Double jeopardy exceptions to expand

Laws to expand double jeopardy exceptions to other serious offences such as manslaughter and sexual offences were introduced into the Queensland Parliament today.

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 10 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.

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.

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