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Family Party calls for change to Double Jeopardy



Family Party calls for change to Double Jeopardy law

27 May 08. The Family Party is calling for changes to the law of Double Jeopardy’ that says no one who has been acquitted of an offence shall be tried for it again. This law would prevent Chris Kahui from being charged again if fresh evidence pointing to his guilt came to light.

Family Party leader Richard Lewis says the law as it currently stands protects an accused from being tried again in the face of fresh evidence that was not available during the original trial.

“I think we need to take a close look at the law of Double Jeopardy and see if it properly serves our justice system. Because I cannot see why an individual should not be held to account in the face of fresh and compelling evidence that was not readily available during the original trial,” says Mr Lewis.

He points to a previous rape trial he handled (as a former police officer) in the Wellington High Court where the accused walked free after DNA evidence used during the trial cleared him. On a re-examination of the DNA evidence forensic scientists found that the accused was in fact the rapist. But under the law of Double Jeopardy he could not be tried again.

Mr Lewis says advancements in technology had provided new tools for law enforcement that could reveal evidence that was not historically available and that these kinds of developments needed to be considered.


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