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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Queensland removes double jeopardy rule for 10 offences

People can be retried for serious crimes including manslaughter, attempted murder and rape, under new laws passed in the Queensland Parliament today.

The changes expand the ‘fresh and compelling evidence’ double jeopardy exception to 10 additional offences – six unlawful killing offences and four sexual offences.

Currently, only people acquitted of murder can be retried under the double jeopardy exception if there is fresh and compelling evidence of guilt.

Aacting Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Leanne Linard said the reforms would ensure Queenslanders continue to have confidence in the state’s criminal justice system.

“The double jeopardy rule prevents an acquitted person from being retried for the same offence and until now, an exemption from that rule if fresh and compelling evidence emerges, has only applied to murder,” she said.

“The new laws are safeguards against both unjust acquittals and wrongful convictions.

“The expanded double jeopardy exception and the new subsequent appeal framework bring us into line with other jurisdictions, providing greater consistency.

“They demonstrate our commitment to maintaining a justice system that is contemporary, fair and a reasonable reflection of community expectations.”

The Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Double Jeopardy Exception and Subsequent Appeals) Amendment Act 2024 also establishes a new framework for the criminal justice system to respond to possible wrongful convictions.

Currently, once a convicted person has exhausted their original right of appeal, their only remaining avenue is to petition the Governor for a pardon.

The new laws establish a right for subsequent appeals against conviction on the grounds of fresh and compelling evidence or new and compelling evidence that a miscarriage of justice has occurred.

The amendments to the state’s double jeopardy laws and the introduction of a subsequent appeal framework will take effect later this year.

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