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Australia Queensland double jeopardy murder trial knocked back by Court of Appeal

04:15  03 december  2019
04:15  03 december  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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An application to use double jeopardy provisions to retry a man over a 1980s murder he was acquitted of, has been dismissed by Queensland's Court of Appeal after finding new evidence was unreliable.

The man was arrested in July last year, triggering a "legal mechanism" whereby an application was made to the court for an acquitted person to face trial again.

It was the first time the laws were used in Queensland since they were introduced in 2014.

The man was found not guilty by a jury on a charge of murder in 1988 because identity of the killer was an issue.

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The double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, "Nor shall any person And if federal charges apply, a defendant might be acquitted in a local trial but still charged and For them, the concept of double jeopardy is a bitter pill. "We thought and the state police

The judgement handed down this morning said the body of a woman was found with multiple stab wounds, tangled with a blood stained pillow and bed clothes in the bedroom of her flat in September 1987.

There was evidence of "sexual intercourse", with a pair of blood-stained and torn underwear found on the floor.

She was found eight days after her and the man were seen drinking and happy at a function together.

The judgement summary said the man had made statements to police at the time, telling them he had previously tried to start a sexual relationship with the deceased, and after the function had gone to her flat where they watched TV together.

He told police he then left and could not remember if he had gone into her bedroom on the night she was killed, but admitted he had been in there once or twice before.

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He appealed , claiming the second trial should not have included the greater offense under the Double Jeopardy Clause. The Supreme Court of the United States overruled, stating that Green was acquitted of first degree murder and, under the Fifth Amendment, could not be retried on that charge.

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Samples of his blood and hair we given to police, and officers had access to his car, but no blood was found.

There was some blood found on two areas of the pillow, consistent with the blood of about one-in-1,000 Australians, including the man, but no evidence of an injury, which could have caused them.

Under the criminal code, no further details of the case can be published in order to protect the man's identity.

Integrity of DNA evidence can't be tested by defence

After laws were changed in 2014, a Court of Appeal was allowed to order an acquitted person be retried for the same offence if it is satisfied "there is fresh and compelling evidence" and "is in the interest of justice".

In this case, the Director of Public Prosecutions was relying on new DNA testing results, which became available after the 1988 trial.

The judgement said testing of the fabric of the pillow case gave DNA profiles that matched the respondent's DNA profile.

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Generally, double jeopardy protection extends to all felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile delinquency adjudications, regardless of the punishments they prescribe. Consequently, state courts can't provide their residents with less protection against double jeopardy than is offered by federal courts .

To learn more about Double Jeopardy and related topics, visit FindLaw's section on Criminal Rights. We've all heard the phrase " double jeopardy " on TV or in movies, but what does it mean, legally? Protections against double jeopardy keep criminal defendants from facing prosecution more

The tested DNA might have come from blood cells but could have also come from skin cells.

The court said the scientists who could testify about the origin and handling of the samples would not be available to be questioned under cross-examination.

"DNA matching is powerful evidence because, if there has been scientific integrity in the process that leads to obtaining a profile, it is almost incontrovertible," the judgement read.

"The inability of a defendant to test that integrity means that there cannot be a fair trial."

The man's defence team could also no longer test the underwear because it had since been destroyed, meaning the "fresh evidence" was not reliable.

It also found, even if the fresh evidence was accepted, it would only reinforce the already admitted fact the man had been inside the woman's home and bedroom.

In conclusion, the court found in context of the issues that were in dispute in 1988, it was not enough to allow the appeal.

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