Queensland Labor Inc has introduced laws to expand double jeopardy exceptions to other serious offences such as manslaughter and sexual offences, while also clarifying the definition of fresh evidence.
Currently in Queensland, the only exception to the double jeopardy rule is for the offence of murder if there is fresh and compelling evidence.
The Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Double Jeopardy Exception and Subsequent Appeals) Amendment Bill 2023 will expand the exception to allow an acquitted person to be retried for ten additional offences.
These include manslaughter, attempted murder, unlawful striking causing death, killing an unborn child, rape, incest and repeated sexual conduct with a child.
The new legislation also clarifies that for the double jeopardy exception, evidence is defined to be ‘fresh’ if it was not presented in trial and could not have been through reasonable efforts by the police and prosecution.
In other words bureaucratic bungling such as the state run DNA laboratory where more than 100,000 samples have to be retested as a result of a faulty process will inflict a massive cost in economic and human terms.
These test results were relied on in criminal trials but now there is a cloud over hundreds of court cases where a defendant has been acquitted or convicted.
The State wants to have another go just in case an innocent defendant or political dissident got off the hook by lazy, incompetent and overworked police presenting unreliable evidence or having none at all.
This will ensure evidence is not precluded from being ‘fresh’ solely because another person – for example an expert witness – failed to exercise reasonable diligence.
The proposed reforms also enhance the ability of the criminal justice system to respond to possible wrongful convictions by establishing a framework for subsequent appeals against conviction.
Currently, the only avenue available to a convicted person who has exhausted their original right of appeal, is petitioning the Governor for a pardon.
A person cannot make another appeal even if evidence emerges indicating the person is innocent.
The Bill introduces a right of subsequent appeal against conviction on the grounds of fresh and compelling evidence or new and compelling evidence.
Queensland Labor will find this serious attack on the jury system will backfire on them when their members of parliament are eventually prosecuted for exactly the same offences mentioned above, not forgetting full-term abortions and the thousands of Covid jab injuries and deaths inflicted by the duopoly.