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Goff Supports Limited Exception To Double Jeopardy

Goff Supports Limited Exception To Double Jeopardy Rule

Justice Minister Phil Goff will support a Law Commission proposal to allow for a limited exception to the rule against double jeopardy in a narrow class of cases.

Justice Baragwanath has made the recommendation in his report 'Acquittal Following Perversion of the Course of Justice'. The paper was in response to the case of gang member, Kevin Moore, who was unable to be retried for murder after his acquittal on his first trial because of false evidence by a witness.

"I support the general rule against double jeopardy where a person cannot be re-tried for the same offence. But where the accused has secured an unmerited acquittal on a serious charge by perjury or other conduct that has perverted the course of justice, an exception to the rule is warranted.

"Not to change the law in this area risks bringing the justice system into public contempt. Also, it would provide an incentive for those accused of serious offences to commit perjury or otherwise pervert the course of justice.

"In the case of Moore, he benefited from his own abuse of the criminal justice system. He should have got at least ten years for murder. But as a result of witness perjury he may serve as little as two years and four months for the lesser charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

"He has literally gotten away with murder.

"The rule against double jeopardy is a long-standing aspect of our law and an important protection of the administration of justice.

"I note Justice Baragwanath's recommendations that the exception to the rule only apply when the accused is guilty of an administration of justice crime such as perjury and that the original crime must be confined to the most serious classes of case.

"I will be putting a paper to cabinet for a law change recommending a limited exception to the rule against double jeopardy," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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