COMMENTARY: "David Eastman inquiry delivers a necessary, but very limited finding," by Jack Waterford, published by the Canberra Times on May 30, 2014. (Jack Waterford is Editor-at-large, The Canberra Times).

GIST: "His findings reflect ill on the most expensive and one of the most lengthy murder investigations in Australian history, on police competence and good conduct, on the competence of an expensive and well-resourced prosecution, the capacity of the ACT (Australian Capital Territory)  justice system to provide a fair trial, and on public confidence in the capacity of that system to detect legal and forensic error. Right to the end, counsel for the ACT DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions)  and the AFP  (Australian Federal Police) were attempting to prevent the inquiry, and complacently denying extensive public concerns about the safety of the verdict.........Martin found that key forensic evidence was faulty. Given that the case occurred in the aftermath of forensic disasters in the Chamberlain and Splatt cases, it seems amazing that the defects in the evidence, and genuine doubts about the calibre, competence and good conduct of the major forensic witness was not discovered, and that what Martin thought to be police failures to communicate with prosecution lawyers meant that the prosecutions were unaware of adverse information about the bona fides of the witness. Nor were Eastman or the defence team made aware of doubts by other scientific witnesses about the evidence of the major witness.........What is needed now is a further inquiry  – not one focused on guilt, but on whether ACT policing, the prosecution system and the executive justice system is in good hands. Given the doggedness with which everything done before has been defended, and the complete failure of police and prosecutors to hold any sort of frank review of efforts made a generation ago, with investigators now retired, it would be simply too easy to declare that it all happened in another time, and another place. Given that this was the biggest thing AFP detectives have done since establishment in 1978, it is hard to be sure they would do any better today."

The entire commentary can be found at: