Monday, April 04, 2005

The end of 'double jeopardy'

Another ancient protection against the State dies today. If the Crown Prosecution Service, with all the resources of the State behind it, cannot convict you the first time - it can now have another try. As a young lawyer I worked on the defence team in a couple of murder trials. I know what an unequal struggle they can be. Most people accused of crime are not rich sportsmen or pop stars who can afford large legal teams. Most are ordinary people, represented by overloaded lawyers doing their humble best.

For an innocent man such a trial is a terrible ordeal. The idea that someone should go through all that, be acquitted by a jury of his peers, and then have to face it again is a nightmare. Of course, it came as no surprise - this has been in the works for ages - but it is still a national disgrace.

In one month we have lost two rights so fundamental as to be written into the US Constitution - because our Constitution says no more than "Parliament is sovereign" - and our Parliament has been hijacked by the political parties and their "Whips".

Telegraph | News | Murder reviews with end of 'double jeopardy'

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