Australia: Eastman details life of abuse in prison - PressFrom - Australia

Australia Eastman details life of abuse in prison

10:40  04 october  2019
10:40  04 october  2019 Source:

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David Eastman© AAP Images David Eastman The man suing the ACT government for wrongful imprisonment for murder for two decades has publicly detailed his experience behind bars.

David Eastman, 74, is seeking damages for the time he spent in prison for the 1989 slaying of federal police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester.

The conviction was quashed in 2014 over concerns around the original evidence and he was found not guilty at a retrial last year.

Mr Eastman had pleaded not guilty to the shooting murder in 1993 but received a life sentence in 1995.

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The ACT Supreme Court adjourned on Friday while Justice Michael Elkaim reserved his decision whether to award compensation.

Mr Eastman is seeking up to $18 million after rejecting a $3.8 million payout offered by the territory.

He detailed a lengthy period of harassment and abuse from police, prison guards and fellow inmates in a statement provided to the court.

In prison, he watched another prisoner beaten to death, was bashed by inmates and guards and was moved 90 times between jails.

Mr Eastman said he occasionally smeared faeces on the wall of his cell in protest.

"I am not proud of that," his statement says.

On one occasion, he was king hit and suffered a cut to his eye, which is still impaired today.

During another incident, Mr Eastman was unable to wipe himself after defecating because his hands were chained to a restraining belt.

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Prisoner abuse is the mistreatment of persons while they are under arrest or incarcerated, therefore deprived of the right of self-defense against acting authorities and generally defenseless in actual fact.

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Prison guards would often threaten him or "engage in pure bastardry"; one officer told him he hoped to see him on the coroner's slab and others implied he'd had sex with his own twin sisters.

"Threats from other prisoners were common," the statement says.

"They usually involved threats to kill or rape me or my family members."

While under investigation ahead of the original trial, he says police would follow him on the street and mime shooting him in the head, something which "was driving me crazy".

He became aware his home was bugged after his lawyer was approached by a woman in a bar.

She'd said: "It's nice to put a face to the voice. I work for the AFP ... I've been typing up the transcripts of the bug in your client's flat."

For now, Mr Eastman says he still holds hope for the future, is looking for work and potentially a partner.

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