"The ACT (Australian Capital Territory)  government has foreshadowed a possible bid to halt David Eastman's wrongful imprisonment claim until his retrial for the alleged murder of the ACT police chief is finished.  Eastman sued the ACT for wrongful imprisonment last year, after he was released following almost 19 years behind bars for the killing of Assistant Federal Police Commissioner Colin Stanley Winchester. Eastman was tried and found guilty of the killing in 1995, but an inquiry later exposed serious flaws with the forensic evidence used to link him to the crime scene. That inquiry led to him being freed in 2014.  Eastman is now facing a retrial, which he tried to permanently halt through a stay application this year, arguing a second trial could not be conducted fairly.
That stay application was thrown out last week, meaning Eastman is set to face a second jury over the killing. Eastman's wrongful imprisonment claim came back to the ACT Supreme Court on Monday.
During the brief appearance, lawyers for the ACT foreshadowed they would attempt to halt the civil case through a stay application until Eastman's guilt or otherwise was determined by a retrial.  It was submitted there would be "little utility" proceeding with the case at this stage. The government asked for a two week adjournment to decide whether it would launch a stay application. Should the civil claim be halted pending Eastman's criminal proceedings, it is likely to be on hold for an extended period. A new trial is not likely to take place until next year, at the earliest, and has been estimated at between four to six months.  Eastman's barrister Peter Tierney submitted on Monday that certain disputes, including over the discovery of documents, could continue to be resolved.  "The plaintiff is not a young man. He is anxious to have these proceedings brought to a head," Mr Tierney said......... Eastman's wrongful imprisonment case was lodged in September last year, by law firm Ken Cush and Associates. It alleged the former Treasury official's imprisonment caused him mental harm, lost income, deprivation of liberty, and reputational damage. It alleged he had expended legal cost and time in fighting to reverse his conviction.........In 2014, following Eastman's release, lawyers speculated that he could be eligible for millions of dollars in compensation.  Preparations for a retrial of Eastman are continuing. The matter is due back in court early next month, although avenues of appeal are open to the accused."