A key prosecution witness has threatened to “walk out” of the trial of accused killer David Eastman, after accusing the defence counsel of “bullying him”.
David Eastman, 72, is on trial for a second time over the murder of Assistant Australian Federal Police Commissioner Colin Winchester, who was shot dead as he was getting out of his car on January 10, 1989.
In court on Thursday, former Queanbeyan sports store owner Denis Reid said a man had entered his shop a few weeks before Mr Winchester’s death, and tried to sell him a Ruger rifle.
But he said he refused because it was threaded, suggesting a silencer had been fitted.
“Once I realised it had a threaded barrel, it was like a black snake to me,” Mr Reid said.
“I’d rather have a black snake in my hand.”
However, while cross-examining the witness, defence counsel George Georgiou read out a transcript from a police interview in May 1990, in which Mr Reid told police he had never checked the rifle to see if it was threaded.
In court, Mr Georgiou asked if the statement was accurate.
Mr Reid responded: “Biggest mistake I’ve made in my life.”
“It may not have been a mistake,” Mr Georgiou told the court.
“It f***ing well was,” Mr Reid said.
‘I’ll walk out of here in a minute’
The jury heard Mr Reid was shown a board of photos by police on two occasions after Mr Winchester’s death, and asked to identify the man who walked into his shop.
While he said he was not completely sure, he chose a man on the second occasion who he later learned was Mr Eastman.
But Mr Reid agreed he had been shown the photos after Mr Eastman had already been identified as a suspect in the murder.
Denis Reid was not 100 per cent on his identification of David Eastman as the man who came into his store. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)
During a long day of cross-examination, Mr Reid objected to several of Mr Georgiou’s questions.
At one point in court, he also began writing notes down.
Mr Georgiou asked him if he was writing information to pass to his son, who was the prosecution’s next witness.
“That’s bullshit,” Mr Reid replied.
After Mr Georgiou pressed him over another statement, Mr Reid replied: “I’ll walk out of here in a minute! Shit.”
Judge Murray Kellam interjected: “You won’t be doing that.”
Shortly afterwards, Mr Reid objected again to different questions from Mr Georgiou.
“Jesus Christ! I feel like I’m being bullied by him. I don’t take lightly to it,” he said.
“We’ll move on, Mr Reid,” Mr Georgiou said.
“You better,” Mr Reid replied.
Witness was friends with Winchester’s brother
Under cross-examination, Mr Reid also revealed he was close friends with Mr Winchester’s brother, Ken, at the time of the murder.
Mr Reid accepted that in 1990 he told police: “Anyone who knew Colin Winchester or his brother Kenny would keep their eyes and ears open.”
He also revealed one of the detectives who had interviewed him directly after Mr Winchester’s death was a close friend.
“I’d trust him with my life,” Mr Reid said.