ACT News


Colin Winchester's family 'strong enough' for second David Eastman trial

The family of Colin Winchester say they're strong enough to endure a second murder trial of David Eastman.

ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner John Hinchey said the family had been disappointed with the ACT Supreme Court's decision to quash Eastman's conviction for the 1989 assassination.

The court ordered Eastman face a second trial and it is now up to the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions whether to pursue the case.

The Winchester family have spurned the spotlight and declined to speak publicly as legal squabbling overtook the case.

Mr Hinchey, speaking on behalf of the family, said the Winchester's would support the DPP's decision, but were "up for it" if a fresh trial were to be pursued.


"The Winchester family remain steadfast and resolute in their pursuit of justice for Colin Winchester and would support any retrial of David Eastman," he said.

"The fact that this process has never closed meant that it is has never brought finality to the Winchester family. Every reconsideration by the courts has resulted in further days of mourning for the Winchester family."

Mr Hinchey said the family wanted to extend their gratitude to the ACT DPP and the AFP for "their pursuit of justice for Colin Winchester".

"In particular, the family wishes to acknowledge [former AFP commander] Rick Ninness for his unwavering support of them over the years and for bringing David Eastman to justice," he said.

The news also hit Australian Federal Police members hard, AFP Association chief executive Dennis Gellatly said.

Mr Gellatly - who was a constable when Mr Winchester was murdered and still keenly remembers the shock and disbelief - said he had spent Friday afternoon fielding emotional calls from members and interstate police who wanted to express "their extreme frustration and angst at the decision" to quash Eastman's conviction.

"It's highly disappointing … today rates as one of the most disappointing days in the history of ACT Policing, other than the day of Assistant Commissioner Winchester's murder," he said.

"Police throughout the AFP are expressing their extreme frustration and angst at the decision to quash David Eastman's conviction.

"[Other Australian police forces] feel for us in circumstances where one of our own, particularly someone in a senior position and as well respected as Colin Winchester was, dies in such awful circumstances."

Mr Gellatly said his members would eagerly await a decision from the ACT office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether to pursue a second prosecution against Eastman.

"If the DPP were to decide to conduct a retrial, the AFP would have to play an integral part in helping prepare a new brief of evidence.

"It would be a fairly complex challenge to launch a retrial."