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A second look at double jeopardy laws [with poll]

By Barcham 1 March 2013 18

ABC News is reporting that the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions has called for reforms to double jeopardy laws.

The idea behind double jeopardy is to stop someone from being prosecuted repeatedly for a single crime, the DPP however feels that he should be allowed to re-prosecute if new evidence comes to light after the trial.

Understandably, a few people have expressed some concerns about these reforms.

Should the double jeopardy laws be changed

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18 Responses to
A second look at double jeopardy laws [with poll]
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DrKoresh 3:14 pm 02 Mar 13

I confess, I took the Beaumont kiddies. Case solved, eh vg?

DrKoresh 3:13 pm 02 Mar 13

johnboy said :

Easiest and most uneducated statement to make about this, which is destroyed if you pose a simple question.

What if the Police and judiciary DID do everything right the first time and evidence not available prior to the first trial becomes available, like, you know, a confession?

Tough titties? If all you have to go on is a confession then you haven’t really proven your case, have you?

Spiral 3:10 pm 02 Mar 13

If someone is convicted and years later DNA evidence (or some other scientific advance) proves that they were innocent, then we expect they will be released (and probably get compensation).

If someone is found not guilty and years later DNA evidence (or some other scientific advance) proves that they were guilty, why shouldn’t they go to gaol, or at the very least face a second trial?

mareva 3:01 pm 02 Mar 13

If someone is tried and acquitted due to insufficient evidence, and then some time later the missing piece of the evidentiary puzzle comes to light, it is a joke to not allow the prosecution to re-initiate the prosecution. It is just total fiction. And yet that is the system we have – everyone just turns a blind eye and holds up their hands and says, ‘oh well, too late now.’

It is quite often the case that evidence is simply not available to the prosecution at the requisite time. Like for instance, a witness simply will not talk. Suddenly years later they spill the beans completely, and further beans that corroborate their own beans.

This isn’t about police or prosecution incompetence. It is about fresh evidence the prosecution could not have known about at the time of the trial.

Get a grip people. It’s common sense.

As for those touting the human rights card, I find this website very strange. Most of the time you’re all bashing human rights saying lock em all up and throw away the key.

Gungahlin Al 2:40 pm 02 Mar 13

DrKoresh said :

It’s unnecessary, if the police and judiciary do their jobs properly the first time then there shouldn’t be a need for repeated trials.

The real world is far from such black and white simplicity.

There have been stunning developments in evidence science such as DNA in just the last few years. Does anyone believe such development pace won’t continue, or indeed accelerate? Should not police have the ability use new tools to either correct or validate past decisions of concern? Would you be so quick with your retort if the victim was someone in your family?

    johnboy 2:52 pm 02 Mar 13

    The question should be if police and prosecutors with their vast and ever expanding array of powers can’t get it right the first time now, why did we see fit to introduce the double jeopardy principal at a time when they had far less tools at their disposal?

vg 2:11 pm 02 Mar 13

DrKoresh said :

It’s unnecessary, if the police and judiciary do their jobs properly the first time then there shouldn’t be a need for repeated trials.

Easiest and most uneducated statement to make about this, which is destroyed if you pose a simple question.

What if the Police and judiciary DID do everything right the first time and evidence not available prior to the first trial becomes available, like, you know, a confession?

DrKoresh 11:46 pm 01 Mar 13

It’s unnecessary, if the police and judiciary do their jobs properly the first time then there shouldn’t be a need for repeated trials.

bd84 9:28 pm 01 Mar 13

If you have the right to appeal a conviction based on new evidence, there should also be provisions for the prosecutions to provide new evidence to prosecute again. There are legal provisions to stop people appealing convictions repeatedly, you can do the same for prosecutions.

bigfeet 5:58 pm 01 Mar 13

IrishPete said :

I’m much more concerned about people wrongly convicted than I am about a few wrongfully acquitted people. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstone%27s_formulation

I like the quote from the Chinese Professor at the bottom of that page about Blackstone’s formula –

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer-

“Better for whom?

thebrownstreak69 4:08 pm 01 Mar 13

Tetranitrate said :

They must be awlfuly worried about the Eastman enquriry to want a second shot.

