Eastman decision: Guilty verdict quashed. Eastman to be released on bail!

supreme court

DAVID Eastman has served 19 years for the killing of Police Commissioner Colin Winchester.

In May a board of inquiry found his conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

Today the ACT Supreme Court has announced they are quashing his conviction.


UPDATE: The matter will now be re-tried. Bail conditions are being debated in the court.

More here as it comes to hand.


Further update: The bail hearing has been adjourned.


UPDATE: ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell has cancelled his press conference that was scheduled to discuss this matter this afternoon. A written statement has been promised.


UPDATE: The Court’s judgment is available online now.

It concludes thusly:

As we have said earlier, this is a wholly exceptional case. Weighing all the factors and considerations to which we have referred above, we have concluded that the interests of justice require that we order a retrial. The gravity of the offence, the life sentence imposed and the strength of the remaining circumstantial case persuade us that, despite the time that has elapsed since the offence and the time that Mr Eastman has already spent in custody, this is an appropriate case to order a new trial. The community has a vital interest in ensuring that a person against whom a strong circumstantial case of murder of a very senior police officer exists, does not escape conviction if, on a trial conducted in accordance with law, a jury is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of his or her guilt. And this is so even if the person has already served any term of imprisonment that might be imposed on him or her following conviction on the retrial: Spies 201 CLR at 638 [103]-[104]. Whether the Director decides to present Mr Eastman for trial again will be a matter for the exercise of his prosecutorial discretion in accordance with his prosecution policy. If that occurs it will be open to Mr Eastman to make any application for a stay to the trial judge that the then factual position may warrant.

The matter of bail is still being heard. The Director of Public Prosecutions has proposed condistions which Eastman has instructed his lawyers to oppose.


UPDATE: Agreement has been reached on bail conditions. David Eastman to be released from prison. Bail is temporary with strict conditions for three weeks while the Director of Public Prosecutions decides whether to attempt a retrial.


UPDATE: Simon Corbell has backflipped, announcing he will now hold a media conference at the Legislative Assembly.

Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, will hold a media conference this afternoon, following the decision by the Supreme Court, into the conviction of Mr David Eastman.

Mr Corbell will make a brief statement about the decision and will be available to take questions from the media.


UPDATE: Simon’s statement was terse:

“The court decision must be respected, and Mr Eastman will be released on bail today in accordance with the conditions of the court’s order.

Any decision on a retrial of Mr Eastman is now a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“ACT Corrective Services will provide Mr Eastman with the same support as all other detainees who are released from the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

Mr Eastman will have access to the ACT Corrective Services’ Throughcare program to support his transition back into the community, while on bail, which provides assistance to transition from incarceration.

[Pictured: Cameramen outside the court today getting ready]

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