict”. What’s that you say? You didn’t know WIN News was still on? A lot of people are saying that nowadays.

ChristyJ 5:00 pm
22 Aug 14
#7

David Eastman is very fortunate that he had Adelaide Barrister Mark Griffin QC as his lawyer through legal aid during the Eastman Inquiry. What a wonderful day for the Australian Criminal Justice System.

astrojax 5:13 pm
22 Aug 14
#8

RadioVK said :

astrojax said :

I can’t help feeling that a re-trial would be a waste of time, money, and resources.

so, a re-trial then, given this is canberra…

justin heywood 5:36 pm
22 Aug 14
#9

I’m no lawyer, but the court seems to favour a retrial @ 298 and 299

Masquara 6:58 pm
22 Aug 14
#10

Let’s not forget Jon Stanhope welcoming bad news for Eastman at every turn:

http://info.cmcd.act.gov.au/archived-media-releases/media5bd1.html?v=3777&s=326

John Hargreaves, what was your take at the time?

Smithers 7:12 pm
22 Aug 14
#11

bundah said :

So even though Acting Justice Martin said he was almost certain of Eastman’s guilt he gets a get out of jail free card due to poor forensics. The ACT is a laughing stock!

Yes of course he does. He was wrongfully convicted.

dungfungus 8:36 am
23 Aug 14
#12

RadioVK said :

astrojax said :

Holding an effective retrial could prove near impossible as witnesses are now dead, evidence has been destroyed and a jury free from prejudice would be difficult to find.

probably true, but nonetheless, the dpp surely couldn’t not order a retrial. i wonder if he’ll move back into his public housing residence..?

If David Eastman was to face a new trial, and if he were to be found guilty, I’d imagine that there’s every chance that he would be sentenced to “time served”, given that he’s been in jail for 19 years already.

That assumes that a fair trial could be had in the first place, which I doubt.

I can’t help feeling that a re-trial would be a waste of time, money, and resources.

Having what you suggested (re-trial, found guilty and sentence commuted to time served) would save the ACT ratepayers millions as Eastman would not be able to claim compensation for wrongful imprisonment.
On the other hand, if he wasn’t found guilty the ACT would be liable for probably twice the amount he should be given now.
Whatever the decision, we can guarantee the ACT government will chose the wrong one.

astrojax 8:41 am
23 Aug 14
#13

Smithers said :

bundah said :

So even though Acting Justice Martin said he was almost certain of Eastman’s guilt he gets a get out of jail free card due to poor forensics. The ACT is a laughing stock!

Yes of course he does. He was wrongfully convicted.

exactly; ‘wrongfully convicted’ doesn’t mean ‘innocent’, so he should be re-tried so justice can be seen to be done.

Antagonist 9:27 am
23 Aug 14
#14

This has been a screw-up of monumental proportions from the outset. It has cost the ACT taxpayer enormous amounts in terms of both costs and resources. No matter what direction it takes from here, it will cost the ACT taxpayer a whole bunch more. There are only a few things that seem to be certain in all of this:

1. The DPP had its chance to put Eastman away and they dropped the ball, and has since cost the ACT taxpayer squillions in courts, lawyers, prison resources etc.
2. Eastman was indeed screwed by the process, and regardless of innocence or guilt, has spent 19 years behind bars.
3. The Eastman family would, understandably, be feeling very upset at the moment. I would hate to be in their position.

IMHO, don’t think this could, in fairness, be put to trial again. And if it does, and he is found guilty, it will go to the high court a dozen or so times costing the ACT taxpayer a fortune. It raises an interesting ethical question: Do we cut our costs now and let Eastman walk away with a few million dollars in settlements, or try to put him away costing us a shed-load for years to come?

portal0001@lycos.com 3:00 pm
23 Aug 14
#15

If Eastman was fitted up in the previous trials, why would having another trial allow justice to be seen to be done? This would be like trying Lindy Chamberlain again.

bundah 4:27 pm
23 Aug 14
#16

astrojax said :

Smithers said :

bundah said :

So even though Acting Justice Martin said he was almost certain of Eastman’s guilt he gets a get out of jail free card due to poor forensics. The ACT is a laughing stock!

Yes of course he does. He was wrongfully convicted.

exactly; ‘wrongfully convicted’ doesn’t mean ‘innocent’, so he should be re-tried so justice can be seen to be done.

The full court said in para 308 that in the interests of justice there should be a retrial. They hold this view due to the strong circumstantial evidence against Eastman and despite the time that has elapsed justice needs to be seen to be done and the community expect no less.

070960 7:28 pm
23 Aug 14
#17

The Supreme Court have left the option of a retrial open simply because during Submissions the DPP made such a song and dance about there being sufficient evidence for a conviction even withoutthe (now discredited) forensics. The Supreme Court has basic left this option open as a challenge to the DPP. You say you got it- put your money where your mouth is!
I guarantee with the passage of time nothing will stick because the DPP won’t even have a go because they’ve got nothing. Its Canberra’s worst kept secret the bloke didn’t do it! He’s done almost 20 years. Its over. Let an innocent man get on with his life…

astrojax 6:10 am
24 Aug 14
#18

070960 said :

Its Canberra’s worst kept secret the bloke didn’t do it!

um, ok, then who did?

and as i’ve said elsewhere, if he isn’t retried, will the investigation be reopened?

Wilco 10:29 am
24 Aug 14
#19

070960 said :

The Supreme Court have left the option of a retrial open simply because during Submissions the DPP made such a song and dance about there being sufficient evidence for a conviction even withoutthe (now discredited) forensics. The Supreme Court has basic left this option open as a challenge to the DPP. You say you got it- put your money where your mouth is!
I guarantee with the passage of time nothing will stick because the DPP won’t even have a go because they’ve got nothing. Its Canberra’s worst kept secret the bloke didn’t do it! He’s done almost 20 years. Its over. Let an innocent man get on with his life…

I’m inclined to agree with this. The ACT DPP and AFP are too close to this. Before any decision is taken on a re-trial, the whole case should be referred to another police force and prosecuting authority for independent assessment and advice on the prospects of obtaining a conviction.

justin heywood 12:19 pm
24 Aug 14
#20

070960 said :

…. Its Canberra’s worst kept secret the bloke didn’t do it! He’s done almost 20 years. Its over. Let an innocent man get on with his life…

I don’t know much about this issue (not that ever stopped anyone commenting), but I am interested in the alleged conspiracy to frame Eastman. As an aside I have a longstanding interest in conspiracy theories, why they propagate, who propagates them etc.

I understand that others may have had a motive to assassinate Winchester. But is there any evidence at all that anyone else did it?

And if not, why is ‘the truth’ supposedly Canberra’s worst kept secret?

bundah 9:54 am
30 Aug 14
#21

We now have a retired Victorian judge saying that the AFP are not the right agency to be investigating the ‘Ndrangheta theory. He believes an independent taskforce from Vic police should look into the mafia link with an impartial eye.

Sounds reasonable to me but I can’t imagine that the AFP would be too pleased with the recommendation.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/afp-should-not-be-let-anywhere-near-a-new-investigation-of-winchester-mafia-links-former-judge-says-20140829-1090z8.html

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