The courts are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that justice has been done for those who have been oppressed unlawfully by judging the offenders as per the provisions of the law. Justice can be defined as the moral rightness, the fairness, or the system that enables every person to receive his/her due such as the legal and natural rights and freedoms. However, at times, the attorneys and judges focus on procedures of prosecution, and this may not result in justice for all and one of the practical examples involves the case of double jeopardy. During the court hearings, the judges must remain neutral and make a decision based on the facts presented, meaning that there should be justice for the offenders, the victims, and the society as a way of ensuring justice for all. Nevertheless, some rules and regulations such as the double jeopardy rule as applied in Australia may seem to favor the offender, as they do not allow fresh evidence and similar cases to be retrieved as applicable in England.
Double Jeopardy Cases
Between 1990 and 1991, aboriginal children Evelyn Greenup, Colleen Craig, and Clinton Speedy-Duroux became victims of murder, and their cases have been related to a single suspect. The suspect, a white man, was eventually judged for the killing of two children and the story involves the failure of the courts to exercise justice for the murdered children and their families because of the limitations of the double jeopardy rule. The children were killed in a span of five months and were living in the same locality. The application of the double jeopardy rule, in this case, means that the parents of the murdered children could not unite and provide evidence during prosecution and that the suspect could not be judged twice for a similar crime committed. This means that the rule seems to be biased as some sections of the populace will have to be affected and lack the necessary lawful support that could enable them to receive justice for the wrongs done against them.
The country is located in New South Wales with a very small population. However, 24% of them are aboriginal, and the majority live in a particular estate, Aboriginal Mission Estate. This is where the disappearance of the three children under study happened; they were murdered, and it is associated with cases of racial segregation and tension. The law enforcement officers have to ensure that this area remains safe. Otherwise, more of such cases can be reported, thus affecting the country adversely. Therefore, before making any ruling related to racial issues in this area, it is necessary for the jury to understand the racial tension and prejudice practiced there and the best way forward in solving the problem, thus making a sound and lawful judgment. Nevertheless, it is not okay for the people to be segregated on racial lines, as this will lead to the inability to work optimally, leading to a reduction in production levels.
Double Jeopardy Rule
The law prohibits the judges from opening up a hearing on a suspect for similar or same charges once a legitimate conviction or acquittal has been made. This means that after the defendant was judged for the first murder crime, the law could not allow for the next two similar court proceedings. As a result, there will be two sides of the case because the suspect will not be judged for some of his cases while the families of the affected will consider it as justice denied. In the event that the defendant is convicted of two similar offences that have related elements, it will be wrong as per the double jeopardy provisions. However, such crimes must overlap for them to be considered related, meaning that even if there is enough evidence about the other cases, such evidence will not be presented in the court of law. The double jeopardy rule directly favors the offender as the victims stand to lose in the real sense and this may promote more crime. The understanding of the application of the double jeopardy rule is that a suspect cannot be judged for the same offence more than once. However, there exist some differences in the application of the law from one country to another, and this means that one should understand the existing laws before making a comment on the court’s decision. For instance, the Australian law is different from that of the UK and noting this variance will make it possible for individuals such as international law students to determine how to approach cases involving double jeopardy issues.
The law of Australian double jeopardy was held to prevent further perjury prosecution by following previous findings where the acquittal was controverted, which is in contrast with the other common law of nations. In such terms, it was confirmed in Rv Carroll’s case, where new evidence was found by the police which was convincingly disproving. Rv Carroll’s evidence was found after two decades of being acquitted of murder charges against Deidre Kennedy, Ipswich. Moreover, this made Rv Carroll to be prosecuted for perjury. Following the overturn of his perjury conviction by the Public outcry, law reforms have been made in Wales and England legislations.
The model of legislation in 2007 drafted double jeopardy rules during the COAG (Council of Australian Governments), but no state had a formal agreement for its introduction. All States decided to choose in introducing legislation that mirrors the recommendations of COAG's compelling and fresh evidence. In 2006, retrial cases that were serious had a minimum sentence of 20years in the New South Wales. Later on, the parliament of South Wales passed legislation to abolish the rule, which was against the double jeopardy. The bill was passed and cases like an acquittal of a sentence offence of 15 years or more were tainted by the perversion, bribery, or perjury of the course of justice. Also, in the acquittal of a crime that involves life sentence such as the production of illegal drugs or substantial commercial supply, gang rape that is so violent, and murder was debunked by compelling and fresh evidence.
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