Civil Liberties Australia congratulates the Chief Minister for standing up for the nation’s traditional legal system at the meeting of Australian governments, COAG. Mr Stanhope said the ACT would oppose a new double-jeopardy proposal, under which a person found not guilty could be retried for the same offence.
Such a change to long-standing law would permit using a first prosecution to harass people, and give investigators and prosecutors an unreasonable opportunity to make up for their own sloppy work at first instance.
Double jeopardy was designed to give certainty in people’s lives, and closure for the community, after someone was acquitted of a crime.
Recently, with anti-terrorism legislation, the Australian Government has overturned long-standing legal principles, such as being innocent until proven guilty and habeas corpus.
Instituting a double-jeopardy system would even further emasculate the rule of law in Australia.
Bill Rowlings, Fisher, secretary, Civil Liberties Australia (Canberra Times letter)