One day it will all come out, but by then it will be too late for anything meaningful beyond setting the record straight.

Tetranitrate 3:39 pm 01 Mar 13

They must be awlfuly worried about the Eastman enquriry to want a second shot.

bundah 2:36 pm 01 Mar 13

No doubt about it the DPP need as much help as they can get due to the incompetence both within their ranks and the calibre of our judges.Bring it on i say!

devils_advocate 1:41 pm 01 Mar 13

Double jeopardy is one of the most important factors in providing some balance between the superior resources and coercive powers of the state when prosecuting private individuals.

Of course there will be situations where the guilty go free, either because of prosecutorial incompetence, police wrongdoing or sheer bad luck. None of those things justifies further incursions into the rights of the individual to have some finality in their sentence.

Dilandach 12:30 pm 01 Mar 13

PantsMan said :

This just shows what a total and utter wank the ACT Government is, and what a total waste of time and money the Human Rights Act 2004 is. Section 24 of that Act says:

Right not to be tried or punished more than once
No-one may be tried or punished again for an offence for which he or she has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with law.

The basis for double jeopardy was bought about long before forensic science was around. In NSW there already is basis for going to trial more than once in certain situations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Carroll is one such case where they went to trial but he was acquitted by false testimony, later proven false with additional evidence but wasn’t able to be tried again. So a pretty sick guy got away with a sexual based murder on a baby because of a technicality.

Grail 11:57 am 01 Mar 13

Imagine the flexibility that the permission to retry a case would allow?

This guy who we truly believe is as guilty as sin got off on the mere technicality that we didn’t handle the evidence properly. So we’ll amend the legislation to make it legal for evidence to be gathered the way this evidence was gathered.

This guy escaped gaol because although we truly believe that he was planning to murder a school full of children and their teachers, we couldn’t find any evidence that he had any weapons, nor was there any evidence of him planning to acquire any weapons, and there is no evidence that he knew this school even existed. But we’ll just amend the laws to allow hearsay and instinct as evidence when there is the potential mass murder of children involved. He has committed the crime of allowing us to believe him guilty!

If he was innocent he wouldn’t be a suspect, would he? Just like Aaron Swartz.

PantsMan 11:02 am 01 Mar 13

This just shows what a total and utter wank the ACT Government is, and what a total waste of time and money the Human Rights Act 2004 is. Section 24 of that Act says:

Right not to be tried or punished more than once
No-one may be tried or punished again for an offence for which he or she has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with law.

But now, because it is inconvenient to the ACT Government and its minions for me to have that human right, they are simply going to remove it!?! How could any Bill that proposed to remove my internationally right protected to not be tried twice for an offence obtain a statement of compatibility with the Human Rights Act 2004?

Deep down inside, for all the talk and spin, the ACT Labor are just a bunch of bullying bogans who believe nothing apart from the importance of their own continued-taxpayer funded-existence.

And what’s the ACT DPP doing giving out policy advice?

IrishPete 10:57 am 01 Mar 13

No. The scenario usually arises when police and DPP have tried to prosecute with a weak case. If they think they’ll get a second bite at the cherry later, they’ll be even more willing to prosecute with insufficient evidence. How many chances to they want? It’s not a poker machine, where they can just keeping pushing the buttons until they get the result they want. Lots of people are harmed by failed prosecutions, not just the defendant who may be innocent, but also the victims who have to go through a painful process. Bad enough to put them through it once with no “result” without wanting to do it again, and again, and again. I’m much more concerned about people wrongly convicted than I am about a few wrongfully acquitted people. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstone%27s_formulation

IP

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