Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 20 October 2005) . . Page.. 3955 ..
had decided not to direct inquiry on the other three matters. A hearing was conducted on 12 July 2001 and on 7 August 2001 the Chief Justice directed the Chief Magistrate to examine the issue of fitness to plead according to the terms of section 475.
Following further judicial review proceedings by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Mr Eastman, a section 475 inquiry commenced, as originally decided by Chief Justice Miles. Although Justice Miles had retired, he was appointed as an acting judge to report on the Eastman inquiry. Mr Greg Cavanagh was appointed as the magistrate to hear evidence for the inquiry.
On 6 October 2005, Acting Justice Jeffrey Miles provided the executive with a two-volume report on Mr Eastman’s fitness to plead in the trial of the murder of Colin Winchester. On 10 October, I announced Justice Miles’s findings and volume 1 of the report was made publicly available via the Supreme Court’s web site. A copy of the report and volume 2 have been provided to Mr Eastman.
The report tabled today is only volume 1. Volume 2 contains personal information about Mr Eastman and his family and further privacy considerations are required before releasing it publicly. I do, however, intend in our next sitting period to table volume 2 of the report, but I do need to take some further advice in relation to privacy issues affecting most particularly Mr Eastman’s family.
Justice Miles concluded that Mr Eastman was fit to plead throughout his trial. The government accepts Justice Miles’s finding and Justice Miles’s recommendation to take no action in relation to Mr Eastman’s conviction. The evidence provided to the inquiry and considered by Justice Miles was extensive: 27 witnesses were called, 97 exhibits were admitted and 7,000 pages of trial transcript were examined. Justice Miles reached clear conclusions about Mr Eastman’s fitness to plead, given the psychiatric evidence and Mr Eastman’s capacity to instruct solicitors. Justice Miles noted that a diagnosis of a mental impairment or symptoms of psychosis do not inherently equate to unfitness to plead.
Justice Miles concluded that at the relevant stages of the trial where unfitness was suggested retrospectively, Mr Eastman was in fact fit. In applying a legal standard of unfitness to plead, Justice Miles found that Mr Eastman’s unusual behaviour, associated with his personality disorder, did not constitute unfitness to plead. Justice Miles found that during the trial Mr Eastman demonstrated his capacity to instruct and, when Mr Eastman’s solicitors could not get instructions, it was a decision of Mr Eastman rather than an incapacity to instruct.
Justice Miles has presented the executive with a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the issue of Mr Eastman’s fitness to plead, and the government proposes that this matter now be put to rest.
Mr Quinlan presented the following papers:
Financial Management Act—
Pursuant to section 14—Instrument directing a transfer of funds within the