STORY: "Eastman Inquiry ends amid calls to remedy "gross miscarriage of justice," by reporter Christopher Knaus, published by the Age on May 15, 2014.

GIST: "The Eastman inquiry has finally wrapped up amid calls by the prisoner’s lawyers to finally remedy what they say has been a “gross miscarriage of justice”. David Harold Eastman has now spent 6895 days, or 18 years and 10 months, in custody for one of the nation’s most notorious police killings. A jury convicted Eastman after hearing an “overwhelming” circumstantial case that he shot dead the ACT region’s police chief, Assistant Commissioner Colin Stanley Winchester, in 1989, as he sat in his car in his neighbour’s driveway. He has always professed his innocence, and has launched a string of legal battles to try and clear his name. The latest bid, the Eastman inquiry, came to a close on Thursday afternoon, following months of evidence, argument, and, this week, closing submissions........The most shocking revelations to emerge have concerned the gunshot residue analysis that linked Eastman to the murder scene. The credibility of the work of Victorian-based forensic expert Robert Collins Barnes has been savaged, and glaring deficiencies identified. The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Australian Federal Police have argued that, even without Barnes’ forensic work, there was an overwhelming circumstantial case against Eastman. The remaining evidence includes a motive, an inability to explain his whereabouts, his threats against police and Mr Winchester, efforts to secure a gun, identification evidence, and, potentially, confessional utterances made in his home. But Mr Griffin says the forensics was closely interwoven with the other evidence, and was a “pervasive theme” in the prosecution’s lengthy and damning closing submission to the jury in Eastman’s 1995 trial. He said evidence suggesting an alternate hypothesis for the killing, involving Italian organised crime figures, should act as a counterweight to the remaining case against Eastman. Questions have also been raised about the conduct of investigation police, and their alleged harassment of Eastman. Mr Griffin described the behaviour as “brutish” and outside of the law, something he said Acting justice Martin could not let stand. He said the harassment was designed to force Eastman to say something stupid in his bugged home. Concerns have also been raised about the prosecution’s compliance with their duty to disclose certain information to Eastman’s defence team. ........The judge will now prepare his report and hand it to the registrar of the Supreme Court. It is unknown when and if it will be published. The report will come before the full court, who will then decide on the next course of action."

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