Colin Stanley Winchester
18 October 1933
|Died||10 January 1989 (aged 55)|
|Cause of death||Assassination; shot twice in head with a Ruger 10/22 .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle|
|Occupation||Assistant Commissioner of ACT Police|
|Employer||Australian Federal Police|
|Spouse(s)||Gwen Winchester (d. 2015)|
Colin Stanley Winchester ) was an assistant commissioner in the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Winchester commanded ACT Police, the community policing component of the AFP responsible for the Australian Capital Territory.(18 October 1933 – 10 January 1989
Winchester, the son of a baker, worked as a miner near Captains Flat before joining the Australian Capital Territory Police Force in 1962, aged 29 years. The ACT Police and Commonwealth Police were merged in 1979 to form the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
On 10 January 1989, at about 9:15 pm, Winchester was shot twice in the head with a Ruger 10/22 .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle fitted with a silencer and killed as he parked his car in the driveway of his neighbour’s premises in Deakin, Canberra. Winchester is Australia's most senior police officer to have been murdered. At the time of Winchester's murder, it was alleged that Winchester was corrupt, at any earlier period when it was said that he had handled bribes relating to a Canberra illegal casino. However, an audit of Winchester's financial affairs after his murder revealed nothing untoward. There were also allegations of 'Ndrangheta or mafia involvement in his murder. The story of Winchester's murder was dramatised in Police Crop: The Winchester Conspiracy.
Conviction and subsequent quash of conviction
In 1995 Eastman was tried and convicted of the murder of Winchester and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. During the 85-day trial, Eastman repeatedly sacked his legal team and eventually chose to represent himself. Eastman also abused the judge during his trial, and during later legal proceedings and appeals. Subsequent to his conviction, Eastman continuously appealed against his conviction, attempting to win a retrial on the basis that he was mentally unfit during his original trial. On 27 May 2009, Eastman was transferred from the Goulburn Correctional Centre in New South Wales to the ACT's Alexander Maconochie Centre to see out his sentence.
A new inquiry relating to his conviction was announced in August 2012. In 2014, the inquiry, headed by Justice Brian Ross Martin, found there had been "a substantial miscarriage of justice", Eastman "did not receive a fair trial", the forensic evidence on which the conviction was based was "deeply flawed" and recommended the conviction be quashed. However Martin said he was "fairly certain" Eastman was guilty but "a nagging doubt remains".
In 2016 it was reported that the ACT Government sought a retrial of Eastman over the murder of Winchester; and that the legal precedings had cost the ACT Government approximately A$30 million. Meanwhile, Eastman lodged a civil claim against the ACT Government seeking compensation for wrongful imprisonment; and on 14 October 2019 Eastman was awarded A$7.02 million in compensation.
On 22 November 2018, Eastman was found not guilty of Winchester's murder after a lengthy re-trial.
Following his murder the Winchester Police Centre, located in Benjamin Way, Belconnen, was established in 1994 as the headquarters for ACT Police. The Winchester Police Centre houses ACT Police Executive, administrative and support sections and elements of the Territory Investigations Group (TIG).
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- Thistleton, John (28 September 2014). "John Hatton: the case that almost broke me". South Coast Register. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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- "Eastman inquiry recommends David Eastman's conviction be quashed, finds miscarriage of justice". 30 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
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- "David Eastman must be retried for Colin Winchester murder, court rules". Guardian Australia. Australian Associated Press. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- Knaus, Christopher (14 April 2016). "David Eastman loses bid to prevent retrial for alleged murder of Colin Winchester". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- Gorrey, Sarah (24 May 2017). "David Eastman's second trial over Colin Winchester murder pushed back months". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- Byrne, Elizabeth (19 February 2016). "David Eastman must be retried for Colin Winchester murder, court rules". The Canberra Times. Australia. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- Byrne, Elizabeth (14 October 2019). "David Eastman awarded more than $7 million for wrongful murder conviction, almost 20 years in jail". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Back, Alexandra (14 October 2019). "Eastman awarded $7 million for wrongful imprisonment". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Byrne, Elizabeth (22 November 2018). "David Eastman found not guilty of murdering senior AFP officer nearly three decades ago". ABC News. Australia.
- "Celebrating 100 years of policing in the ACT" (PDF). Australian Federal Police. 2013. pp. 7, 10. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Martin J, B. R. (29 May 2014). "Report of the Board of Inquiry" (PDF). Inquiry into the Conviction of David Harold Eastman for the Murder of Colin Stanley Winchester (Redacted ed.). Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory – via The Canberra Times.
| Chief Police Officer of ACT Policing