April 3, 2005

Britain scraps double jeopardy

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:01 pm by thelawthoughts

I am really interested to find out what this new law actually provides, because it seems Britain is getting rid of the prohibition (is that what you call it?) against being tried twice for the same offence.

Usually, 800 year old rules are good rules and don’t need to be changed. I am not being conservative, I just think that rules that have worked for that long generally work and are based on fundamentally sound principles.

This seems like a funny thing to do, it would need HUGE safeguards against abuse. The whole point of double jeopardy is to provide closure. Once a person is acquitted, they don’t have to live the entire rest of their life looking over their shoulder on the off chance a new piece of evidence (false or not) would come to light and get them convicted.

Apart from anything else, how on earth can Scotland Yard have a go at people who have published books confessing to their murders? I mean, they are dickheads for writing a book, but to review anybody’s case as this story says they plan to do is surely retrospective lawmaking. Surely if any change is made to a law, it cannot be made applicable to persons who have acted under the expectation of the law in force at the time being the law that applies to their actions.

I don’t know, maybe I am missing something. Maybe the story is inaccurate. But bloody hell, if it is true, heaven help anybody accused of any crime any time, guilty or not. No matter what the outcome, they will not be able to escape the possibility that a conviction may occur, or at least be attempted, 50 years after an original trial, just because technology is better. Sounds frightening to me.



  1. Tom Paine said,

    It’s true. I can’t believe it myself, but it’s true. You can read more at


    Britain is steadily building the apparatus of a police state (ID Cards, centralised databases, no habeas corpus – see Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 – no double jeopardy, no trial by one’s peers, it goes on and on). We will need the US Marines to reimpose democracy before we are finished.–>

  2. Cash said,


    nice blog.. i ll come back again :] greets

  3. Iain said,

    You might want to start making a distinction between Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the old double jeopardy rule still apply; in England and Wales they don’t. This is due to Scotland and England/Wales have distinct legal systems.

  4. thelawthoughts said,

    Sure Iain, I take that on board. I knew Scotland had separate judicial organs, but forgot that when writing this post. Regardless, the English law, which I note had its first real case this week, is utterly flawed and invalid. The law should only take account of acquitals after the law was enacted, because people are entitled to know that the law which applies at the time of any action will be the law under which they are tried. So, for example, 10 year old ‘public confessions’ in cases where a person was acquited 20 years ago should never be tried under this new law.

    Having said that, there is no reason at all why this new law should have been enacted in the first place.

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve stopped blogging this blog, but hope there is something here you enjoy.

  5. Emma said,

    But if the Double Jeopardy law is not re-examined, you are risking guilty people getting away

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