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Revocation of double jeopardy risky

Revocation of double jeopardy risky

Revoking the law of double jeopardy could result in a "slipshod" of justice, according to the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).Victoria's State Opposition is considering revoking the law if…

Revoking the law of double jeopardy could result in a "slipshod" of justice, according to the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).

Victoria's State Opposition is considering revoking the law if elected in November, and the LIV has urged them to exercise caution in considering any such a proposal.

The rule against double jeopardy prevents a person who has been acquitted or convicted of an offence from being tried again for an offence relating to the same conduct or event.

"The rule ensures members of the public brought to trial can be sure that once their case is decided, and if they are proven innocent, they can get on with their lives instead of being open to endless retrials," said LIV president Steven Stevens.

"The rule also ensures that police and prosecutors cannot repeatedly put forward shoddy, cobbled together cases safe in the knowledge that if they get it wrong this time they can simply put forward another shoddy case whenever they like.

"The current double jeopardy laws not only protect those accused of crimes but also give the alleged victims the assurance that they will have a final resolution. The prospect of endless hearings and re-hearings is of no benefit to anyone."

Stevens also said an end to double jeopardy would significantly increase the cost of justice in Victoria, which would come at the expense of legal aid.

"Contrary to some views, lawyers are not interested in endless court cases, they are interested in justice. An end to double jeopardy would open the floodgates of repeated legal proceedings which would drain our already overstretched courts. The Law Institute of Victoria is opposed to this," he said.

Stevens called on the state government to maintain its support for double jeopardy and resist any temptation to enter a bidding war with the opposition in an attempt to "look tough on crime".

"The government is consistently on the record as supporting the principle of double jeopardy and the LIV calls on it to maintain this principled position," said Stevens.

"The principle of double jeopardy is also part of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities introduced by the Brumby Government and the LIV expects the government will maintain its support for this important legal principle."

Like this story? Read more:

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Revocation of double jeopardy risky
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