ACT News

Leading NSW anti-corruption figure appointed to hear Eastman stay application

A leading NSW anti-corruption figure has been appointed to hear David Harold Eastman's bid to avoid a retrial.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced on Tuesday afternoon that Anthony Whealy, QC, has been appointed an acting judge of the ACT Supreme Court.

Anthony Whealy, QC, has been appointed an acting judge of the ACT Supreme Court.
Anthony Whealy, QC, has been appointed an acting judge of the ACT Supreme Court. 

Justice Whealy was a qualified, suitable acting judge to hear proceedings regarding Eastman, Mr Corbell said.

Eastman has applied for a stay against the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions' decision to re-try him for the 1989 murder of ACT police chief Colin Winchester.

Eastman's conviction for the murder was quashed and a retrial ordered after an inquiry found his 1995 trial had been a miscarriage of justice.

Eastman's legal team has previously foreshadowed an application to permanently halt a retrial on the grounds that it cannot be conducted fairly.

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It is expected to be heard in the first half of 2015.

Justice Whealy started his legal career as a solicitor in 1965 and he became a barrister in 1971.

He practised as a Queen's Counsel from 1984 to 2000, before becoming a Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW from 2000 to 2012, and judge of the NSW Court of Appeal from 2010 to 2012.

Justice Whealy has also been the chairman of the COAG Committee on Counter-Terrorism Laws, an acting judge of appeal in Western Australia, and assistant commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. 

He is currently a part-time commissioner of the NSW Law Reform Commission, deputy chairman of the NSW Sentencing Council, a university visitor for the Catholic University, and a consultant for the Judicial Commission of NSW.

Mr Corbell said Justice Whealy's skills and experience were exemplary.

"He will be an important addition to the ACT's judiciary," Mr Corbell said. 

"His appointment also reflects this government's commitment to support our resident judges and reduce waiting periods for resolution of matters before the courts."

Eastman's case is scheduled to appear before the ACT Supreme Court for directions in February.