Double Jeopardy

This will, I\’m sure, be used as an example of why ending the ban on double jeopardy was both necessary and a good thing.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating new forensic evidence in the murder of Stephen Lawrence, which could lead to the re-arrest of five original suspects in the case.

Investigators working on the case have discovered fibres from Mr Lawrence\’s clothes on those thought to have been worn by the suspects, according to the Daily Mail.

The independent experts working for Scotland Yard have now, using new forensic technology, established a case against the five main suspects and another sixth suspect.


They could now face a re-trial if the new evidence links them to the murder, because the "double jeopardy" law, which stated a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime, was repealed in 2005.

And it would be difficult to argue against such a case in this, er, case. Technology has moved on and thus more things can be discovered as possible evidence.

However, the general case in favour of double jeopardy still stands. It isn\’t to protect those who have "got off". It\’s to protect us against the State. It\’s to protect us against being prosecuted repeatedly for the same crime until the "right" result is achieved. As such, whatever the details of this case, I would want to return to the position that the prosecution has one attempt only at trying to convince a jury.

Ýes, it will mean some guilty go free. But then that\’s what the system is supposed to do, isn\’t it? 100 guilty men go free rather than one innocent be jailed?

3 thoughts on “Double Jeopardy”

  1. This is more important considering that Charles Clarke removed the compensation scheme for people wrongly imprisoned to save the state some pocket change in a sleight of hand that him look like a fat Paul Daniels.

    I think there needs to be a balance here though – I mean how many appeals do we allow convicts to make against their crimes on the basis of false evidence? Isn’t there a happy medium where we are still protected from the state without double jeopardy? Why not automatic trial by jury and expert scrutiny from multiple peers on any new evidence – a sort of dual jury that have to find the person/s guilty in both courts before guilt is established?

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