David Eastman Has Just Had His Murder Conviction Quashed

Former treasury official David Eastman has just had his conviction for murdering a top police officer quashed.

He will be released on conditional bail pending another court appearance next month.

Eastman, 69, was convicted of and jailed for the 1989 murder of Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester.

Eastman served more than 19 years behind bars after being found guilty of Winchester’s murder in 1995.

The full bench of the ACT Supreme Court said he did not receive a fair trial and has ordered a retrial.

There is legal argument as to whether bail should be granted, however, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has stated that if the bail process is to go ahead, Eastman may be subject to supervision and residential requirements.

This is one of the longest running and most complex murder cases in Australia’s history.

A whole range of factors stemming from an inquiry in May this year found there had been a miscarriage of justice and recommended Eastman’s conviction be quashed.

The board of the inquiry, headed by Acting Justice Brian Martin, said Eastman was found guilty on the basis of deeply flawed forensic evidence.

He was also denied procedural fairness at the trial because not all relevant material was disclosed.

“In my view, the passing of so many years, coupled with the death of numerous witnesses and publicity prejudicial to the applicant, meant that a further trial would be unfair both to the prosecution and to the applicant,” said Acting Justice Brian Martin.

Winchester was shot on January 10, 1989 while getting out of his car in his neighbour’s driveway at Deakin, Canberra.

The day after the shooting, Eastman became a suspect in the case.

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