Friday, August 10, 2012

David Eastman: How a British gunshot residue case ten years after the murder (Barry George) casts doubt on Eastman's conviction. Canberra Times.

STORY: "Why the Eastman case nags observers," by Jack Waterford, published in the Canberra  Times on August 11, 2012.

GIST: "Critical evidence which helped convict Eastman would not be regarded as admissible today. This is not because of some ''legal technicality'' about the admissibility of evidence. It is because modern science now understands that conclusions they once drew confidently, and methods they once used, have been shown to be wrong, or, at the least, unsustainable. A true forensic scientist is at heart a scientist, and scientific knowledge, technique and capacity continually improves. But, as it happens, much more is involved in the Eastman case than ''new'' knowledge. There seemed to be significant weaknesses in gunshot residue evidence from the start. The chief ''expert'' used by the AFP was Robert Barnes, who had been in the Victorian Forensic Science unit. Barnes gave different evidence at different times, often without explaining how or why he had changed his mind. He changed his mind about the type of gun used, whether a silencer was used, whether the rifle barrel (if it was a rifle) was shortened, and about what the residue tended to prove. Like detectives he has always assumed, without evidence, that cartridges found, trampled in mud near Winchester's car a day or two after the murder, were from the murder weapon. Barnes was a confident, even dogmatic, witness. But, because of Eastman's antics, he was never cross-examined, asked about contradictions in his statements, or even about his tendency to overstate his qualifications, a one-year trade certificate in metallurgy. And, as the judge had in the George case, the trial judge, Ken Carruthers from NSW, seemed to form an early antipathy to the defendant and, if formally fair, gave him no quarter, because he thought Eastman was faking mental illness as a tactic."
The entire story can be found at:


I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.