Friday, August 22, 2014

David Harold Eastman: Australia; Aftermath 1: His one-time lawyer says "flaws with the forensic evidence that damned David Eastman at trial could have been revealed 17 years ago, " Canberra Times.

STORY: "Forensic  flaws from case against David Eastman should have been uncovered 17 years ago," by reporter Christopher Knaus, published by the Camberra Times on August 22, 2014.

GIST: "Flaws with the forensic evidence that damned David Eastman at trial could have been revealed 17 years ago, according to his one-time lawyer and former ACT Attorney-General. Eastman mounted a series of appeals following his 1995 conviction for the assassination of the ACT's police chief Colin Stanley Winchester. The first took place in the Federal Court in 1997, which then acted as the ACT's court of criminal appeal. Lawyer Bernard Collaery represented Eastman in that case, and now believes an opportunity to expose flaws with the forensic evidence and achieve justice was lost all those years ago. Mr Collaery and his team were fighting to introduce new evidence during the appeal that would undermine the credibility of the work of the key forensic expert used against Eastman, Robert Collins Barnes. Mr Barnes' evidence was critical in linking Eastman to the murder scene, and was instrumental in damning him before the jury at trial. The Eastman inquiry, which delivered its findings this year, has now uncovered deep flaws with Mr Barnes' work. Mr Barnes' reliability and accuracy were devastated under the scrutiny of a range of other experts, including Dr James Wallace and Dr Hilton Kobus. Yet, way back in 1997, Mr Collaery was fighting to have evidence from those same two forensic experts put before the Federal Court during Eastman's appeal. The two experts were in the middle of conducting tests in Adelaide they believed would seriously challenge Mr Barnes' evidence. Prosecutors opposed that new evidence being put before the court and, in what is now clearly a significant decision, the Federal Court agreed, refusing to accept Dr Wallace's affidavit in 1997. Mr Collaery told Fairfax Media the justice system must learn from that decision, particularly in cases like Eastman's, where an accused is representing himself in a disrupted, chaotic criminal trial.  "The lesson for our Court of Appeal is not to adopt the stilted 'no new evidence' approach when there are clear and compelling grounds to make an exception to the rules," he said.""

The entire story can be found at:


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