Daily News Roundup

November 22, 2018

Image: Daily News

David Eastman, who spent nearly 20 years in jail over the killing one of the country’s top cops, has been found not guilty of the murder after a retrial.

A jury determined Mr Eastman did not murder senior Australian Federal Police officer Colin Winchester nearly three decades ago.

The not-guilty verdict in the ACT Supreme Court marked the end of a six-month trial and just over a week of deliberating.

Mr Eastman spent 19 years in jail after a first trial found him guilty of shooting Mr Winchester as he got out of his car near his house in 1989.

But a 2014 inquiry found flaws in the original forensic original evidence had lead to a miscarriage of justice, causing Mr Eastman to be tried a second time.

The ACT Government had invested millions in proceedings against Mr Eastman, allocating dedicated funding in recent territory budgets.

Taxpayers forked out $6.5 million for this year’s re-trial.

In the past decade, legal proceedings surrounding the trial cost upwards of $30m.

The prosecutor’s 2018 case argued there were “too many coincidences” for anyone else to have been the killer, that Mr Eastman had a motive because Mr Winchester refused to help him out of career-damaging assault charges, and that he had made threats against police.

It relied heavily on tapes of Mr Eastman talking to himself in his home — which the prosecution said included admissions.

The DPP also drew on evidence he had looked through the Canberra Times classifieds for a gun as well as witness sightings of a similar-looking car to Mr Eastman’s in a street near the murder scene days before the shooting.

But the theory of a motive was rejected by the defence, which claimed the killing was a mafia hit related to Mr Winchester’s investigation of drug crops near Canberra

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PHOTO: John Allen Chau was killed when he went ashore on North Sentinel Island. (Instagram: johnachau)

An American preacher who kayaked to a remote Indian island populated by a tribe known for shooting at outsiders with bows and arrows has been killed, police said.

Dependera Pathak, director-general of police on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said seven fishermen have been arrested for helping the American reach North Sentinel Island.

The Sentinelese people, believed to be the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world, are resistant to outsiders and often attack anyone who comes near, and visits to the island are heavily restricted by the Government.

Mr Pathak identified the American as John Allen Chau and said he told a hotel he was 26 years old.

Mr Chau was apparently shot and killed by arrows, but the cause of death cannot be confirmed until his body is recovered, Mr Pathak told The Associated Press.

“It was a case of misdirected adventure,” Mr Pathak said.

Mr Chau’s family published a statement on his Instagram page saying they forgave those who killed him.

“We recently learned from an unconfirmed report that John Allen Chau was reportedly killed in India while reaching out to members of the Sentinelese Tribe,” it says.

“Words can’t express the sadness we have experienced about this report.

“… he was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT, an international soccer coach and a mountaineer.

“He loved God, helping those in need and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people.

“We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death.

“He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions.”

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A dust storm that has blanketed parts of regional NSW has reached Sydney, prompting the State Government to issue an air quality warning.

The storm, which stretches about 500 kilometres, reduced visibility to just metres in some far western areas yesterday, including Darling River and Broken Hill.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said light dust was beginning to impact Sydney by 8am, however the main band remained around the Great Dividing Range.

The dust was expected to thicken in Sydney during the morning, but BOM forecaster Jordan Notara said it was unclear how severe the situation would become.

“We may see some red afternoon skies,” he said.

The dust storm could impact an area including Sydney the Illawarra and the Central Coast.

Mr Notara said the conditions had “the same hallmarks” of a major dust storm in Sydney in 2009.

Drought conditions have dried soil, which makes it easier for the wind to pick up dust.

The Health Department warned those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema to limit their time outside and not exercise.

“Some of the dust particles in the dust storm will be very small and can get deep into your lungs and that’s why we’re concerned about people’s health,” Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said.

“If possible, stay in air-conditioned premises where filtration systems can help to reduce dust particles in the air.”

This daily news roundup has been curated with stories from ABC News

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